Geospatial datasets are what drives analyses in Cartography, GIS, and Remote Sensing. Finding the correct sources is often the most resource consuming activity in spatial analysis projects. Here are a few starting point in your quest for data.
UBC Data Services
The Data Services division of the UBC library system is the data repository for the social Sciences. In there, you can find qualitative and quantitative data in the form of reports, geospatial layers for GIS among other formats. Many of our datasets originated from here.
Many of the geospatial datasets can be quite large. Make sure to check with your TA or the lab supervisor before downloading.
UBC Library Research Help
UBC library has produced a series of research guides to help you navigate the system and get you on your way. One such guide contains information about GIS and a list of data sources at different levels (city, provincial, national, world).
There is also information about GIS labs in Koerner Library, where/how to obtain ArcGIS for your computer, and also a link to Open Source GIS information.
Geomatics @ UBC
A useful resource regarding geospatial analysis at UBC. The Data Sources and GIS Reference tabs are of spatial interest for anyone embarking on geospatial projects.
The Software tab explains how to obtain a student/researcher copy of ArcGIS for personal use. Keep in mind that ArcGIS is a Windows product. If you want to install it on a Mac, you will have to use Bootcamp or Parallels software to create a second partition on your Mac where you can install Windows.