User Documentation

User Manual

GPlates User Manual


The official GPlates user-manual is written by GPlates users in the EarthByte Project, in close collaboration with the GPlates software development team.

Read the user manual to learn about GPlates' many functions. The manual describes all of the canvas tools, menus, and dialogs that are present in GPlates and how they can be used.

GPlates Tutorials

GPlates Tutorials


There are many Introductory Tutorials viewable online via Google Docs or downloadable as PDF. Each one describes how to accomplish a specific task in GPlates. Read these for a more in-depth guide that explains how various GPlates functions can be used within the context of an example workflow.

A video showcasing some of the most recently added functionality of GPlates can be found on the Features page.

GPlates Python Documentation

GPlates Python Documentation


pygplates is a Python library enabling access to GPlates functionality. This may be of particular use to researchers requiring more flexibility than is provided by the GPlates user interface.

Read the pygplates documentation if you wish to write Python source code that uses pygplates. The documentation includes an installation guide, sample code for common plate tectonic problems and a library reference.

GPlates Python Tutorials

GPlates Python Tutorials


There are pygplates tutorials in the form of Jupyter Notebooks that analyse and visualise real-world data using pygplates.

These tutorials complement the sample code in the pygplates documentation by providing a more research-oriented focus.

Data Manual

GPlates Data Manual


Read the Data Manual if you wish to understand how the GPlates model works and how GPlates stores data in its native file format (GPML). This manual may be of particular use to people who want to know how to structure their data so that it can be imported into GPlates easily.

There is also a complete technical reference of the GPlates Geological Information Model (GPGIM) for use by advanced users.

Compiling GPlates


Instructions on how to compile GPlates from source may be found in the GPlates source-code releases, in the files:

Contributed documentation


Apple enthusiast and star GPlates user Christian Heine has written a comprehensive guide to building GPlates from source on MacOS X without package managers (PDF, 694K). Published on February 26, 2009, this describes the steps to compile GPlates 0.9.4 on MacOS X without using Fink or MacPorts. Thanks Christian!