FOSS for Geospatial

There are hundreds of FOSS GIS projects available online, see historic overview at Some of them are very mature, other are less mature or even dead projects. It’s hard to find in such number of projects relevant information which would help you to choose suitable software for your task.

Since 2006 there is OSGeo Foundation to support the collaborative development of open source geospatial software, and promote its widespread use.


Fig. 9 OSGeo logo (source).

The foundation has adopted principles to ensure that projects under OSGeo umbrella will satisfy basic quality requirements, namely:

  • Projects should manage themselves, striving for consensus and encouraging participation from all contributors - from beginning users to advanced developers.
  • Contributors are the scarce resource and successful projects court and encourage them.
  • Projects are encouraged to adopt open standards and collaborate with other OSGeo projects.
  • Projects are responsible for reviewing and controlling their code bases to insure the integrity of the open source baselines.

See General Principles of Incubation document for details.

This principles ensure that OSGeo projects are well established, stable, mature and sustainable.

Software used in this training materials

  • GRASS GIS for geospatial (raster, imagery, vector) data processing and providing spatial analysis.
  • QGIS desktop for geospatial visualization, creating hardcopy outputs, and publishing.
  • QGIS server for serving published data and providing OGC Web Services.
  • GDAL library for reading and writing various geospatial data (GeoTIFF, JPEG, Shapefile, GML, …).
  • libLAS library for reading Lidar data in LAS format.
  • laszip library for reading compressed LAZ format.