10 Best Free ‘GIS Software’ To Map the World in Open Source

Firstly, the GIS software option meaning Geographic information software. Moreover, this software is designed to store, retrieve, display, manage, and analyse all types of spatial and geographic data.

GIS software produces maps and other graphic displays of geographic information for presentation and analysis. Also, it is a valuable tool to visualise spatial data or to build a decision support system for use in an organisation. GIS software stores data on geographical features and their characteristics.

Those features are classified as points, lines, areas, or raster images. And now, it is not needed to pay the king’s ransom to map the world. Because we can do all those by free GIS software.

Geographic Information System (GIS) software has revolutionized the way we visualize, interpret, and understand geographical data. From urban planning to natural resource management, GIS is an invaluable tool.

This comprehensive guide aims to demystify what GIS software is, its applications, standard platforms, and the safety considerations involved.

What is GIS Software?

GIS (Geographic Information System) software is a specialized platform used for capturing, storing, analyzing, and displaying geographical data. It offers the ability to integrate multiple layers of information into a single, interactive map, allowing for in-depth spatial analysis and complex decision-making.

10 Best Free GIS Software to Map the World in Open Source

At first, we Will know about free 10 GIS Software options, they are:

1. uDIG

Firstly, uDIG is an acronym. We have discussed the full-form of uDIG. U for a user-friendly interface, D stands for desktop, I stand for internet-oriented consuming standard and G for GIS_ready for complex analytical capabilities. uDIG is a nice open-source GIS software option for basic mapping.

Along with this, it’s catalogue, symbology, and Mac OS functionality are some of the important strong points. But, it has some limited tools, and the bugs in it bog down to use it as a complete free GIS software package.

Refractions Research are its developers. Furthermore, EPL, BCD had licensed it. This software supports shapefiles, PostGIS, WMS and other data sources. Moreover, people use this software as a framework for building GIS platforms and applications.

2. QGIS-Quantum GIS

It is a powerful cartographic and geospatial data processing tools with extensive plugin support. Gary Sherman began the development of Quantum GIS. Furthermore, it is jam-packed with Hidden gems at fingertips. By this, we can automate map production and generate drool-worthy cartographic figures.

This QGIS software plugins boost napping software into a state of epicness.plugins which are written in python or c++ extend QGIS capabilities. Importantly, it is capable of displaying multiple layers containing different depictions or sources.

To prepare a printed map with QGIS, they use the print layout. Also, you can use this software for adding multiple map views, labels, etc. Moreover, it integrates with open source GIS packages, including GRASS GIS, post GIS, and map server.

Furthermore, it is maintained by volunteer developers who regularly give updates and bug fixes. By 2012, Along with this, they translated QGIS into 48 languages, and this application is used internationally in many academic and professional Departments. Many companies offer support and feature development services.

3. gVSIG

The first part of the name stands for Generalitat Valenciana, the Spanish regional authority. The system was developed for it. Furthermore, it is a process of mapping and geoprocessing with 3D rendering plugins. Along with this, gVSIG is known as a user-friendly interface, as it can access most formats, both vector and raster ones.

Moreover, it has a wide number of tools for working, such as query tools, layout creation, geoprocessing, networks, etc. Furthermore, it Includes a plugin system which allows easy extension of the application or to develop tailor-made solutions.

Importantly, it is a desktop Version application which has been designed for Storing, handling, analysing, Capturing and deploying any kind of geographic information to solve complex management, planning problems. If we want GIS on mobile, then it will be best for fieldwork because of its interface and GPS tools.

4. Whitebox GAT

Firstly, Whitebox GAT means a white box geospatial Analysis toolbox. In addition to this, it is a cross free and open-source GIS software. Whitebox GAT is a full-blown open-access GIS and remote sensing software package.

There is a hydrology theme around white box GAT. Following, it is a replacement for a terrain analysis system (TAS). Also, TAS is a tool for hydrogeomorphic applications. By the overall View, Whitebox GAT is solid with over 410 tools to clip, convert, analyse, manage, buffer and extract the geospatial information.

Along with this, it is extendible. Along with this, users can create and add Some custom tools or plugins using any JVM language. Also, this software allows scripting using programming languages Groovy, JavaScript, and Python.

Apart from this, it also has excellent functionality for processing laser scanner (LiDAR) data contained with LAS files.

Importantly, this software is developed in response to the fact that the code base of many open-source projects can be so massive and its organisation so complex that individual users often find the task of interpreting the underlying code too daunting when they are interested in a small portion of the overall codebase.


System for automated geoscientific Analysis GIS is a tool for environmental modelling, terrain analysis, and 3D mapping. Furthermore, it is a free open source software used to edit spatial data. SAGA GIS is an effective and user-friendly graphical user interface (GUI) tool that requires only about 10 MB disk space.

Installation is not needed since SAGA GIS can be run directly from a USB thumb drive if desired. Also, it is available for Windows, Linux, and FreeBSD.It gives an effective and easily learnable platform for scientists to implement geoscientific methods. Apart from this, it has a set of fast-growing geoscientific methods, bundled in exchangeable module libraries.

Some modules are terrain analysis, Vector tools, simulation of a dynamic process, grid tools, and more. Above all, Physical Geography, Hamburg and Göttingen, Germany, developed this software. SAGA User Group Association (from May 2005).It is licensed under GNU general public license.


Geographic resource analysis support system GIS is used for geospatial data management, vector, and raster manipulation, image processing, maps, spatial and temporal modelling, Visualising.

It contains 350 modules to render maps and images on monitor and paper, and manipulate vector and raster data including vector networks, multispectral Image processing of data and more. It is licensed under GNU general public license (GPL).

It runs on many operating systems which include OS X, Windows, and Linux. Users can interface these software features through the graphical user interface (GUI) or by plugging into GRASS via other software such as QGIS. They can also interface the modules directly through a bespoke shell. It is developed by the GRASS development team. It was initially released in 1984.

7. Map Window

It is a free desktop application with plugins and programmable library. Map window open-source team developed the software. It is licensed under MPL(Mozilla public license). Developers had reprogrammed this to perform different or more specialised works. Some plugins are used to expand compatibility and functionality.

This software is built upon Microsoft NET technology. Students and volunteer developers regularly update updates of this software. It is written in C language. Landowners are with spatial soil maps and soil-related knowledge, and they use it for main tasks.


Integrated land and water information system Software integrates image, vector, and thematic data. It has the features of digitising, editing, analysis and display of data, and production of quality maps. 52°north ILWIS community developed this software.

GPL(General public license) has licensed it. It has few powerful raster analysis modules, high-precision and flexible vector and point digitising module, variety of practical tools, along with a large variety of user guides and training modules which are available for download.

Also, it is the most user-friendly integrated vector and raster software program. It is currently available on Microsoft Windows. Some of its features are integrated vector and raster design, on-screen digitising, orthophoto, integrated georeferencing, transformation, and mosaicing.

The next version of Ilwis will be based on Ilwis NG framework. This framework aims to build a connection hub between various heterogeneous data and processing sources.

9. GeoDa

It is a free GIS software program. Primarily we use this to introduce new users into spatial data analysis. Its main function is to explore data in statistics. One of the good things about it is to give a test _drive with sample data.

It has a complete arsenal of statistics to do anything spatially. Undoubtedly, its user base is very strong. This GeoDa serves as a gentle introduction to spatial analysis to non-GIS Users. You can use it as an exciting analytical in labs from economic development to health and real-estate.

10. Falconview

First of all, it is a free open source GIS software. People use this for displaying various types of maps and geographically referenced overlays. Most of the users of this software are from the US department of defence and other national geospatial intelligence agencies.

Furthermore, people use it to combat flight planning. Also, it supports various displays like elevation, satellite, KMZ and more. Georgia Tech research institute developed this software.

Government off the shelf, GNU lesser general public license has permitted it with the license. Undoubtedly, this software includes combat flight planning software (CFPS), combat airdrop planning software (CAPS), combat weapon delivery software (CWDS) and other software packages.

Various software contractors built the mentioned software. Falcon’s View is an integral part of PFPS. Almost all of the companies offer desktop GIS and web map server products. Those are manifold systems, ESRI offers spatial DBMS products.

As above mentioned GIS software provides the following:

  • Perform hundreds of advanced GIS processing tasks.
  • Generate stunning cartography and napping products.
  • Manage the company’s geospatial assets efficiently.

Why is GIS Software Used?

The use of GIS software is widespread for multiple reasons:

  1. Spatial Analysis: It enables the mapping and analysis of various phenomena that occur in geographical space.
  2. Decision Making: By combining different layers of information, GIS assists in making informed decisions in fields like urban planning, healthcare, and resource management.
  3. Data Visualization: GIS effectively turns raw data into visual insights through maps, which is easier to interpret and share.

Is Google Maps a GIS?

While Google Maps has GIS-like features, such as mapping and spatial analysis, it lacks the in-depth analytical capabilities of specialized GIS software. Google Maps is primarily geared toward consumer usage, whereas GIS software is designed for complex data layering, analytics, and professional applications.

What is Standard GIS Software?

Standard GIS software is usually feature-rich and offers extensive customization. Examples include:

  1. ArcGIS: Developed by Esri, this is perhaps the most widely used GIS software and offers a range of capabilities from basic mapping to advanced spatial analytics.
  2. QGIS: This open-source platform is known for its user-friendly interface and powerful features.
  3. MapInfo: Offers strong data visualization tools and is frequently used in market research and environmental assessments.

Where is GIS Commonly Used?

GIS software has a broad range of applications, including but not limited to:

  1. Urban Planning: For zoning, land use planning, and infrastructure development.
  2. Healthcare: In mapping the spread of diseases.
  3. Natural Resource Management: For tracking changes in landscapes, water resource planning, and wildlife habitat mapping.
  4. Retail: To identify potential store locations based on demographic data.

Benefits of GIS Software

  1. Efficient Data Management: Manages large datasets effectively and allows for easier updates.
  2. Enhanced Decision-Making: Provides a robust platform for analyzing multiple variables for better decision-making.
  3. Cost-Efficiency: Although initial setup may be expensive, it can lead to cost savings through more efficient resource allocation.
  4. Real-Time Analysis: Some GIS software allows for real-time data analysis, crucial for emergency response scenarios.

Is GIS Software Safe?

While GIS software is generally secure, the safety largely depends on various factors such as:

  1. Data Source: Ensure your geographical data comes from reputable sources.
  2. User Access: Limit access permissions to prevent unauthorized changes to critical maps and datasets.
  3. Software Updates: Keeping the software up-to-date ensures you have the latest security patches.



Lastly, you can choose the best one as you are aware of all the GIS software. Above all, we will say that there are other options, but these are the best ten GIS software. GIS software has fundamentally changed the way we approach geographical data and spatial analysis.

Its benefits are manifold, ranging from improved decision-making to efficient data management. While there are various options for GIS software, both proprietary and open-source, safety remains a crucial concern that hinges on responsible usage and data management.

As the applications of GIS continue to expand, understanding its capabilities and limitations will be essential for professionals across multiple industries.