Informatics and GIS Program
University of California
Informatics and GIS Program

Spatial Data Resources


ArcGIS for UC ANR owned computers free of charge

ArcGIS is also commonly free or deeply discounted for students through your local college or university.  A free 60-day trial version of ArcGIS can also be obtained through Esri here.

ArcGIS Online is Esri's cloud-based GIS and web mapping platform. UC ANR faculty and staff can request a free account here.

Quantum GIS is an outstanding free and open source GIS software.

(Note:  The 64 bit Windows version of QGIS can occasionally be more glitchy than the 32 bit version, even on a 64 bit computer) 

For a good introduction to using QGIS, check out the QGIS Tutorial by Nate Roth 

Google Earth Pro is an extremely useful and easy to use platform to locate and map features anywhere on Earth and is now free to download and install on your computer.

DNR GPS is an outstanding program for processing GPS data, provided for free by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.

CartoDB is an excellent online service for developing and hosting online maps. 

Weather and Climate Data

Cal-Adapt: Exploring California Climate Change Research

PRISM Climate Data

Worldclim (Current, past, and present interpolated global climate data sets)

CIMIS (Weather station data)


USGS Earth Explorer - Hosts a wide variety of imagery, including Landsat and air photos, as well as digital elevation data

NAIP Imagery

        ArcGIS Coverages (from the California Department of Fish and Wildlife)  

        GeoTIFF and SID (from the former California Spatial Library - CaSIL) 

MASTER (NASA’s Airborne ASTER/MODIS simulator)


ASTER DEM (30m)                                                                                     

USGS National Elevation Dataset (3, 10, & 30m)                                          

National Elevation Map Viewer

Topographic Quadrangle Maps     

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