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Research Guides

Digital Scholarship Research Guide: GIS & Data Mapping Tools

The UW Libraries does not provide support for these tools.

Online Mapping Tools

SimplyMap is an award-winning, web-based mapping application that changes the way you use and interact with complex data. SimplyMap enables non-technical and advanced users to quickly create professional thematic maps and reports using powerful demographic, business, and marketing data. UW Restricted

 

Social Explorer is an U.S. demographics website. Its online tools help you visually analyze and understand the demography of the United States through the use of interactive maps and data reports. The website's main goal is to visually display the demographic change that has occurred in the U.S. from 1790 through the present at a variety of geographic levels, including neighborhoods, counties, and states. UW Restricted

 

ArcGIS Online is a cloud-based, collaborative content management system for maps, apps, data, and other geographic information. Purchase plan required. 

 

Google Earth allows you to travel the world through a virtual globe and view satellite imagery, maps, terrain, 3D buildings, and much more. With Google Earth's rich, geographical content, you are able to experience a more realistic view of the world. You can fly to your favorite place, search for businesses and even navigate through directions. It can be used to create and share KML files.

 

ZeeMaps is a free online service for making custom maps for geographic analysis or presentations. 

 



Open Source Tools

MapWindow is a GIS project that includes a free and open source desktop geographic information system with an extensible plugin architecture; a GIS ActiveX control; and C# GIS programmer library called DotSpatial.

 

Quantum GIS is a user friendly Open Source Geographic Information System (GIS) licensed under the GNU General Public License. QGIS is an official project of the Open Source Geospatial Foundation (OSGeo). It runs on Linux, Unix, Mac OSX, Windows and Android and supports numerous vector, raster, and database formats and functionalities.

 

DIVA-GIS is a free computer program for mapping and geographic data analysis. With DIVA-GIS you can make maps of the world, or of a very small area, using, for example, state boundaries, rivers, a satellite image, and the locations of sites where an animal species was observed. They also provide free spatial data for the whole world that you can use in DIVA-GIS or other programs.

 

Mapnik is a Free Toolkit for developing mapping applications. It’s written in C++ and there are Python bindings to facilitate fast-paced agile development. It can comfortably be used for both desktop and web development.  It can read ESRI shapefiles, PostGIS, TIFF rasters, .osm files, and any GDAL or OGR supported formats.

 

GRASS GIS, commonly referred to as GRASS (Geographic Resources Analysis Support System), is a free Geographic Information System (GIS) software used for geospatial data management and analysis, image processing, graphics/maps production, spatial modeling, and visualization. GRASS GIS is currently used in academic and commercial settings around the world, as well as by many governmental agencies and environmental consulting companies. GRASS GIS is an official project of the Open Source Geospatial Foundation (OSGeo).

 

TileMill is a tool for cartographers to quickly and easily design maps for the web using custom data. It is built on the powerful open-source map rendering library Mapnik - the same software OpenStreetMap and MapQuest use to make some of their maps. TileMill is not intended to be a general-purpose cartography tool, but rather focuses on streamlining and simplifying a narrow set of use cases.