Data Formats

This page provides information on how to view, download, and interact with Alaska's energy resources data. Options include (in order of easy → advanced) Google Earth, the Alaska DNR LRIS Alaska Mapper and direct downloads of ArcGIS shapefiles. Please see each section below for more information. The data can be downloaded from the Data page.

Renewable Energy Atlas of Alaska: Option #1 (easy)

What is the Renewable Energy Atlas of Alaska?

The Renewable Energy Atlas of Alaska is an online mapping application that can be viewed in your browser without the need to download or install any additional tools. It is built by the Geographic Information Network of Alaska using Leaflet and Ruby on Rails.

Google Earth: Option #2 (intermediate)

What is Google Earth?

Google Earth combines the power of Google Search with satellite imagery, maps, terrain and 3D buildings to put the world's geographic information at your fingertips. With Google Earth, you can zoom in right to your house, search for schools, parks, restaurants, and hotels, get driving directions, tilt and rotate the view to see 3D terrain and buildings, or look up to explore the sky, and even save and share your searches and favorites.


  1. You have control over the presentation of the data.
  2. Energy resources data can be integrated with an unlimited number of layers
  3. Many people are already familiar with and know how to use Google Earth
  4. Google Earth KML file format is an international standard and can be submitted and shared with anyone

Got Google?

You will need to download and install Google Earth to use the KML/KMZ files provided on this site. Click on the download button (left) to get Google Earth!

Questions? Check out the Google Earth Help Center page on how to get started.

ArcGIS Shapefiles: Option #3 (advanced)

What is a Shapefile?

ArcGIS shapefiles are arguably the industry standard when it comes to storing and managing geospatial data in vector format. Common software required to view/manipulate shapefiles include ArcGIS Explorer (free), ArcReader (free), ArcGIS and MapInfo.


  1. Directly download the source data and use it locally on your computer
  2. Utilize powerful GIS software to manipulate the data with tools like ESRI's ArcGIS and MapInfo
  3. Integrate the energy resources data with your agency's existing data
  4. Can be used to publish professional maps

QGIS: Option #4 (advanced)

What is Quantum GIS?

Quantum GIS (QGIS) is a user friendly Open Source Geographic Information System (GIS) licensed under the GNU General Public License. QGIS is an official project of the Open Source Geospatial Foundation (OSGeo). It runs on Linux, Unix, Mac OSX, and Windows and supports numerous vector, raster, and database formats and functionalities.

Learn more about QGIS

Quantum GIS provides a continously growing number of capabilities provided by core functions and plugins. You can visualize, manage, edit, analyse data, and compose printable maps. Get a first impression with some screenshots and a more detailed feature list.

Want to learn even more?

Check the latest User Guide or learn how you can customize QGIS to fit your needs with our API Documentation and PyQGIS Cookbook.

Questions? Check out the Quantum GIS Home Page page on how to get started.

WMS: Option #5 (advanced)

What is WMS?

The OpenGISĀ® Web Map Service Interface Standard (WMS) provides a simple HTTP interface for requesting geo-registered map images from one or more distributed geospatial databases. A WMS request defines the geographic layer(s) and area of interest to be processed. The response to the request is one or more geo-registered map images (returned as JPEG, PNG, etc) that can be displayed in a browser application. The interface also supports the ability to specify whether the returned images should be transparent so that layers from multiple servers can be combined or not.

Learn more about WMS