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GIS mapping files contain geographical information, which are spatial data encoded into a file format.

Examples include:

  • Shapefiles (Partnership, TIGER/Line, Cartographic Boundary),
  • KML (Google), and
  • File Geodatabase (ESRI) files.

We use Partnership Shapefiles in our partner programs to share data with and capture data from our partners.

TIGER/Line Shapefiles do not include demographic data, but they do contain geographic entity codes (GEOIDs) that can be linked to the Census Bureau’s demographic data, available on Explore Census Data.

KML is a file format used to display geographic data in a tool such as Google Earth or Google Maps. All cartographic boundary files are available in KML format starting in 2013.

Cartographic boundary files are specifically designed for small scale thematic mapping.

For help determining which product is right for you, please see the TIGER Data Products Guide.


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