Earth Science

16 Best Free and Open Source Linux Earth Science Software

Earth science (also known as geoscience) is the focus of understanding the sciences related to the planet Earth. It includes a wide range of fields such as geology, geography, geophysics, meteorology, oceanography, and glaciology. Some people are surprised to learn that astronomy is also regarded to be an earth science. Geology is generally considered to be the primary earth science.

Earth scientists plays an important role in helping nations minimize risks that are posed by climate change and natural disasters (such as floods, tornadoes, hurricanes, and earthquakes).

Science really prospers and advances when individuals share the results of their experiments with others in the scientific community. There is a certain logic that scientific software should therefore be released under an open source license. Software is crucial in helping earth scientists carry out scientific research in understanding the system earth and its interplay with society.

Linux has a particularly strong and mature set of scientific software including a wide range of open source earth science software. We have not forgotten about astronomy software, but we’ve previously published recent articles on the finest astronomy software and astronomical data analysis tools.

To provide an insight into the open source software that is available, we have compiled a list of 16 of our favorite earth science software. Hopefully, there will be something of interest here for budding scientists that need to work with large amounts of data with spatial attributes. Here’s our findings for each of the software. Here’s our ratings chart in the legendary LinuxLinks-style.

Ratings chart for best free and open source earth science apps

Click the links in the table below to learn all about each program.

Earth Science Software
GRASSGeographic Resources Analysis Support System
Quantum GISUser friendly Geographic Information System
SurvexCave surveying and mapping software
GPlatesInteractive visualization of plate-tectonics
GMTCollection of tools that allow users to manipulate data sets
TherionCave surveying - 2D and 3D drawing software
GeoServerServer written in Java that allows users to share and edit geospatial data
OpenJUMPGeographic Information System written in Java
uDigSpatial data viewer/editor
GrADSGrid Analysis and Display System for earth science data
SAGASystem for Automated Geoscientific Analyses
gvSIG DesktopPowerful, user-friendly Geographic Information System
PostGISDatabase extender for PostgreSQL object-relational database
WhiteboxToolsAdvanced geospatial data analysis platform
ncviewVisual browser for NetCDF format files
MapServerSystem for developing web-based GIS applications

This article has been revamped in line with our recent announcement.

Best Free and Open Source SoftwareRead our complete collection of recommended free and open source software. Our curated compilation covers all categories of software.

The software collection forms part of our series of informative articles for Linux enthusiasts. There are hundreds of in-depth reviews, open source alternatives to proprietary software from large corporations like Google, Microsoft, Apple, Adobe, IBM, Cisco, Oracle, and Autodesk.

There are also fun things to try, hardware, free programming books and tutorials, and much more.
Notify of

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments