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The University of Manitoba campuses are located on original lands of Anishinaabeg, Cree, Oji-Cree, Dakota, and Dene peoples, and on the homeland of the M├ętis Nation. More

GIS & Geovisualization: Software & Tools

Guide of resources to support your GIS endeavours.



  • Coblis: Colour blindness simulator
  • ColourBrewer2.0: Tool to help select appropriate colour palettes based on your project.


  • ESRI Software (ArcGIS Pro, ArcGIS Online, StoryMaps etc). Proprietary suite of tools for doing GIS analysis and geospatial data visualization. UM users have access to all these tools as well as training materials through our educational site license. Contact umlgis (at) for more information. PC only for desktop tools.
  • QGIS is a free and opens source GIS software that allows you to create, edit, visualize, analyze and publish geospatial information. Make sure you download the 'long-term release' version of the software for the most stable experience. Mac and PC friendly.

Simple GeoVisualization

  • Datawrapper: Tool with an open tier for creating charts, maps and tables (I love the annotation functionality on this tool!).
  • Excel: Familiar tool, good for creating charts, graphs and dashboards. Try using Sparklines to get an overview of your data. Active community forum for support and instructional videos. Integrates with Office365 and your UM ESRI license.
  • Google Earth allows users to import and view their own data, using Google Earth imagery as a backdrop.
  • PowerBI: Create sharable charts, graphs and dashboards. Free service, active community forum for support and instructional videos. Integrates with Office365.
  • Tableau Public: Create sharable charts, graphs and dashboards. Free service, active community forum for support and instructional videos.


Online Gazetteers

Gazetteers are directories of geographical place names. They often contain additional information on the area's population, statistical information about the locality, as well as descriptions of the physical and geographical features of the location.

Georeferencing and Geocoding tools

Georeferencing is the general process of relating information to a geographic location. Geocoding can be considered a georeferencing technique where point data is created from names/ addresses/ postal codes.

  • ArcGIS Online or ArcGIS Pro (via UM GISHub) : Use various tools to georeference, create geocoders and networked datasets.
  • : Use this tool to quickly create geospatial data by drawing symbols on a map.
  • Google Fusion Tables: Fusion Tables is an experimental data visualization web application to gather, visualize, and share data tables. Use it to geocode addresses and make maps.
  • Map Warper: Map Warper is an open source georeferencing or "georectification" service to warp or stretch images and maps to fit in real world map coordinates.
  • Postal Code Conversion Files (PCCF & PCCF+): The DLI (Data Liberation Initiative) provides access to the Postal Code Conversion File (PCCF) and the Postal Code Conversion File Plus (PCCF+). (More info) These files provide a correspondence between the Canada Post Corporation six character postal code and Statistics Canada’s standard geographical areas, e.g., dissemination areas, census tracts, and census subdivisions.
    Contact the Data & Statistics Librarian for access.

Note from Meg:

If you have any questions about troubleshooting or tool selection, book a consultation with me using the link in my profile on the first page of this guide!