Free GIS Data Viewers

Caitlin Dempsey


Free data viewers for a variety of GIS data formats. These viewers allow you to display geographic data as well as perform some basic GIS functions.

Explorer for ArcGIS
A viewer developed by Esri for viewing maps on mobile devices.  The app is available for iOS and Android devices.

ArcReader is a free, easy-to-use mapping application that allows users to view, explore, and print maps.

Cadcorp Map Express is a  free-to-use read-only desktop GIS. It can be used to read many data formats – GIS, CAD, web, and database – directly, and without translation. With Map Express you can carry out the following geoprocessing operations completely free of charge: spatial querying, attribute querying, tabular visualisation, 3D visualisation, map publishing in Adobe Portable Document Format (PDF), and map printing.  Map Express is available as 32-bit and 64-bit.

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Christine GIS
Christine GIS system is free GIS software allows you viewing and spatial querying vector and raster data, creating and editing tabular data, connect DBMS by ODBC, creating applications by integrated script language.

Geomatica Freeviewer
Geomatica Freeview is a standalone dataviewer that allows browsing of a variety of vector and raster based data including satellite imagery. You can also access attribute data within this viewer.

Geospatial Explorer
Free download of this data viewer by Cyze & Associates. This viewer was especially created for environmental scientists, geologists and engineers.

Natural Resources Database
The Natural Resources Database (NRDB) is a GIS-based tool for developing and distributing environmental databases. Data may be output as resource maps, graphs and reports using simple selections or powerful queries. The program supports the import and export of data to and from shapefiles and supports universal (UTM) and other transverse mercator projections. Data may also be imported from Excel files, Access databases and text files.

Shape Viewer is a free tool, which you can use to view Esri Shapefiles.  You can still download the software although it was lasted updated in 2005.

TatukGIS Viewer
Natively supports wide range of vector, image, grid data formats and WMS, WFS, and WMTS services opened from the web. Comprehensive visual layer property and legend controls for deep customization of map appearance, including colors, labels, fills, line styles, symbology, thematic presentation, pie charts, sublayers and layer hierarchies… Advanced coordinate system support with nearly 5,000 predefined coordinate systems and on-the-fly reprojection. Attribute data grid table with advanced query and selection tools.

TNTatlas is a free Geodata viewing tool for Mac OS X and Windows. Geodata files currently supported include shapefiles, DWG, DGN, DXF, JPEG, JP2, TIFF, GeoTIFF, PNG, ECW, and MrSID formats. TNTatlas also has features for querying, measurement, printing, sketching of the displayed geodata.

Article first published August 2, 2004.  Select entries last updated January 9, 2018.

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About the author
Caitlin Dempsey
Caitlin Dempsey is the editor of Geography Realm and holds a master's degree in Geography from UCLA as well as a Master of Library and Information Science (MLIS) from SJSU.