Note: This question is intended to complement an earlier question on installed, desktop software.

What GIS-related, or even non-GIS-specific, web- or cloud-based software/tools/services -- that are free -- do you find useful, whether for GIS development or application?

For example, I'm finding that Google Docs (aka, Google Drive) increasingly useful for general productivity and Google Maps is always useful as an street atlas or as a globe.

A specialized example is Q-Cogo, useful for coordinate geometry.

  • 1
    does fusion tables count? [technically not open-source but has an api] google.com/drive/apps.html#fusiontables
    – Mapperz
    Commented Oct 25, 2013 at 19:52
  • 1
    Suggest this be made community wiki since there will likely be many "correct" answers.
    – blah238
    Commented Oct 25, 2013 at 20:15
  • 1
    @Mapperz - I think it counts, since the question asks for free OR open source (emphasis mine).
    – user3461
    Commented Oct 27, 2013 at 12:17

6 Answers 6


is the dopeness
geojson.io is a quick, simple tool for creating, viewing, and sharing maps. geojson.io is named after GeoJSON, an open source data format, and it supports GeoJSON in all ways - but also accepts KML, GPX, CSV, TopoJSON, and other formats.
has a basic free account
CartoDB is a cloud based mapping, analysis and visualization engine that lets users build spatial applications for both mobile and the web
so freaking pretty
TileMill is the design studio you need to create stunning interactive maps.
data version control

killer tools
okfn labs

get geojson/topojson
my geodata converter

maps service

and random repo
mapbox's github
odi's github

  • 2
    Thanks. More description (and objectivity) would go a long way, though.
    – Martin F
    Commented Jan 17, 2014 at 21:01
  • pretty descriptive imo...objectivity?
    – albert
    Commented Jan 18, 2014 at 3:58

Update: Nowadays I prefer Plunker for this, primarily because it allows you to create any number of files. This lets you create more realistically sized/organized demo apps, rather than stuffing everything into one HTML/JS/CSS file. Here's a nice Leaflet example: http://plnkr.co/edit/Y9uk2G?p=info

I have found JSBin and JSFiddle to be extremely useful in prototyping and demonstrating JavaScript/HTML/CSS pages, for everything from complex web maps to simple HTML forms.

JSBin example (from another GIS.se question): http://jsbin.com/OzIqegI/1/edit

JSBin example

I especially like JSBin because the entire platform is open source and you can easily download it and run it on your local machine.

JSFiddle is nearly ubiquitous among web developers though -- a common response being "just make a JSFiddle" when someone asks for help with some web dev issue.


GitHub Gist allows you to add JavaScript/HTML/CSS in one place by simply signing up for GitHub which is free and has unlimited space (for now...).

To view your result, type in http://bl.ocks.org/[username]/[gist#] or get a browser extension which can use Leaflet, D3, jQuery, or anything. The site is run by Mike Bostock, creator of D3.js and is used for showing code examples. If you just want to check out someone's Gists then you can simply put in their GitHub username.

Examples: GL-Solar, Rainbow Road edition by Mike Migurski, Iceland Topography by Mike Bostock.


Color Brewer is a great tool for chosing colors scales. Map Projection Selection Tool is tool for chosing a correct map projection.


While very limited in their presentation, Google Fusion tables have the advantage that they present a very familiar map interface if you have a broad, non-GIS user community. After all, everybody has used Google maps.


I would also add the geoman.io project. Once you select the "Editor" you can create your own Leaflet-based map using a lot of shapes available from the panel 9circles, polygons, lines, etc). The tool has also quite wide saving option with the following formats: GeoJson, TopoJson, WKT, SHP, CSV, KML and Shapefile.

It's very similar to geojson.io.

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