Open Source GIS

Open Source GIS is a good and profitable alternative for closed source solutions. Even if GIS is already embedded in your organization, it might be lucrative to replace existing software by Open Source GIS, for instance to avoid high license costs or just to get more out of it.

What is Open Source software?

Open Source Software
Software is Open Source when the source code is publicly available. This in contrary to Closed Source software, where the source code is often only accessible by the vendor himself. Open Source software is accessible to everyone, and everybody may adjust the code. Therefor other parties then the original vendor may adjust and improve the software. Above all a developer can make better couplings to software of which he may view the source code. If the open source software is supported by a community, there are even more advantages. An active community offers continuously improvements and is by itself a great free source of help and advice. 


The use of Open Source has been growing rapidly over years. The advantages which are experienced are:

  • better quality
  • higher reliability
  • more flexibility 
  • lower costs
  • no vendor lock-in
Read more on advantages and disadvantages of Open Source software (Wikipedia)

Free software

Many open source software is also free software (FOSS: Free Open Source Software). Besides the open source character the license of free software offers freedom to use the software for every purpose, to distribute the software and to improve is. Therefor in practice the software is often free to download/use, but this is not by definition.  


Most Free Open Source software is distributed under the GNU General Public License

Open Standards

Directly related to open software are open standards. Open standards mean that the specifications of the software are publicly available. This makes it possible to make better software matches. 

Open Standards Requirements for Software (The Open Source Initiative)


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