What Is GIS Software?

Geographic Information Systems (GIS) software links geographic information (where things are) to descriptive information (what things are like). The power of this technology lies in its ability to link multiple pieces of information about a geographic place; to store, manage, display, disseminate, analyze and query this information, and in so doing to draw regressions, correlate, and model outcomes.  A key research tool for anyone interested in describing geographic space, GIS is multidisciplinary in nature and can be used for understanding our past, present and future.

There are a wide variety of open source and proprietary GIS Software applications. References and information regarding GIS software options can be found readily with Internet search tools. For example, the List of GIS Software on Wikipedia is a good place to start for an overview of available software.

Campus Site License For ESRI Software: Products and Terms

ESRI (founded originally as Environmental Systems Research Institute, Inc) is a leading commercial vendor of GIS software including desktop and server products.

As part of its mandate to bring spatial information and supporting technologies to you, Trent Library’s Maps, Data and Government Information Centre is pleased to administer the University’s site license for ESRI GIS software. In this capacity, we work closely with Trent IT, which coordinates all aspects of campus installations of ESRI’s ArcGIS Desktop (ArcInfo) software, one of the main software products received under our campus license agreement.

Trent’s site license agreement with ESRI Inc. permits the university to offer ESRI software products on an unlimited number of the institution's computers provided they are located on campus and linked to the university’s local network. In addition, we can provide registered members of Trent University who are taking GIS courses or who are involved in GIS teaching or research, with one copy of ArcGIS Desktop Education Edition software for academic use off campus. The software may be used for teaching, research, and administrative purposes by registered members of the university. Any form of commercial use is prohibited.

See the Appendix of Trent's ESRI Site License Agreement for a list of desktop and server products included under this agreement.

For appointments, ESRI software information, GIS support and requests for geospatial or statistical data sets, please send us a request to MaDGIC: madgichelp@trentu.ca.