GIS & RS Software

GIS & Remote Sensing Software

ESRI Software

ESRI makes ArcMap (ArcGIS for Desktop 10.x, including ArcMap, ArcCatalog and ArcToolbox) and ArcGIS PRO. They also make "extensions" that extend the functionality of both ArcMap and PRO (i.e., Spatial Analyst or 3D Analyst). ArcMap was the main teaching and analysis platform at WWU until 2017. Beginning in Fall 2017 WWU has begun to transition to ArcGIS PRO.

WWU is currently using ArcMap 10.5 and ArcGIS PRO 2.0, both of which are installed in the Spatial Analysis Labs (AH-16, -24 and ES-318) as well as many of the ATUS Windows Labs on campus (Haggerd Hall, etc.). 

In addition ESRI offers a variety of products which are either free or have free components:

  • ArcGIS Online (create, store and manage maps online - some of which can be used for free)
  • Explorer for ArGIS (downloadable free lightweight GIS viewer from ESRI)
  • ‚ÄčArcReader (downloadable free viewer for ArcGIS maps created with ArcPublisher from ESRI)
  • ESRI Online Support (searchable database of technical articles, discussion forums, email list archives, scripts, etc)
  • ArcScripts (ESRI and ESRI User's downloadable scripts, extensions, amls, etc). See also WWU Notes on using ArcScripts.

Student Copy of ArcMap (ArcGIS Desktop 10.x, including ArcCatalog, etc.):

ESRI provides a Free Student Evaluation copy of ArcMap (ArcGIS Desktop 10.x, including ArcMap, ArcCatalog, etc.) with extensions (Spatial Analyst, 3D Analyst, Tracking Analyst, etc.). This is a full copy that can be used for 1 year and is available to WWU students. Note that this is not ArcGIS PRO. Email (from your WWU email account) to obtain an authorization code that will allow you to download the software. 

NOTE: WWU Faculty and Staff should contact their Department IT staff for installation of ArcMap (ArcGIS Desktop 10.x) on office, lab or personal computers

You can also request a 60-Day Evaluation copy directly from ESRI: or you can request the 1-year Student Trial from ESRI: These Evaluation copies come with ArcGIS Pro as well as ArcGIS Desktop (aka ArcMap and ArcCatalog).

Finally, some of the ArcGIS tutorial books include a evaluation copy with them. For example, Getting to Know ArcGIS comes with a 180 version of the same software (including the extensions). The book (with CD) and is available from ESRI Press.



WWU Students, Staff and Faculty can install ArcGIS PRO on a personal computer. See ArcGIS PRO for WWU Students, Staff & Faculty for instructions.

Huxley GIS students see also Notes on WWU ESRI User Accounts.

NOTE: WWU Faculty and Staff should contact their Department IT staff for installation of ArcGIS PRO on office or lab computers.


Notes ArcGIS ArcMap vs ArcGIS PRO:

ArcMap and PRO provide similar functionality in terms of tools for spatial analysis, data management and cartography. PRO is the more recent software and ESRI has stated that they are no longer developing ArcMAP (though they will continue to support it for years). As of 2018 the majority of GIS professionals (and thus most jobs) continue to use ArcMAP. However, that is beginning to change and it is clear that ESRI is strongly encouraging its users to transition. Moreover, students taking an Introductory level GIS course in 2018 will likely be looking for jobs in 2020 and beyond. Thus Huxley College decided to begin using ArcGIS PRO as the teaching platform in 2017. As of Fall 2018 all of Huxley's GIS classes use ArcGIS Pro.


Other Commercial Software

  • Idrisi (Clark Labs)
  • ENVI (Remote sensing and image processing, installed in the SAL)
  • ERDAS Imagine (Remote Sensing)
  • ERDAS ER Mapper
  • ESRI (ArcGIS, the Spatial Analyst extension and Leicia's Image Analysis extension)
  • Maptitude
  • TatukGIS (low cost GIS)


  • QGIS / Quantum GIS ( )
  • AccuGlobe (GIS viewer and simple editing/geoprocessing) -
  • DIVA-GIS (& climate data) -
  • Forestry GIS (fGIS) -
  • Fusion (LIDAR viewing and analysis, installed in the SAL) - (
  • GRASS ( )
  • GMT (Generic Mapping Tools -
  • Gnuplot (
  • ITC's ILWIS ( )
  • MapWindow (Open Source GIS) - (GPS connection, editing, geoprocessing, etc.)
  • Open JUMP (
  • SAGA (
  • SPRING (remote sensing, installed in the SAL) -
  • uDig (
  • Whitebox (
  • FreeGIS Project (
  • Open Source Geospatial Foundation (
  • GISuser's Free GIS Software and Map Viewers


ESRI Tutorial Books and Manuals (.pdf files)

  • SAL Library, list of books available for loan
  • ESRI digital books (.pdf files) available from J:\SALdata\ESRI_misc\esri_books\
  • ESRI digital books (.pdf files) available from J:\SALdata\ESRI_misc\esri_books\tutorials\
  • Misc. other titles available from Stefan
  • Mapping and Modeling Using ESRI Software: Links to tutorials that demonstrate how to work with various types of data in ArcGIS
  • Miscellaneous online tutorials