Learn with Linux: Two Geography Apps

Linux offers great educational software and many excellent tools to aid students of all grades and ages in learning and practicing a variety of topics, often interactively. The “Learn with Linux” series of articles offers an introduction to a variety of educational apps and software.

Geography is an interesting subject, used by many of us day to day, often without realizing. But when you fire up GPS, SatNav, or just Google maps, you are using the geographical data provided by this software with the maps drawn by cartographists. When you hear about a certain country in the news or hear financial data being recited, these all fall under the umbrella of geography. And you have some great Linux software to study and practice these, whether it is for school or your own improvement.

There are only two geography-related applications readily available in most Linux repositories, and both of these are KDE applications, in fact part of the KDE Educatonal project. Kgeography uses simple color-coded maps of any selected country.

To install kegeography just type

sudo apt-get install kgeography

into a terminal window of any Ubuntu-based distribution.

The interface is very basic. You are first presented with a picker menu that lets you choose an area map.


On the map you can display the name and capital of any given territory by clicking on it,


and test your knowledge in different quizzes.


It is an interactive way to test your basic geographical knowledge and could be an excellent tool to help you prepare for exams.

Marble is a somewhat more advanced software, offering a global view of the world without the need of 3D acceleration.


To get Marble, type

sudo apt-get install marble

into a terminal window of any Ubuntu-based distribution.

Marble focuses on cartography, its main view being that of an atlas.


You can have different projections, like Globe or Mercator displayed as defaults, with flat and other exotic views available from a drop-down menu. The surfaces include the basic Atlas view, a full-fledged offline map powered by OpenStreetMap,


satellite view (by NASA),


and political and even historical maps of the world, among others.


Besides providing great offline maps with different skins and varying amount of data, Marble offers other types of information as well. You can switch on and off various offline info-boxes


and online services from the menu.


An interesting online service is Wikipedia integration. Clicking on the little Wiki logos will bring up a pop-up featuring detailed information about the selected places.


The software also includes options for location tracking, route planning, and searching for locations, among other great and useful features. If you enjoy cartography, Marble offers hours of fun exploring and learning.

Linux offers many great educational applications, and the subject of geography is no exception. With the above two programs you can learn a lot about our globe and test your knowledge in a fun and interactive manner.