Academic Programs

Blue Marble applications are ideally suited for GIS education and instruction, especially when GIS is a component of a broader field of study.

By balancing powerful data processing and analysis functionality with simplicity of design, Global Mapper allows teachers to focus on the practical application of spatial technology rather than using valuable classroom time teaching students how to operate the requisite software.

For students needing a comprehensive introduction to the field of geodesy or coordinate system management, there is no better tool than Geographic Calculator. This powerful software is designed to ensure accuracy and consistency in any geospatial data management process.

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Global Mapper Academic Curriculum

The Global Mapper Academic Curriculum is a series of hands-on instructional guides that provide step-by-step instructions on some of the key functions of the software. These lab documents have been developed by Blue Marble Applications Specialists to facilitate the deployment of Global Mapper into the academic community while introducing some of the fundamental principles of GIS.

The academic labs are delivered as a series of PDF files that offer students the opportunity to follow a prescribed workflow to a defined conclusion. Each lab also includes a freeform exercise that requires participants to employ the knowledge and skills learned in the lab in a problem-solving scenario. The requisite data files are included and can be freely copied to each student’s computer. Lab participants are required to save any exported data or files in a local folder, which will provide instructors with the opportunity to assess the students’ work and to provide assistance as needed. Specific instructions are provided in the introduction to each lab.

GIS Curriculum Topics

The Global Mapper Academic Curriculum includes the following topics:

Introduction to the Principles of GIS Angle right
This lab deals with the basic processes for adding spatial data to the map as well as the use of the Digitizer for creating, editing, and querying vector features. It also covers some simple raster processing procedures and discusses various options for exporting or sharing data.
Generating a Terrain Surface and Creating Contours using LiDAR Data Angle right
This lab walks through the process of converting a LiDAR point cloud into a gridded raster surface model. Along the way, it also covers LiDAR editing, visualization options, and 3D modeling. The lab concludes with the creation and export of elevation contours in shapefile format.
Working with Attributes and Creating a Thematic Map Angle right
The object of this lab is to introduce the key attribute management tools in Global Mapper. Specific workflows include joining external data, calculating attributes, and applying symbology that reflects variations or patterns in the attribute table.
Rectifying an Image Angle right
Rectification is the process for applying geographic parameters to a simple image file. This lab covers several methods for rectifying a variety of images using online base-map datasets or known coordinates.
Extracting Vector Features from a Raster Layer Angle right
In this lab, a variety of raster files are analyzed and vector polygons are created by identifying color or elevation ranges in the file. This vectorization process can eliminate time-consuming digitizing or tracing that is usually employed when transposing vector features from aerial imagery.
Creating a Watershed Model Angle right
This lab introduces the process of delineating drainage patterns and catchment areas from a terrain surface. Specific workflows include water drop analysis and outlining watershed boundaries.
LiDAR Classification and Extraction Angle right
Using publically available LiDAR data, this lab walks through the process of identification and reclassification of points that comprise buildings and trees. The reclassified points are then used to extract 3D vector features.
Using the Raster Calculator Angle right
Raster Calculation involves numeric calculation based on the values associated with each pixel in a raster layer. In this lab we use the NIR and red bands from Landsat imagery to calculate NDVI.
3D Analysis from UAV images Angle right
Using UAV-captured images, this lab walks through the process of generating a photogrammetric point cloud, reclassifying points, and creating a digital terrain model and contour lines from a point cloud.

All lab participants must have access to a fully licensed version of Global Mapper. An evaluation copy does not include the degree of functionality and data support required to complete all of the steps in the labs. For questions about software licensing and for information on academic licensing options that will allow concurrent use on multiple computers, email or call +1 207-622-4622.

The Global Mapper Academic Curriculum materials are distributed free of charge, however, access is restricted to educational institutions. If you would like to request a copy of these materials, please fill out the request form and upon submission, you will be provided with a link to download the files.

Academic Licensing FAQ

Who is eligible to participate in the free academic licensing program? Angle right
All accredited secondary universities and colleges in the United States and Canada are eligible to apply for free academic licensing.
What criteria does an academic institution need to meet to be eligible? Angle right
The academic institution must be an accredited university or college that provides classroom or lab-based instruction to students. Blue Marble reserves the right to refuse any institution’s eligibility for any reason.
Are there limitations on how the software can be used at a university or college? Angle right
The software provided under the free academic license program can only be used for instruction or hands-on lab educational use. This includes installation on a student's personal computer when authorized by a faculty member. The use of the software for a grant or commercially funded research purposes is strictly prohibited under the academic license. Any violation of this policy will result in the immediate revocation of the institution's academic license and may result in commercial license fees.
Which software titles are available under the program? Angle right
The free academic license is available for the current release versions of Global Mapper, the Global Mapper LiDAR Module, and Geographic Calculator.
Are there any technical differences between the academic and commercial versions of the software? Angle right
No. Both academic and commercial versions of the software offer the same functionality.
How do I request a license for my college or university? Angle right
You can apply for free academic licensing by filling out the request form. Upon review, a representative from Blue Marble will contact you to finalize the details.
How do I activate the software in my classroom or lab? Angle right
The academic license is either activated using a network license server or through a distribution order for single-user licenses for remote students. For more information contact
How do I activate the software on a student's computer? Angle right
A student can either "borrow" a license from the network server for independent study or install their own local copy based on the terms of the academic license. Note that after activating the software, the student's computer does not need to be perpetually connected to the network.
Can an individual student request a license? Angle right
No. Only a member of the staff or faculty at the academic institution can apply for free academic licensing. Subsequently, the activation of the software on the student's computer must be authorized and overseen by a faculty member. The overseeing academic institution is responsible for any violation of the academic license agreement by a student.
How many concurrent users does the program support? Angle right
During the application process, the academic institution can request licenses for the required number of concurrent users. Blue Marble representatives will evaluate and make a final decision on this request.
Is free academic licensing available for high school students? Angle right
No. Currently, the free academic license program is only available for institutions of higher education.
What licensing options are available for colleges and universities outside of the U.S. and Canada? Angle right
For non-U.S. and Canadian universities, Blue Mable offers a highly discounted lab licensing program. Contact the Blue Marble Sales Team at for more information.
Is the program available to an overseas campus of a U.S. or Canadian-based university? Angle right
Blue Marble will review these requests on a case by case basis.
Does the license expire and what is the process for renewal? Angle right
The academic license will expire at the end of the designated course and a request for renewal must be submitted prior to the expiration date to ensure the software's uninterrupted operation.
Does Blue Marble offer technical support as part of the program? Angle right
Blue Marble offers technical support for the duration of the license period. The primary function of this support service is to ensure the smooth operation of the software. For assistance with workflow or procedural questions, refer to the included help documentation or online resources.
Are there instructional resources available to facilitate the use of the software in an academic lab? Angle right
Blue Marble provides a series of free curriculum materials, which include step-by-step instructions along with the required data files. These are made available exclusively to participating academic institutions. Fee-based, in-classroom instruction can also be arranged if needed. Email for more information.

Free Access to GIS and Geodetic Software

Blue Marble’s generous academic licensing program provides complimentary access to both Global Mapper and Geographic Calculator for schools and colleges in the United States and Canada. Discounted licensing is also available to academic institutions in other parts of the world.

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The Global Mapper Academic Curriculum

The Global Mapper Academic Curriculum is comprised of a series of hands-on lessons that are available at no cost to schools and colleges using Global Mapper in the classroom. The goal of this program is to streamline the deployment of Global Mapper within the academic community while introducing some of the fundamental principles of GIS, in a concise and understandable way.

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The Global Mapper Scholarship Program

For the 2019/20 school year, Blue Marble will be offering a US$500 scholarship to a selected student who has demonstrated proficiency in Global Mapper and has employed the software in a research project.

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