1. FME (Safe Software’s Feature Manipulation Engine) for spatial data conversions: Free licensing
(either individual or floating) tool can be obtained by academic institutions through Safe Software. FME
can convert between a tremendous range of data formats and is very helpful for CAD, GIS, KML and
2. BatchGeo (http://www.batchgeo.com/) for geocoding
3. Zonums KML to shp (http://www.zonums.com/kml2shp.html)
Google Earth Pro (for shp to kml): Google Earth Pro offers the ability to ingest GIS data and make it more
user friendly and accessible. Pro also allows for higher resolution image downloads, expanded
import/export of features, and MovieMaker so that tours and flythroughs can be recorded. Google Earth
also runs an education initiative for free Pro subscriptions - contact Google Earth directly through the
information at http://bbs.keyhole.com/ubb/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showflat&Number=830032.
4. ArcGIS (shp to kml, cad to shp, etc) - Industry-dominant commercial GIS software from ESRI.
5. Google Fusion (geocoding)
6. CAD2Shape: Allows DWG/DXF files to convert to ESRI SHP (shapefile).
GIS Applications & Ancillary Tools:
1. SimplyMap (Canada and US) – Annual subscription based mapping tool oriented towards business
usage. Comes with high quality data and pricing is geared more towards private enterprise rather than
the academic environment, however, they are willing to work with you!
2. Quantum GIS – Emerging open source GIS software.
3. ArcGIS - Industry-dominant commercial GIS software from ESRI.
4. Forestry GIS (excellent tool for images (especially MrSID format)
5. MapWindows GIS
7. XToolsPro: This ArcGIS toolbar offers additional functionality for spatial analysis and data
management/manipulation. It comes in free and paid versions and more information can be found at
8. Global Mapper: Used to view, merge, import and export a large variety of vector, raster, and elevation
GIS lite Applications (interactive mapping included):
1. Scribble Maps
4. GIS Cloud
5. Google Earth/Google Earth Pro – Wonderful tool to visualize geographic information via MovieMaker
with the Pro version. Difficult to impossible to do true spatial or attribute analysis.
6. Stat Maker
7. Many municipal interactive mapping programs like: City of New York
8. ArcGIS Online
10. USGS National Map Viewer (http://nmviewogc.cr.usgs.gov/viewer.htm)
11. Social Explorer: Social Explorer comes in free and subscription versions, and works directly with the
GIS data contained in the National Historical GIS (http://nhgis.org). This site offers extremely easy online
mapping of United States Census data - both current and historical - and with the subscription version it is
very simply to make a map-based PowerPoint slideshow.
Mobile Devices and Applications:
Recreational Grade GPS Equipment:
Garmin 76CSx - Great for recreation use (hiking, camping, walking around town) and it floats in water.
Minimal instruction is not needed to operate this unit. Data can be entered in the field using software
already installed. This GPS receiver has an accuracy of approximately 5 meters and should not be used
for field research (archaeological, biological, environmental, forestry, etc) where submeter – 1 meter
accuracy is needed to locate individual features.
Garmin Oregon 300 – Also great for recreation use, has touch screen technology, and its waterproof.
This GPS receiver has an accuracy of approximately 3 meters and should not be used for field research
(archaeological, biological, environmental, forestry, etc) where submeter – 1 meter accuracy is needed
to locate individual features.
Mapping grade GPS Equipment:
Trimble GeoXT Handheld – Used more and more by people at universities to perform field research.
Training is needed to operate this GPS unit. This GPS has touch screen technology and uses a mobile
Windows operating system that can run, for example, mobile GIS software such as ESRI ArcPad®.
Georeferenced maps such as historic topographic maps (GeoTiffs) can be used with this software. Data
can be recorded and edited in the field. This unit has submeter accuracy, is waterproof, and post
processing software can be used in the lab to increase data accuracy. Trimble also makes a GeoXH
Handheld which is even more accurate, but the GeoXT is generally accurate enough for university