How to Access Government GIS Data for Indian Cities/States

March 09, 2023 Vaidya R

Different Indian states made public geo-spatial data about their states as well as important cities. This includes, among other things, important data like the following:

  1. Administrative boundaries – districts, taluks, wards, constituencies, police jurisdictions.
  2. Data on public amenities – bus stops, public toilets, public parks.
  3. Utilities – electricity, water. This includes administrative boundaries for the utilities as well as their assets – like water lines, sewer lines, sewage treatment plants, electricity poles, etc.
  4. Education – schools, colleges etc.
  5. Health – Locations of anganwadis, Healthcare centers, UPHCs, clinics, dispensaries.
  6. Environment – waterbodies, forests, protected areas, eco-sensitive zones (ESZs)
  7. Transportation – railway, metro and road networks.

Public domain Geo-spatial data:

Not all states have made their data public. Some of the important ones that can be used are listed here:

  1. Survey of India. The Survey of India, part of the Ministry of Science and Technology has made official district and states map public for free. There are other maps that can be purchased from their site for a (hefty) price.
    The maps are in shapefile format, and while being good, suffer from poor labelling. Karnataka is labelled as Karn>taka. Bidar is BIDAR. The nomenclature of districts does not follow official state government nomenclature. But they are accurate and official markers of district boundaries.
  2. Delhi: GeoSpatial Delhi Limited (GSDL), an entity of Government of Delhi has published detailed maps about Delhi. The rest URL for the site is
    You can open this link in a browser and navigate the directory for listed maps.
  3. Mumbai:
  4. Karnataka/Bengaluru: Karnataka State Remote Sensing Applications Centre (KSRSAC), Govt of Karnataka is the GIS entity of the Government of Karnataka. Unlike in other states/cities, there are multiple servers that can be explored for Karnataka related data. They are:
  5. Telangana/Hyderabad: Telangana State Remote Sensing Applications Centre (TRAC), Government of Telangana, is the Government entity in charge of publishing GIS and maps for the state. The URL for Telangana and Hyderabad is: This URL can be opened in a browser and explored.
  6. Tamil Nadu/Chennai:
  7. India WRIS: India Water Resources Information System contains extensive maps about rivers as well as their basins and sub-basins. Their rest URL is:

How to download the maps data:

There are two ways to download the data.

Method 1:

The first method is using a command line tool – esri2geojson. The steps are detailed in an earlier explainer. You can read it here.

Method 2:

The second method is useful where they have not exposed the rest URL to be explored through a web browser, as in the case of some of the Karnataka GIS URLs. You will need QGIS for this, and you can download it here. Note that QGIS is a heavy software and the download itself is 1 GB.

The steps are as follows:

  1. Open QGIS. In the menu at the top, click on Layer-> Add Layer-> Add ArcGIS REST Server Layer.
  2. This will open a dialog box. Click on New. And in the dialog box that opens, enter a name like “Delhi GIS” and the URL from the earlier section into the URL field.
  3. Click “OK” and you are all set. Select the connection which can be accessed as a dropdown in the “Server Connections” and click on “Connect”.
  4. You can browse the directory and load the map directly on QGIS, or use QGIS to get the URL for the map to download using the esri2geojson method. For this, browse down to the final map, and hover over the node. QGIS will show the MapServer location for the map.

    In the above example, hovering over DP_DISTRICT_BOUNDARY showed a url: You can use this with esri2geojson and download the map file in geojson format.

    Some points to remember:
    • Hover over the icon shown in Blue, not the one in Red to get the URL. The Blue one is the MapServer, the red is the FeatureServer and might not work correctly all the time.
    • There is no way to copy-paste the alt-text that shows up on hovering, unfortunately. You will have to note it down somewhere manually.
  5. To load the map directly on QGIS, click on the map instead of hovering over it, and click on “Add” at the bottom of the window. This will load the map into QGIS main window at the bottom right.
  6. Right click on the loaded map in the bottom left panel and select “Export” -> “Save Features As”. This will be open a dialog window where you can choose the format to export into: KML, GeoJson or Shapefile, etc. Browse to where you want to save it, give a name for the file, and press “OK”.

    And that’s it, the map is saved on your hard drive!