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Geographic Information Systems (GIS): Labs and Software

This guide helps you get started learning about GIS and how to find geospatial data.

ArcGIS Student Edition

Current UBC students can purchase a one-year license to use Esri’s desktop GIS software on their personal computers through the UBC Web Store. This $30 license includes ArcGIS desktop software and extensions. Access to Esri training at a reduced cost is also available. For faculty, staff, and departmental purchases, please contact UBC's Esri site license manager, Susan Hunt (susan.hunt@ubc.ca).

For more information, please visit gis.ubc.ca/software.

2a. Data/GIS Lab: Koerner 218A

Technology & Facilities

Hardware: There are 6 workstations with widescreen LCD monitors and a large-format scanner. For assistance, please ask at the Research Desk on level 2.

Software: GIS and statistical analysis software, including:

  • ArcGIS
  • FME Desktop
  • Google Earth Pro
  • R
  • SPSS
  • Stata
  • StatTransfer

Access Policies & Procedures

The lab is available Monday through Friday on a first-come first-serve basis for those needing access to GIS and statistical software. 

Please note that when you log out of the lab's computers, all files stored on the computer will be deleted. Please store all files on an external storage device.

2b. Main Computer Lab: Koerner 217

Technology & Facilities

Hardware: There are 32 workstations

Software: In addition to software provided on all library public machines, there is some GIS and statistical analysis software, including:

  • ArcGIS
  • Google Earth Pro
  • R
  • SPSS
  • FME Desktop

Access Policies & Procedures: 

The room is accessible on a first-come, first-serve basis any time that Koerner Library is open, and there isn't a class being held in the room. To check room availability, please check the calendar posted on the wall outside the room.

Please note that when you log out of the lab's computers, all files stored on the computer will be deleted. Please store all files on an external storage device.

QGIS

Free and open source GIS that runs on your Mac

There is a variety of free and open source software options for GIS, and the best one for you will be determined by how you want to use it. The most common open source desktop GIS software is QGIS, which runs on MacOS, Linux, Android, and Windows operating systems. QGIS is free to download and install on your own computer from the project's website, or you can use it in the Data/GIS labs in Koerner Library.