ArcGIS Desktop Software

ArcGIS Desktop and ArcGIS Pro are available for download to any Stanford student, staff, faculty, or sponsored affiliate (with a SUnet ID).

The Stanford Geospatial Center maintains a set of "Installation Batch Files" that can be used to automate the process of installing and authorizing ArcGIS Desktop and ArcGIS Pro. You can find instructions for using those installers on the Stanford ArcGIS Batch Installers Guide.

Note: for installation on Stanford affiliated computers only and only to users who possess a valid SUNet ID. Software and data provided under this agreement are to be used for instruction, research, and administrative purposes only. Use of the licensed programs for profit, private gain, or other commercial use is prohibited.

(The SGC suggests installing the Long-Term Release (LTR) version) 

A Free and Open Source Geographic Information System. Create, edit, visualize, analyze and publish geospatial information on Windows, Mac, Linux, and Android. QGIS has matured into a full-featured desktop GIS platform over the past few years and is a perfect alternative to ArcGIS for those not using Windows, or interested in using Free&Open Source software. 

Web Mapping Services

ArcGIS Online is Esri's Cloud-based Geographic Information System, providing web-based mapping and location-based application development services, tightly integrated with ArcGIS Desktop and ArcGIS Pro. Use Enterprise Login with your SUNetID for access.

A web based GIS visualization and analysis platform. Not truly "open source" but does have a functional free account setting as well as special educational accounts for students and faculty. Use your email address to create an account (note: currently, only one account per email is possible).

The David Rumsey Map Collection focuses on rare 16th through 21st century maps of North and South America, as well as maps of the World, Asia, Africa, Europe, and Oceania. The collection includes atlases, wall maps, globes, school geographies, pocket maps, books of exploration, maritime charts, and a variety of cartographic materials including pocket, wall, children's, and manuscript maps. Items range in date from about 1550 to the present.

Digitization of the collection began in 1996 and there are now over 86,000 items online, with new additions added regularly. The site is free and open to the public. Here viewers have access not only to high resolution images of maps that are extensively cataloged, but also to a variety of tools that allow to users to compare, analyze, and view items in new and experimental ways.

Mapbox is a location data platform for mobile and web applications. Specifically targeting developers, Mapbox provides a rich array of APIs, SDKs and Open Source software for working with spatial data on web, mobile and automobile based platforms. We provide building blocks to add location features like maps, search, and navigation into any experience you create.

The most comprehensive and well organized overview of their services is (not suprisingly), the documentation at

Google Earth Engine combines a multi-petabyte catalog of satellite imagery and geospatial datasets with planetary-scale analysis capabilities and makes it available for scientists, researchers, and developers to detect changes, map trends, and quantify differences on the Earth's surface. Access is currently entirely open and free for research and teaching use. All you need is a Gmail account. Excellent "Getting Started" materials can be found, here: is a quick, simple tool for creating, viewing, and sharing maps. is named after GeoJSON, an open source data format, and it supports GeoJSON in all ways - but also accepts KML, GPX, CSV, GTFS, TopoJSON, and other formats. It's a great tool for quickly creating simple spatial data and integrates with GitHub, which will display GeoJSON in a Leaflet map.

Mapshaper is software for editing Shapefile, GeoJSON, TopoJSON, CSV and several other data formats, written in JavaScript.

The mapshaper command line program supports essential map making tasks like simplifying shapes, editing attribute data, clipping, erasing, dissolving, filtering and more.

The web UI supports interactive simplification, attribute data editing, and running cli commands in a built-in console.