Open-Source Software for Geophysical Data

This page is dedicated to providing Indigenous communities, students, and other archaeological professionals links to free software for the purpose of processing/visualizing geophysical, remote sensing, and geospatial data. Please note, this is not an exhaustive list of all available software, and the IPIA does not endorse any specific software package. Please choose the software that is the most appropriate for your research goals and requirements.

Many of the open source software solutions require basic knowledge of programming languages to create or edit computer scripts. There are free resources dedicated to learning these programming languages can be found online. For those who do not wish to learn a programming language, commercial solutions are available through manufacturers and third parties (e.g., for GPR, GSSI’s RADAN, Sensors and Software’s EkkoMapper, Dean Goodman’s GPR-SLICE are all extensively employed). There are also many free software packages available through the proprietary MATLAB programming language/software environment. These are not included listed here, however, if you are interested in such packages, please send us an email.

Many of the software packages noted below are provided for free and were created through donations of time and expertise by developers. If you use their software, please support and acknowledge the developers wherever possible

Have questions? Want to add your software to this list? Contact Liam ( for more information.

Geographic Information Systems (GIS)


A very popular and powerful GIS. This software also has a lot of supported plugins useful for remote sensing, and has python functionality. 


“GRASS GIS, commonly referred to as GRASS (Geographic Resources Analysis Support System), is a free and open source Geographic Information System (GIS) software suite used for geospatial data management and analysis, image processing, graphics and maps production, spatial modeling, and visualization”.


Stands for “System for Automated Geoscientific Analyses.” Completely free GIS solution. 


An open source GIS with a fairly large user base. 

Generic Mapping Tools

“The Generic Mapping Tools (GMT) are widely used across the Earth, Ocean, and Planetary sciences and beyond. A diverse community uses GMT to process data, generate publication-quality illustrations, automate workflows, and make animations” This GIS software excels at gridding data and making maps. 

Ground-Penetrating Radar (GPR)


Open-source Ground Penetrating Radar processing and visualization software. Able to process 2-D profile data and 3-D data volumes. Read more here. Created by Dr. Alain Plattner, University of Alabama University. Please note that this software requires knowledge of Python.


A free and open-source software package to read, export, analyse, process and visualize ground-penetrating radar (GPR) data. Currently only 2-D data processing and visualization. Created by Emmanuel Huber, RGPR. Read more here. Please note that this software requires knowledge of R.

GPRViewer and GPR Process

Open-source tools for profile visualization/interpretation and 3D amplitude map generation. Created by Dr. Lawrence Conyers (University of Denver) and Jeffrey Lucius (USGS). 


Open source software that simulates electromagnetic wave propagation for GPR modelling. Please note that this software requires knowledge of Python.

Magnetometry and Resistivity


Magnetometry and resistivity gridded data analysis. Created by David Staveley.

Resistivity Inversion Software

Many resistivity inversion software options available, most requiring some programming language experience. For example IP4DI, DC2DInvRes, and ResIPy.

Seismic Refraction


OpendTect is a free, open-source seismic interpretation system for visualizing, analyzing and interpreting 2D, 3D and 4D seismic data. It is also widely used for Geo-Radar interpretation. The standalone version is free, while professional upgrades come at a cost.

LiDAR/Photogrammetry Point Cloud Tools


3D point cloud and mesh processing software. 


R package for Airborne LiDAR Data Manipulation and Visualization for Forestry Applications. Read more here. Please note that this software requires knowledge of R.

Multi-Technique Software

QGIS - Archaeological Geophysics Toolbox Plugin

QGIS Plug-in for geophysical surveys.  This plugin provides basic tools for processing archaeo-geophysical data for the following machines: Geoscan Research RM15/RM85, Sensys MXPDA, Bartington Grad601, Geonics EM31, Geophex GEM2, GSSI EMP400. Please note that this Plug-in requires knowledge of Python.


ArchaeoFusion is a tool for Archaeologists and others who use ground penetrating sensors to build subsurface maps. ArchaeoFusion will load data from many sources, processes the data, and then integrate it into a clear representation of subsurface features. Created by the Center for Advanced Spatial Technologies, University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, USA. 


WuMapPy is an open source python package for sub-surface geophysical survey data processing. It mainly focuses on ground surveys data and offers tools to process the data and create geophysical maps that can be imported to GIS softwares. WuMapPy is a Graphical User Interface for the processing package GeophPy. Read more here. 



ParaView is an open-source, multi-platform data analysis and visualization application. ParaView users can quickly build visualizations to analyze their data using qualitative and quantitative techniques. The data exploration can be done interactively in 3D or programmatically using ParaView’s batch processing capabilities.  A standalone GUI is available, but knowledge of Python is required for advanced use.


Interactive scientific data visualization and 3D plotting in Python. Please note that this software requires knowledge of Python.

Geoscience Analyst

Free 3D visualization and communication software for integrated, multi-disciplinary geoscience and mining data and models. The free-version has limited functionality.