2022 Short Course: The Generic Mapping Tools (GMT) for Geodesy

Dates: July 5-8, 2022, with pre-course homework sessions in June
Times: Varies per day, see detailed agenda below
Venue: Virtual

Course Description

This course will cover the use of GMT 6 in geodesy using UNIX shell scripting. Lectures and exercises will be given to teach the basic conventions of using GMT, such as plotting symbols, vectors (points, lines, polygons), and grids (elevation, shading, radar image). Labs will include both processing and mapping of various data sets relevant to geodesy.

Learning Goals

In this course you will learn:

  • Introduction to UNIX basics and shell scripting
  • Learning the basic conventions of GMT
  • How to plot symbols, vectors, and grids
  • How to make multiple plots, inset images, and animations
  • How to access publicly available remote data
  • Make your own publication-quality figures   

Application Process

Participants will apply to participate as we expect demand to exceed capacity. Decisions will be made on responses to prompts in the application. Priority will be given to applicants from who are from UNAVCO member institutions and need the training to conduct research in the next year. (Check to see if your institution is a member of the UNAVCO consortium.) 

Applications are now closed.

Brief Agenda

Introductions and Installations
Introduction to GMT and Basic Skills
– Layout, objectives, organization of workshop
– GMT basics, command line, unix skills
– Plot points, lines, polygons, texts
– Plot grids, contours, shading, remote files
GMT for Geodesy and Seismology
– Plot focal mechanisms
– Plot GNSS vectors and radar images
– Generate animations
– Final projects
Student final project due
– Students will present final workflow of a publication-quality
geodesy-related illustration.

Prerequisite, Computers, and Data

Participants will use their own laptop capable of running GMT (macOS, Linux, or Windows; including variants like ubuntu bash for Windows, or Cygwin). Those who also intend to take the GMTSAR course should check the additional requirements for that course.


  • Federico Esteban, University of Buenos Aires
  • Max Jones, University of Hawaii at Manoa
  • Joaquim Luis, University of Algarve, Portugal
  • Dongdong Tian, China University of Geosciences, Wuhan
  • Paul Wessel, University of Hawaii at Manoa
  • Xiaohua Xu, University of Texas at Austin


Please contact communityat symbolunavco.org



  • Date(s): July 5-8, 2022
  • Location: Virtual
  • Deadline: April 20, 2022