For more information about searching for datasets at, visit our About Search page.

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Narrowing Your Search

The Geoplatform Search application allows you to search all geospatial datasets published to, including those from Federal and non-Federal agencies.

To access this application, click on “Search” in the GeoPlatform main menu.

When the application first loads the total number of geospatial datasets in the Catalog is indicated, with the most popular datasets listed in the search results. To narrow your search, use any combination of filter and sort tools:

  • Filter by keywords
  • Search by geography
  • Filter by location
  • Filter by search facet
  • Sorting search results
Filtering by Keywords

Use the textbox labeled “Search” at the top of the left side of the Geoplatform Search page to filter datasets by keywords of phrases. Once you add the keyword or phrase into the text box, hit enter. Results found include all datasets that contain the keyword or phrase in the title, the text, or the metadata.

Some things you need to know about the keyword search:

  • Each time you enter a word or phrase and click on Search, you initiate a new search of the entire database; subsequent searches do not refine the current set of search results but rather replace it entirely.

  • Phrases of multiple words that should be matched exactly must be wrapped in double quotation marks (“). For example, Searching for “National Geospatial Data Assets” returns all datasets with metadata containing that phrase, while searching without quotation marks (e.g.: National Geospatial Data Assets) returns all datasets with metadata containing any of the four words.
  • Note: Phrases must contain both the beginning and ending double quotation marks! Forgetting either one will result in an error reported by the CKAN query processing engine.
  • Certain characters are reserved and can affect queries unless specifically handled. For example, ampersands (&) and semicolons (;) in queries are explicitly processed by this application so as to ensure the query is executed normally.

    Colons (:) do not need special processing, but may affect the results of queries unexpectedly based upon how the CKAN API query engine uses them in query resolution. If you don’t receive the results you expect, try removing colons from your query.

Search by Geographical Location

Narrow your search results by filtering the geography. In the map on the left side of the screen, click the black square icon in the top right of the map. Then click+drag the cursor to define the minimum bounding rectangle (MBR) to constrain results. Releasing the mouse button will trigger the search using the new extent. Only one MBR may be present at a time; drawing successive ones will erase the previous ones.

Search by Filters

The geospatial data search feature enables you to conduct faceted searches. Along the left column of the application, there are a number of different groups that break the results into different categories, and to the right of each category shows the number of results that fits within that category. By default, each group shows only the popular categories to start, to view all categories click “Show All”. As filters are set, the number of overall results will adjust, as well as the numbers next to each category.

Results can be filtered by:

  • Organizations
  • Tags
  • Organization Types
  • Formats
  • Topics
  • Dataset Type
  • Status
  • Topic Categories

Erasing filters

  1. Turn off individual filters by reselecting them in their category box of the left side menu.
  2. Between the Search by Location map and the filters, there is a box labeled “Selected Facets”. This box shows any facets that are currently selected. To turn off individual facets, click the red “x” to the right of the facet. To clear all filters, click the “Clear All” button in the top right corner of the box”.
Sorting Results

To quickly and easily find results use the sorting option in the top right of the application.

Popular (default) – Returns results sorted by the number of recent views (within the last 14 days), highest number of views first.

Recently Modified – Returns results sorted on the Metadata Modified date, latest first.

Date Added – Returns results sorted on the Metadata Created date, latest first.

Name Ascending – Returns results in alphabetical order of title, A to Z.

Name Descending – Returns results in alphabetical order of title, Z to A.

Relevance – Returns results based on the relevancy score of the dataset to the query. Scoring is based on an algorithm that may take into account the number of times the term appears in the title and metadata, the size of the fields, how recently the dataset was published or modified, among other factors

Updated on March 3, 2020
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