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GIS and GPS Links

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Tools and Tutorials

No need to spend a bundle on software for making your own maps. The free programs listed here can keep you engaged for months and may be all you need for projects. For additional functionality, the reGIStration fees for many of the programs are economical. When you are ready, trials of mainstream professional programs from companies like Adobe, ESRI, MapInfo, MapTech and many others are interesting, too.










  • Quantitative Decisions - Provides a list of ArcView extensions and information.
  • ForestPal - this page will stimulate interest and provide enough details for you to begin making your own maps.
  • Global Mapper™ - All-round map viewer, data converter, measurement tool and more.
  • fGIS - A remarkable, free GIS digitizer and shapefile editing program and GIS viewer for Windows® from the University of Wisconsin and Wisconsin DNR - Division of Forestry.
  • USAPhotoMaps™/BigJPEG - Automatically retrieve and mosaic multiple aerial photos from TerraServer; display and transfer GPS waypoints to and from GPS receivers.
  • OCAD® - Computer Assisted Cartography program that creates geospatial vector drawings over aerial photographs.
  • Convert - A freeware distance, area, volume, etc. conversion program.
  • AutoRealm or SourceForge - Free map drawing program.
  • Mapping Symbol Fonts
  • Map Maker Gratis™ - Free GIS/geospatial mapping program.
  • 3DEM™: Free program to create 3D maps.
  • Natural Resources Database - (NRDB) creates thematic maps by linking tabular and spatial data
  • Zoner Draw 3™ or Zoner Draw at ZDNet - Free drawing program used to make maps.
  • ArcExplorer® 2 - Free ESRI viewer for GIS data.
  • MrSid GeoViewer® - Free viewer for images in the MrSID data compression format.
  • ER Viewer® - Free GIS image viewer.
  • ERDAS ViewFinder® - Free GIS image viewer.
  • HGIS® GPS mapping software from StarPal, Inc.
  • G7toWin and G7toCE - manage GPS waypoint, track and route files
  • OziExplorer™ - Mapping program to use with GPS units.
  • SurGe - Gridding and Mapping Software for producing maps of data
  • Trimble® offers free GPS planning software that determines the visibility of GPS satellites
  • TatukGIS® - Free Projection and Datum Coordinate Converter and the Aerial Imagery Corrector trial for rectifying aerial photos.
  • Surfer® - Trial of a program for 3D map and contour production.
  • OpenOffice™ - Free, all-round office suite, including an excellent vector drawing program for making maps.
  • GIMP™ - Free image/photo editing program.
  • Gadwin Print Screen™ - Free screen capture program.
  • UltimateZip - File archive extractor.
  • There are many other free mapping tools not listed here. Grime: GIS Tools maintains an extensive list of additional software and explains the file formats used by GIS and imaging programs.

Data and Metadata

There is a wealth of free data available on the Internet, but be realistic about what you try to download. If you have an ordinary analog dial-up modem, you will be less frustrated by using small data sets. For example, Digital Line Graph (DLG) files showing roads and streams or 30-meter resolution Digital Elevation Models (DEM) are often only 200-300KB in size, which are easy to download. Single TerraServer aerial photos will generally load well with a standard modem link. USGS topographic maps (DRG files) are about 2MB in size. Landsat images and Space Shuttle Radar DEM files are typically 30MB and larger, requiring a broadband connection. In addition to free data, many of the following sources offer inexpensive commercial data.






















Data -

Metadata -

Map Galleries



Other Useful Sites





GIS Related Jobs

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School of Environmental and Forest Sciences
USDA Forest Service State & Private Forestry
WSU Cooperative Extension
The Rural Technology Home Page is provided by the College of Forest Resources. For more information, please contact the Rural Technology Initiative, University of Washington Box 352100 Seattle, WA 98195, (206) 543-0827. © 2000-2004, University of Washington, Rural Technology Initiative, including all photographs and images unless otherwise noted. To view the privacy policy, click here.
Last Updated 10/13/2022 12:33:48 PM