Commercial GIS software restricts many researchers, developers and users to a range of spatial tools. To overcome this, a co-operative GIS and image processing software development process started a decade ago leading to availability of various open software in market now. Most advantageous point of using open source GIS software is that it offers more flexibility than the commercial software solutions. The user can fit in their specific needs and can directly modify it. The top ten open source GIS software that are available free over the internet are listed below:
It is the most widely used open source GIS software competing with commercial ArcGIS software. It offers wide range of spatial tools. Volunteers develop dynamic tools for QGIS, which why this software is extremely successful. If the tool is not available, one can easily search plugins develop by the QGIS community.
- SAGA GIS
A good software for terrain analysis, SAGA GIS provides various tools such as hillshading, watershed extraction and visibility analysis.
- GRASS GIS
Developed by US Army Corps of Engineers it provides GIS analysis, image processing and terrain manipulation tools. It has more than 300 vector and raster manipulation tools.
MapWindow fulfills what most GIS user needs. It has high levels tools such as watershed delineation and model builder.
Apart from better visualization tools for biologists, planners and hydrologists it has good capability for image processing such as classification, enhancements and spectral band manipulation.
It supports great statistical analysis functionality in spatial domain i.e. geostatistics. One can easily perform autocorrelation, correlation and regression analysis on spatial data using this software.
- Diva GIS
It is good software for biologists as it helps in mapping biological richness and diversity and has statistical and modeling capabilities. It also provides useful free GIS Data for mapping.
It is one of the best 3D visualization software available for free. It has impressive CAD tools and supports mobile phones for field work data collection with GPS tools.
- Whitebox GAT
It brings hydrology tool, LiDAR tool and good cartographic mapping tools to users. It provides more than 400 GIS analysis tools.
It has capability to handle large data set easily with various plotting and mapping option such as pie chart and choropleth Maps. Spatial analysis, Web processing, GPS, etc are the useful plugins could be used by users.