Software and Hardware Overview

Desktop GIS software and cloud-based GIS are both available at Carleton College. 

If you are interested in creating/using Web maps or Web applications with maps, our organizational account with ArcGIS Online allows you to access functionality not available with the free Web mapping applications like Google Maps and CartoDB.

One use of ArcGIS Online is creating narrative maps.  There are other Web mapping applications that may serve better the use of narrative maps in you classrooms. Please see "Free Application-Sepcific Software" for the free narrative map applications used at Carleton.

If you want to created maps for publications, posters or presentations, professional desktop GIS software such as ArcMap or ArcGIS Pro is most suited for the job. These professional GIS software also supports a wide range of data editing and analysis needs.

If you are only interested in a subset of GIS functionalities, professional desktop GIS software can be very intimating. There is free geospatial analysis software that is designed for specific types of tasks.  Some of them are listed in the page "Free Application-Sepcific Software".

If you would like to measure locations using GPS/GNSS, recreational grade GPS/GNSS receivers can be purchase at stores like REI.  These receivers provide accuracy of 1-3 meters with real-time correction from a Space Based Augmentation System like WAAS.  If you need more accurate location measurements, contact Wei-Hsin Fu (x5733, for using the Trimble Geo 7x CM handheld computer.  This GNSS handheld support locational accuracy < 1cm when adequate base station and collection condition are available.