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Mapping & GIS: Software

GIS Software

  • Esri ArcGIS: is the leading commercial software for desktop GIS mapping and analysis for windows operating system. Penn's Esri Educational Site license includes ArcGIS AdvancedArcGIS Online, ArcGIS Pro, ArcGIS Server, and access to training modules. License is free to faculty and staff of the University of Pennsylvania for use on University-owned systems for academic purposes. Students using ArcMap in a Penn class will receive a one-year copy of ArcMap with ArcGIS Spatial Analyst, Geostatistical Analyst, Network Analyst and 3D Analyst extension. A professor may request student copies at the Student License Request page or by contacting the Office of Software Licensing.

  • The Penn Libraries has deployed a virtual computer lab (VLab) for students to access software applications normally accessible in Library computer labs including ArcGIS. Access and registration information is available at:

  • QGIS: is a free and open-source cross-platform desktop GIS no less powerful than the commercial products. It is available for Windows, Mac, and Linux operating systems. See tutorial here: Making Map in QGIS.

  • MapWindow5: is another free and open-source desktop GIS for Windows operating system.

  • Manifold: Claims "Manifold Release 9 is a new GIS that runs far faster, delivers superior data science capabilities, cuts through routine GIS tasks, and handles bigger data with better quality than ESRI or any other GIS, all at a lower cost of ownership than free alternatives, only $95." 

  • GeoDa is a free and open source software tool that serves as an introduction to spatial data analysis. It is designed to facilitate new insights from data analysis by exploring and modeling spatial patterns.

Software and Labs

Statistical and GIS software availability by lab location: