5 Free GIS Mapping Software

Free GIS Mapping Software
Free GIS Mapping Software

Our goal is to present an overview of Free GIS Mapping Software projects “Basically Desktop GIS” that develop and facilitate free and open source GIS adoption in business, research and teaching. Below is the list of 5 Free and open source Mapping software that is in focus in recent years.

Many software projects that focus on the development of free Geographic Information Systems (GIS) Mapping software have been initiated in recent years. In particular, the Quantum GIS project, the PostGIS project, and the OpenLayers project have been able to attract users and developers, which has subsequently influenced software functionality and support and as a consequence raised their attractiveness to new users of free software.

Why Use Open Source GIS Software?

An open source software means, user can access the software freely and can also modify the source code of that software based on the need. Open Source Projects are typically developed by a community of volunteer programmers. The last few years have seen dramatic development in GIS technology. These Open source GIS application are based on different programming languages.  Three main groups of Open Source GIS in terms of programming languages are: C language, Java language, and .NET language (Microsoft). Therefore, the GIS community would get much benefit from the availability of Open Source GIS Application. This community would make a positive impact by allowing the user access to a wider range of tools.

QGIS – Quantum GIS

Launched in 2002, QGIS is a free and open source Geographic Information System, licensed under the GNU General Public License. QGIS software includes Key features such as importing of data from multiple sources, digitizing, on the fly reprojection of data, editing of files, data analysis, database connectivity, geoprocessing and raster data processing. Multiple formats of raster images are supported, and QGIS can also georeference images. The extremely capable print layout functionality is intuitive and straightforward for new users to create professional looking maps.

QGIS considered being the best free geographic information system (GIS) Mapping software, allowing users to analyze and edit spatial data, additionally to composing and exporting graphical maps. QGIS supports both raster layers and vector layers, vector data is stored as either point, line or polygon features. QGIS supports shapefiles, coverages, personal geodatabases, dxf, MapInfo, PostGIS, and different formats. web services, including Web Map Service and Web Feature Service, are supported to permit the use of data from external sources.

Homepage https://qgis.org/


gVSIG Desktop is a Geographical Information System, i.e, a computer application aimed to represent, edit, analyze and manage information from the point of view of spatial relations. The gvSIG license is GNU/GPL v.3 which gives the user the rights to free use, study, improvement and distribution. The gvSIG first version was released in 2004. Developed under the values of collaboration and sharing knowledge, gvSIG has evolved very quickly and in a few years, it has become one of the most used applications to manage the geographical information. gvSIG is known for having a user-friendly interface, being able to access the most common formats, both vector and raster ones. It’s Being developed using Java, and being available for Linux, Windows and Mac OS X platforms.

Homepage http://www.gvsig.com/en


Geographic Resources Analysis Support System (GRASS) is a GIS software application that was developed by the US Government. It is an Open Source software providing powerful raster, vector and geospatial processing capabilities in a single integrated software suite. It has over 350 modules for spatial analysis of geospatial information, and the processing of satellite and aerial imagery. Due to Open source GRASS is presently utilized in academic and business settings around the world, as well as by several governmental agencies. GRASS is an official project of the Open Source Geospatial Foundation. It runs on multiple operating systems, including OS X, Windows and Linux.

Homepage https://grass.osgeo.org/


MapWindow is more than just a GIS data viewer. This implies that advanced users or developers can write plug-ins to include additional useful functionality (models, special viewers, hot-link handlers, data editors and so on) and pass these along to any number of the user’s clients and end users. It has been adopted by the United States Environmental Protection Agency as the primary GIS platform for its BASINS (Better Assessment Science Integrating Point and Nonpoint Sources) watershed analysis and modelling software.

Homepage http://www.mapwindow.org/


OpenJUMP is an open source Geographic Information System (GIS) package written in Java programming language, so you can run it on any working operating system that supports this programming language. It serves multiple purposes, from opening and viewing GIS data to editing geometric data and attributes. It can read and write shapefiles, straightforward GML files and in addition a few other other vector formats via plugins or modules. It can also read from several spatial databases and write to PostGIS database. It supports for images and for WFS and WMS web-services. It is developed and maintained by a group of volunteers, Formerly known as JUMP GIS.

Homepage http://jump-pilot.sourceforge.net/


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