I am a physics teacher and contemplating to integrate GIS to our high school's curriculum. A de facto software looks to be ArcGIS, which is a proprietary software. I wonder what are open-source alternatives that are suitable for high school students.

Are there any open-source desktop GIS and corresponding books that can be integrated into a high school curriculum?

  • 2
    If you choose to use QGIS, be sure to use the latest long term release (currently 2.18) rather than the newest version. Long-term releases are more stable, and better documented. 2.18 has many tutorials and guides available.
    – csk
    May 26, 2018 at 14:18
  • 1
    While proprietary, I believe ESRI products are free for students / teachers..
    – JGH
    May 26, 2018 at 19:03

2 Answers 2


If you are interested in a desktop GIS application similar to ArcGIS but open source, QGIS is definitely the way to go.

There are even two books specifically for use in class rooms at https://locatepress.com/odg:

Open the Door to GIS offers a way for teachers to use this powerful software in their classes without having to become experts, with freely downloadable Open-Source GIS, QGIS.

and https://locatepress.com/otw:

On the Way with GIS builds on the introduction to GIS, established in Open the Door to GIS, featuring more advanced topics. Students will strengthen their skills and increase their confidence in a digital environment, while you guide and support them with pedagogy, not technical expertise.


The well-known Qgis is an open source Gis which you might integrate in your curriculum.

But have a look here : What are some good introductory books or articles about Open Source GIS for students coming from an ESRI background? There might be something helpful for you!

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