I am trying to do a comparison of gene annotations for the latest release of the human genome with annotations from the previous release. I have rarely worked with human data before, so I wasn't sure where to start. I found this thread which provides a link for downloading some custom-generated GFF3 for the hg19 release (this seems to be the latest "official" release).
Getting data for the hg18 release hasn't been so easy. I checked out UCSC's download site, but found it very difficult to navigate. So then I tried Ensembl's FTP site and found the data ordered by date and organism (not labels like "hg18" or "hg19"). UCSC's site lists dates of the human genome releases, so I guess I could just download the annotations for the closest following Ensembl release...but then again, the dates on UCSC's site aren't exact and I'm not sure how quickly these data are integrated into the Ensembl data bank.
Does anyone have any tips for obtaining gene annotations for different releases of the human genome? Is there some simple documentation I'm missing, or is everything really as complicated as it seems?