At IU, how can I access free GIS software?
Many free GIS and spatial data viewers are available to the public. This is a short list of applications UITS recommends. If you are interested in purchasing GIS or remote sensing software (such as ArcGIS and ERDAS IMAGINE), see At IU, how can I obtain GIS and remote sensing software?
for Desktop, available by request from Esri, is for visualizing,
managing, creating, and analyzing geographic data. This trial software
includes many analysis and productivity ArcGIS extensions at no cost for
60 days. Tutorials and sample data are also provided.
AccuGlobe is an
easy-to-use tool designed for developing, editing, and viewing GIS
data. Custom extensions to expand upon the core, as well as
plug-ins that add functionality to the core application,
are also available.
provides an object-oriented approach to 3D visualization, process
modeling, and simulation.
Geographic Resources Analysis
Support System (GRASS) handles geospatial
data management and analysis, image processing, graphics/maps
production, spatial modeling, and 3D visualization.
Open Source Software Image Map (OSSIM) is a high-performance software
system for remote sensing, image processing, geographical information
systems, and photogrammetry. It is written in C++, employing the
latest techniques in object-oriented software design. A number of
command-line utilities, GUI tools and applications, and integrated
systems have been implemented with the baseline. Many of those tools
and applications are included with the software releases.
- Unidata is a diverse community of over 250 institutions vested in the common goal of sharing data, and software to access and visualize that data.
Note: Indiana University faculty can request free ArcGIS software for students in their GIS or GIS-related class; see At IU, how can faculty request ArcGIS software for students?
GIS software extensions and tools
- ESRI supports Python for ArcGIS as the scripting language for data analysis, data conversion, data management, and map automation.
- The NOAA Coastal Services Center provides several tools and extensions that make spatial data more useful. For environmental analysis, you can use the Habitat Priority Planner, the Nonpoint-Source Pollution and Erosion Comparison Tool, and the Impervious Surface Analysis Tool. You will also find tools for storm mapping, hurricane tracking, and hazard assessment.
Explorer is a free Esri application designed to help you view and
share geographic information. In ArcGIS Explorer, you can use a
variety of maps and layers, including imagery, topographic maps,
physical features, shaded relief, historical maps, and street maps,
provided free by Esri. You can combine layers with local data or other
services to create your own custom maps, which you can easily
- Esri's ArcReader is
a free mapping application to view, explore, and print maps and
globes. ArcReader views Published Map Files (
.pmf), created using the ArcGIS Publisher extension from Esri, similarly to the way Adobe Reader displays PDF files created with Adobe Acrobat.
ViewFinder, a free viewing tool with basic image viewing and
manipulation capabilities, includes the ability to display
.tifffiles, GeoTIFs, and MrSID image files. This application permits image enhancement, spatial queries, and image reprojection.
a free viewer for Windows desktop, allows users to view PDF,
.xdlimages. After installation, from the
Set as Default Viewer. Next to
Imaging Formats, check
.tiff, so you will be able to view these files.
Google Earth, a free
application, combines satellite imagery, maps, and Google Search. You
can search for an address, view terrain in 3D, and share your searches
- Unidata's Integrated Data Viewer (IDV) is a Java-based software framework for analyzing and visualizing geoscience data.
Last modified on January 16, 2014.