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Geographic Information Systems (GIS) + Mapping

A set of tools to explore GIS and Mapping spacial data for research

What is GIS? What can it do for me?

A geographic information system (GIS) is a system designed to capture, store, manipulate, analyze, manage and present data related to positions on Earth's surface. GIS interprets spatial data in many ways that reveal relationships, patterns and trends in the form of maps, globes, reports and charts.

Software Available on UAlbany Library Computers


ArcGIS Desktop includes a suite of integrated applications, including ArcMap, ArcCatalog, and ArcScene. By using these applications and interfaces in unison, you can perform any GIS task, simple to advanced, including mapping, geographic analysis, data editing and compilation, data management, visualization, and geoprocessing. ArcGIS Software is installed in Information Commons of the Main UAlbany Library.

Getting started with ArcGIS : Esri Training Catalog

Policy Map

Policy Map is a fully web-based Geographic Information System (GIS) and mapping product. Data includes demographics, home sale statistics, health data, mortgage trends, school performance scores and labor data like unemployment, crime statistics and city crime rates. A complete list of GIS data available can be found in their data directory.

Access Policy Map : UAlbany Databases > Geography and Planning > Policy Map

Getting started with Policy Map : Support Tutorial

Social Explorer

Easy to access maps and tables downloadable in Excel, CSV, SPSS, SAS, and Stata file formats.Use Social Explorer create and customize thematic and interactive maps, explore and create data reports based on demographic information, from census and economic data to election and religion data, and more.

Access Social Explorer UAlbany Databases > Geography and Planning >  Social Explorer

Getting started with Social Explorer : Support Tutorial

Google Earth

Google Earth is a computer program that renders a 3D representation of Earth based primarily on satellite imagery. The program maps the Earth by superimposing satellite images, aerial photography, and GIS data onto a 3D globe, allowing users to see cities and landscapes from various angles.

Access Google Earth :Available in the UAlbany Library Computing Sites  and Online: Google Earth

Other Software

Tool Description Access/Download
QGIS A free,comprehensive (analyzing and visualizing) open desktop GIS software.  Click here to Download
GRASS GIS Geospatial data management, image processing, spatial modeling and visualization. Click here to Download
CARTO Online platform for analyzing and visualizing geodata including 3D mapping and harvesting twitter data (semi free). Click here to Download

World Map

Open source system from Harvard for creating maps, uploading and downloading shapefiles and KMLs.

Click here to Download