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Geological & Planetary Sciences (GPS): GIS Resources

Welcome to Geological & Planetary Sciences Library services at Caltech!

ArcGIS Online / Esri

ArcGIS Online is available to all members of the Caltech community with a valid access credential. You do not need any special software or programs. A modern up-to-date browser is needed (Chrome, Edge, Firefox, Safari).

To access, please visit the Caltech ArcGIS Online sign-on portal, and enter your access credentials. 

You must have a valid Access credential. We cannot provide access to guests, visitors, or others that do not have a valid Caltech Access credential.

Please note that the license is provided courtesy of the GPS Division.


Help and Tutorials:

For help and tutorials, please visit some suggested links below:


QGIS (sometimes referred to as Quantum GIS) is a free and open-source Geographic Information System that can be downloaded and installed by anyone.

It is available on a variety of platforms, including Windows, Mac, and Linux.

For beginners, we recommend the standalone installer. The latest version will have the newest features, while the previous version is more stable. We recommend the long term release (more stable).

Download and install from QGIS's web site.

QGIS is also installed on all our Library computers, including the Geology Library, the Map Room, and the Sherman Fairchild Library.

QGIS Documentation and Tutorials


There are dozens of tutorials available. Search Google or YouTube for more.

Carpentries Workshops

The Carpentries, offers lessons on geospatial data analysis. You can follow the lessons through, and all data is provided for you to download.

The following are offered for Geospatial Data:

There is one community-contributed materials course on Python for Atmosphere and Ocean Scientists, that has been peer reviewed and published in Journal of Open Science.

General GIS Information

California Geospatial data

United States Geospatial Data


Geospatial Data Portals

Weather & Climate Data

Geological Cross Sections