Digital Data

What is Digital Data?
Digital Data is NOT a map, but rather GIS “layers” of the county that are in a digital format that are used to create maps or perform geographic analysis. These layers are comprised of points, lines, or polygons representing real world features and have information or “attributes” attached to the features. In order to read a digital data file, you must have a type of GIS reader such as AutoCAD, ESRI ArcGIS, MapInfo, etc.
About PWC Digital DataImage of fingers on a keyboard
Prince William County (PWC) Digital Data is available in any of the following formats
  • ESRI Shapefile (in all sizes)
  • ESRI File Geodatabase (for data over 2 GB)
  • ESRI Personal Geodatabase (for data under 2 GB)
There are over 150 data layers to choose from. Some layers are available in a countywide format or through a tiled grid. There are approximately 132 tiles that cover PWC. You may view a description the layers available by accessing the PWC Digital Data Dictionary. Standard Data layers are listed in Appendix A of the Data Dictionary. Non-Standard or "Special" layers are listed in Appendix B. Prince William County Data is copyrighted (©) and Use Restrictions apply.
Digital Data is generated at the time of the order from the enterprise GIS database. Data layers such as parcels, centerlines, subdivisions, and premise addresses are updated on a daily basis. All other data layers are as current as the source data is available to Prince William County. Customers will receive the most up-to-date information possible.
Ordering Digital Data
Prince William County Digital Data can be ordered in any 1 of 4 ways:
  • Fax - Use the Digital Data Request Form to fax your order to 703-792-7192
  • Online - Use the Digital Data Wizard (Only Standard layers can be ordered through Wizard)Customers who wish to purchase Non-Standard GIS layers, must place their order via email or telephone request to the GIS Office
  • Email - Email requests can be sent to
  • Call - Call our office at (703)-792-6840 to place your order with GIS Staff

Prince William County Contractors requesting GIS data at no cost cannot order data directly from GIS. Please review our policies for more information.

Helpful Hints
  • KNOW WHAT DATA FORMAT YOU NEED! Data is available in ESRI Shapefile (in all sizes), ESRI File Geodatabase (for data over 2 GB), ESRI Personal Geodatabase (for data under 2 GB), MrSID (for Aerial Imagery).
  • Contours are available in Shapefile only.
  • Parcel Layer does not contain ownership information. This information must be obtained from the Real Estate Assessor’s Office at (703)-792-6780.
  • Special Layers cannot be ordered via the Digital Data Wizard or Fax Order Form. They must be ordered via email or phone.
  • PWC DOES NOT ACCEPT CREDIT CARDS. Payments must be made in cash, check, or with a customer account.
  • If you are a contractor who is requesting Digital Data for a PWC project, then you must follow the outline process within the Use Restrictions sections.
  • Please reference your area of interest by Tile Numbers (10K Grid) or Countywide. We are unable to provide data for areas that are referenced any other way.

Fees and Payments
  • Fees: Prices of Digital Data vary based on the data layer, the maintenance schedule, and the countywide or grid format. Pricing can be viewed by accessing the PWC Digital Data Dictionary. There is a $3.00 Media Transfer Fee that is applied to each order. This cost covers staff and materials that are used to process and deliver digital data requests.
  • Payments: Payments must be received before PWC will release the digital data order. Prince William County GIS Office accepts payments in cash and check. VISA and Mastercard accepted when payment is made at the GIS Counter. WE DO NOT ACCEPT CREDIT CARDS Online or over the phone at this time. Customers who purchase products on a regular basis may apply for a credit account. Contact the PWC Office for more details. Payment by eCheck is available only through the online digital data wizard.

Stack of cd's
Delivery Methods
Customers can choose to have their data delivered in one of 3 ways: 
  • FTP
  • Email (size dependent)
  • Customer pickup (On CD/DVD disk at GIS Counter)
Digital data orders that are requested to be delivered offsite on CD/DVD will be subject to a $6.00 shipping and handling fee to cover USPS postage. Customers who wish to have their data CD/DVD delivered by a courier service such as UPS or FedEx may provide their customer billing number. PWC GIS will waive the shipping costs in this event.
Policies and Agreements
Purchasers must sign a Digital Data Agreement to acknowledge their understanding of our use restrictions.
County Contractors
County contractors/vendors who require GIS data to support efforts on a specific County project may request GIS data at no cost. The following process must be adhered to, otherwise the vendor will be charged FULL PRICE for the GIS data. 
  1. The contractor will request the GIS data through the County Agency contact they are working with on the project. GIS will only accept requests through County Agency points-of-contact.
  2. All requests for Digital Data must be accompanied by a sign Data Sharing Agreement which will be provided by the County Agency.
  3. The contractor shall only request data for the area that the project covers. No additional area will be provided at no cost. The area of the project will be verified with the County Agency.
  4. The contractor will provide EXACT tile numbers and layers that are requested. GIS cannot respond to requests for the entire GIS databases or generic requests.
  5. The contractor will provide the format that is required.
  6. The contractor MUST sign a data sharing agreement stating that they understand the restrictions on use if the County’s GIS data that they are receiving.
  7. Once verified, GIS can provide data directly to the contractor via customer provided FTP, Google Docs or CD/DVD
  8. Please allow 24-48 hours for requests to be processed from time of receipt.
Use Restrictions
The following policies apply to the purchase of our digital map data:
  1. The County GIS database is copyrighted, and digital map data will be released under a license-to-use agreement.
  2. The User agrees that the digital maps will not be reformatted or copied, nor be further reproduced, distributed or permitted to be used by any other person, firm, corporation, association or entity.
  3. The County reserves the right to deny access to certain layers.
  4. The County hereby disclaims any and all liability or responsibility for any damage, injury, loss, claim, or lawsuit arising from any error, inaccuracy or other problem with either the digital maps contained on the computer disks or the computer disks themselves. The User hereby releases the County, and the referenced officials of the County, from all liability, damage, claims, injuries or suits arising from any such error, inaccuracy or problem. Furthermore, the User agrees to indemnify and hold harmless the County and its officials and employees from any and all claims, liability damages, injuries and suits arising from the use of the computer disks or the digital maps contained therein or thereon by the User or its employees or assignees.
  5. The digital maps provided hereunder are provided 'as is' and the County expressly disclaims all warranties, UCC and otherwise, express or implied including warranties as to accuracy of the digital maps and merchantability and fitness for a particular purpose, and further expressly disclaims responsibility for all incidental, consequential or special damages arising out of or in connection with the use or performance of the digital maps.
  6. User acknowledges this disclaimer of warranty and expressly waives all warranties express or implied and waives any right of claim for damages incidental, consequential or special, arising out of or in connection with the use or performance of the digital maps.
Map of Prince William County with grids marked off