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ArcGIS Alternatives - QGIS



ArcGIS Alternatives - QGIS (previously known as Quantum GIS) is a free and open-source cross-platform desktop geographic information system (GIS) application that supports viewing, editing, and analysis of geospatial data.

QGIS functions as geographic information system (GIS) software, allowing users to analyze and edit spatial information, in addition to composing and exporting graphical maps. QGIS supports both raster and vector layers; vector data is stored as either point, line, or polygon features. Multiple formats of raster images are supported, and the software can georeference images.

QGIS supports shapefiles, coverages, personal geodatabases, dxf, MapInfo, PostGIS, and other formats. Web services, including Web Map Service and Web Feature Service, are also supported to allow use of data from external sources.

QGIS integrates with other open-source GIS packages, including PostGIS, GRASS GIS, and MapServer.Plugins written in Python or C++ extend QGIS's capabilities. Plugins can geocode using the Google Geocoding API, perform geoprocessing functions similar to those of the standard tools found in ArcGIS, and interface with PostgreSQL/PostGIS, SpatiaLite and MySQL databases.

Gary Sherman began development of Quantum GIS in early 2002, and it became an incubator project of the Open Source Geospatial Foundation in 2007. Version 1.0 was released in January 2009.

Written in C++, QGIS makes extensive use of the Qt library. In addition to Qt, required dependencies of QGIS include GEOS and SQLite. GDAL, GRASS GIS, PostGIS, and PostgreSQL are also recommended, as they provide access to additional data formats.

As of 2017, QGIS is available for multiple operating systems including Mac OS X, Linux, Unix, and Microsoft Windows. A mobile version of QGIS was under development for Android as of 2014.

QGIS can also be used as a graphical user interface to GRASS. QGIS has a small install footprint on the host file system compared to commercial GISs and generally requires less RAM and processing power; hence it can be used on older hardware or running simultaneously with other applications where CPU power may be limited.

QGIS is maintained by volunteer developers who regularly release updates and bug fixes. As of 2012, developers have translated QGIS into 48 languages and the application is used internationally in academic and professional environments. Several companies offer support and feature development services.



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