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Geographic Information Systems (GIS)

This guide is for UBC Library Geospatial Services and Resources.

Labs and Software

UBC Library Labs with GIS Software

UBC Library offers GIS software, including ArcGIS, QGIS, GRASS, and Google Earth Pro. Software is available in computer labs at these locations:

  • Koerner Library Digital Scholarship Lab – Room 497
  • Koerner Library Instructional Lab – Room 217

Remote Labs

Six Digital Scholarship Lab computers are accessible through Remote Labs ( Simply log in using your CWL, select one of the appropriate labs, and choose a machine. These remote lab machines are available on a first-come, first-served basis.

Available Software

See this page for a full list of software and UBC-V Library labs where each is available.

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
  • FME Desktop
  • Google Earth Pro
  • R
  • SPSS

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 or cloud storage before logging off.


UBC makes available to students, staff, and faculty free and reduced cost licenses to a variety of software for use on personal computers. For a list of available software see here

If you require assistance in installing or obtaining a license to the software, you can contact UBC IT for assistance. 

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 Forestry IT, the managers of UBC's Esri site license, at (

For more information, please visit


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.

Printing Services at UBC

You can print your posters and maps at UBC. For more information on printing services, check UBC Information Technology website.