The development and maintenance of these systems is costly and can only be funded sustainably by those who use the systems since the operational delivery of these systems cannot be funded under research grants and contracts.  

The hosting of the simterra database and modelling platform by a commercial cloud computing provider costs significantly and the development, maintenance, training and support for these systems has associated staff costs.  Our cost model below is designed to allow free and unfettered use for genuine educational, research and charitable applications but to obtain sufficient return from funded and commercial activity to ensure that the systems are sustainable.  Policysupport is a UK not-for-profit.  License funds are used to develop, maintain and improve the systems, to provide free training and support and in a series of scholarships and grants which assist others to improve the datasets used.

Basic scientist level access to these systems will always be free of charge for non-commercial use but if you are using these systems extensively to deliver funded work we do expect you to bring us in as partners to those applications at proposal stage.  These systems are not free for commercial use.  Commercial use includes any use by a commercial organisation (including consultants) or a non-commercial organisation (e.g. NGO) receiving funding to apply these systems for or on behalf of a commercial organisation. Commercial means any non-charitable, for-profit activity.  Those who purchase a commercial-use license to our systems will be logged into a commercial-use version in which all datasets available through the system are free from restriction or are licensed for commercial use (i.e. restricted datasets are no longer used).  This means we can use them as inputs to the models - they cannot however be redistributed.

These systems are licensed on an annual basis so costs are per annum, per user-account as below. The system data are provided for free to all users, your license  at higher levels of access covers the supply of the enhanced analytical functionality, server-space and support.  New functionality is released first at the highest user levels.    All user levels run the same analysis on the same global data and vary only in access to analytical functions, GIS result downloads, scenario analysis options and storage space:

Level of access Features (for examples uses see example applications pages for WW, CN)Non-commercial use cost (per yr)^Commercial use 
(per yr)
Partner* cost 
(per yr)
 PolicyAnalystBasic system, storage for two concurrent simulations, limited outputs and GIS downloads, limited map analysis functionality and scenarios/policy options. Newsgroup support. Simplified interface. Licensed datasets and features. £0 FREE £1000 £0  FREE
 ScientistBasic system, storage for two concurrent simulations, limited outputs (fewer variables, no seasonality) and GIS downloads, limited map analysis functionality and scenarios/policy options. Newsgroup support. Licensed datasets and features. £0 FREE £1000 £0  FREE
 SuperuserStorage for three concurrent simulations, expanded outputs and some GIS downloads, limited map analysis functionality and scenarios/policy options. Newsgroup support. AOIs (areas of interest). Licensed datasets and features. £500 £2500 £0  FREE
 HyperuserStorage for five concurrent simulations, unlimited GIS downloads, unlimited map analysis functionality and scenarios/policy options. Email support+. Licensed datasets and features. £1000 £5000 £0# FREE
 MegauserStorage for six concurrent simulations, unlimited GIS downloads, unlimited map analysis functionality and scenarios/policy options, commercially-relevant scenarios (eg mining, oil & gas) [commercial license only]. Email support+. Individual ecosystem services (CN).  Licensed datasets and features. £2000 £8000 £0# FREE

*Partners work with us on a funded research project or collaboration (and that is our preferred resourcing model) 
^Note that the non-commercial license is also a non-consulting license.  If you intend to use the software in paid consultancy for another organisation you must purchase a commercial use license.
+Email support is technical support in using the system functions and basic interpretation of outputs, adaptation of the systems and significant interpretive consultation is charged separately.
#According to project needs

Your license provides access to all systems for application anywhere globally at 1km or 1ha spatial resolution and is active on our public servers  Fair use policies apply to all users : if you intend to run continental or global analyses, or use these systems continuously you will need to cover the costs for your own cloud server so as not to tie up the public servers.

Please apply for your paid license or register as a partner here .  If you prefer you can contact us


1. Note that if you request commercial use you will receive access only to the commercial use version of our PSS.  This excludes summary of outputs by protected area for example (since the World Database on Protected Areas, WDPA, is not for commercial use).  If you can provide evidence of having a commercial license to the WDPA (through for example IBAT) then the same will be available here.  To apply for permission for Commercial Use of the WDPA Materials please send an email to outlining your needs.
2. Access is tied to your user account and the IP address range of the computer(s) you will use


Q: I am just trialling the tool and do not know whether I will use it or not.  Do I need to buy a license?  A:  If you are just trialling the tool and not using the results for activity other than this then no, you can just use the scientist level interface (which restricts downloading of data in GIS formats) until you have made a decision of how you will use the tool and thus the type of license that you need.

Q: I am a non-commercial organisation working with a commercial organisation to provide them with results from the tool: do I need a commercial license? A: If the commercial organisation that you are working with holds a commercial license then no, you can buy a non-commercial use license because their commercial use license covers your work for them.  If they do not have a commercial license then you need one for your work with them.  

Q: I am a partner on a funded project: what can I expect?  A: For the period of the project you will have Megauser access (non-commercial use) for the areas in which the project is working and for use on project-related activities.