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

  • 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)

Besides these, there are other open source GIS tools:

  • Whitebox GAT – Open source and transparent GIS software
  • Kalypso – 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, a 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.

Web map servers

  • 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.
  • uMAP-R – Web based Spatial viewer and management tool by Resource & Exploration Mapping Pty Ltd

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 (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.
  • Geomajas, open source development software for web-based and cloud based GIS applications


Software development frameworks and libraries (non-web)

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


Cataloging application for spatially referenced resources


Other tools

  • 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.


Desktop GIS

Companies with high market share

  • Autodesk – Products include Map 3D, Topobase, MapGuide and other products that interface with its flagship AutoCAD software package.
  • IGIS – developed by ScanPoint Geomatics Ltd. a complete GIS.
  • 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) and ERDAS APOLLO.
  • 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 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.
  • Geosoft : GIS and data processing software used in natural resource exploration.
  • 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.
  • WTH GIS – ThinkGIS software for public saftey.
  • 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.
  • ThinkGeo – Developers of Map Suite GIS software controls, enabling custom GIS applications to be developed for the Microsoft .NET Framework.

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. 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 ETLTools

  • Safe Software – Spatial ETL products including FME Desktop, FME Server and the ArcGIS Data Interoperability Extension.




  1. When I first saw this title Softwares GIS World on google I just whent and bookmark it.Hiya, I am really glad I’ve found this information. Nowadays bloggers publish only about gossips and net and this is actually frustrating. A good web site with interesting content, that’s what I need. Thank you for keeping this web site, I’ll be visiting it. Do you do newsletters? Can not find it.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *