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Home Geographical Information Systems (GIS) List of geographic information systems software

List of geographic information systems software

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GIS software encompasses a broad range of applications, all of which involve the use of some combination of digital maps and georeferenced data. GIS software can be sorted into different categories.[1] Below is a list of notable GIS software applications. Please update the listing of software below with respect to the different categories.

Open source software

The development of open source GIS software has - in terms of software history - a long tradition[2] with the appearance of a first system in 1978. Numerous systems are nowadays available which cover all sectors of geospatial data handling.

Desktop GIS

The following open source desktop GIS projects are reviewed in Steiniger and Bocher (2008/9)[3]:

gvSIG 1.0
Capaware rc1 0.1
SAGA-GIS v. 2.0.3
Whitebox GAT 1.0.2
IDRISI Taiga 16.05
  • GRASS GIS – Originally developed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, open source: a complete GIS
  • SAGA GIS – System for Automated Geoscientific Analysis- a hybrid GIS software. SAGA has a unique Application Programming Interface (API) and a fast growing set of geoscientific methods, bundled in exchangeable Module Libraries.
  • Quantum GIS – QGIS is an Open Source GIS that runs on Linux, Unix, Mac OS X, and Windows.
  • MapWindow GIS – Free, open source GIS desktop application and programming component.
  • ILWIS – ILWIS (Integrated Land and Water Information System) integrates image, vector and thematic data.
  • uDig – Open source GIS desktop application (API and source code (Java) available).
  • gvSIG – Open source GIS written in Java.
  • JUMP GIS / OpenJUMP – (Open) Java Unified Mapping Platform (the desktop GIS OpenJUMP, SkyJUMP, deeJUMP and Kosmo emerged from JUMP; see [3])


  • Whitebox GAT – Open source and transparent GIS software
  • Kalypso (software) – Kalypso is an Open Source GIS (Java, GML3) and focuses mainly on numerical simulations in water management.
  • TerraView – GIS desktop that handles vector and raster data stored in a relational or geo-relational database, i.e. a frontend for TerraLib.
  • Capaware – Capaware is also an Open Source GIS, an incredible fast C++ 3D GIS Framework with a multiple plugin architecture for geographic graphical analysis and visualization.
  • FalconView – FalconView is a mapping system created by the Georgia Tech Research Institute for the Windows family of operating systems. A free, open source version is available.

Other GIS tools - classified

Note, for different categories of GIS tools see GIS software and [1].

WebMap Server

  • Mapnik - C++/Python library for rendering - used by OpenStreetMap
  • GeoServer
  • MapGuide Open Source – Web-based mapping server.
  • MapServer – Web-based mapping server, developed by the University of Minnesota.

Spatial Database Management Systems

  • PostGIS – Spatial extensions for the open source PostgreSQL database, allowing geospatial queries.
  • TerraLib is a spatial DBMS and also provides advanced functions for GIS analysis.
  • SpatiaLite – Spatial extensions for the open source SQLite database, allowing geospatial queries.

Software Development Frameworks and Libraries (non-web)

  • GeoTools – Open source GIS toolkit written in Java, using Open Geospatial Consortium specifications.
  • GDAL / OGR
  • Orfeo toolbox

Software Development Frameworks and Libraries (for web applications)

  • OpenLayers – open source AJAX library for accessing geographic data layers of all kinds, originally developed and sponsored by MetaCarta.
  • MapFish
  • GeoBase (Telogis GIS software) - Geospatial mapping software available as a Software development kit, which performs various functions including address lookup, mapping, routing, reverse geocoding, and navigation. Suited for high transaction enterprise environments.

Cataloging application for spatially referenced resources

  • GeoNetwork opensource – A catalog application to manage spatially referenced resources

Other GIS tools - unclassified

  • ST-Links – Connection tool for working with ArcMap and spatial databases PostGres/PostGIS, SQL Server spatial.
  • Chameleon – Environments for building applications with MapServer.
  • MapPoint, a technology ("MapPoint Web Service," previously known as MapPoint .NET) and a specific software program created by Microsoft that allows users to view, edit and integrate maps.

Notable commercial or proprietary GIS software

Desktop GIS provider

Note: Almost all of the below companies offer Desktop GIS and WebMap Server products. Some offer Spatial DBMS products as well.

Companies with High Market Share

  • Autodesk – Products include Map 3D, Topobase, MapGuide and other products that interface with its flagship AutoCAD software package.
  • Bentley Systems – Products include Bentley Map, Bentley Map View and other products that interface with its flagship MicroStation software package.
  • ERDAS IMAGINE by ERDAS Inc; products include Leica Photogrammetry Suite, ERDAS ER Mapper, and ERDAS ECW JPEG2000 SDK (ECW (file format))are used throughout the entire mapping community (GIS, Remote Sensing, Photogrammetry, and image compression).
  • Esri – Products include ArcView 3.x, ArcGIS, ArcSDE, ArcIMS, ArcWeb services and ArcGIS Server.
  • Intergraph – Products include G/Technology, GeoMedia, GeoMedia Professional, GeoMedia WebMap, and add-on products for industry sectors, as well as photogrammetry.
  • MapInfo by Pitney Bowes – Products include MapInfo Professional and MapXtreme.
  • Smallworld – developed in Cambridge, England (Smallworld, Inc.) and purchased by General Electric and used primarily by public utilities.

Companies with Minor but Notable Market Share

  • Aquaveo - Developers of GMS, WMS, SMS, which are modular hydrology programs with 3D mapping features.
  • Cadcorp – Products include Cadcorp SIS, GeognoSIS, mSIS and developer kits
  • Caliper – Products include Maptitude, TransModeler and TransCAD
  • Dragon/ips – Remote sensing software with some GIS capabilities.
  • ENVI - Utilized for image analysis, exploitation, and hyperspectral analysis.
  • Field-Map : GIS tool designed for computer aided field data collection, used mainly for mapping of forest ecosystems.
  • IDRISI – GIS and Image Processing product developed by Clark Labs at Clark University. Affordable and robust, it is used for both operations and education.
  • Manifold System – GIS software package.
  • Netcad – Desktop and web based GIS products developed by Ulusal CAD ve GIS Çözümleri A.Ş.
  • RegioGraph by GfK GeoMarketing; GIS software for business planning and analyses; company also provides compatible maps and market data.

Spatial DBMS

  • VMDS version managed data store from smallworld
  • Boeing's Spatial Query Server spatially enables Sybase ASE.
  • DB2 – Allows spatial querying and storing of most spatial data types.
  • Informix – Allows spatial querying and storing of most spatial data types.
  • Microsoft SQL Server 2008 – The latest player in the market of storing and querying spatial data. At this stage only some GIS products such as MapInfo and Cadcorp SIS can read and edit this data while ESRI and others are expected to be able to read and edit this data within the next few months
  • Oracle Spatial – Product allows users to perform complex geographic operations and store common spatial data types in a native Oracle environment. Most commercial GIS packages can read and edit spatial data stored in this way.
  • PostGIS – a spatial database based on the free PostgreSQL database

Spatial ETL Tools

  • Safe Software – Spatial ETL products including FME Desktop, FME Server and the ArcGIS Data Interoperability Extension.
  • ST-Links PgMap for converting spatial data between databases and feature classes. It is and connection tool for ArcMap to view/edit/convert spatial data in databases systems.

See also



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