I'm curious as to what comparisons are out there between different Open Source Desktop GIS software packages. I'm aware that there has been a QGIS and gvSIG comparison on this site but I am looking for comparisons between any OpenSource Desktop GIS.

A substantial list of Open Source GIS software can be found in response to the question: What are some Free and Open Source GIS Desktop packages

I don't expect a single comparison with everything in it, but comparative subsets. Also any comprehensive benchmark/testing that may have been performed between any grouping of these products.

  • 2
    What's the purpose of your research? Do you have a question you are trying to answer about open source GIS? Research without a question is a bit useless...
    – Spacedman
    Commented Jul 3, 2012 at 13:06
  • Some of your data is very hard to measure (easy to use). We also can't prioritize your list (I only need English, so any other language is moot) Commented Jul 3, 2012 at 13:22
  • The most important components of GIS softwares are spatial analysis methods - It should be number 1 in your list.
    – julien
    Commented Jul 3, 2012 at 13:24
  • Is there a more recent (2019) comparison - the one linked to by markusN is very out of date (QGIS 1.3 vs QGIS 3.8)?
    – Derek
    Commented Sep 17, 2019 at 11:48

5 Answers 5


There is a nice matrix (table) about "Matrix on OSGeo and COTS (Commercial off-the-shelf) software functionality", see this online spreadsheet. The effort of compiling the table was led by Tom McConnell, various project leads contributed to it.

  • I like that. Who created it? Commented Apr 17, 2012 at 16:25
  • I have expanded my answer (and was involved myself).
    – markusN
    Commented Apr 17, 2012 at 18:29
  • Very extensive. It's obvious that a lot of effort has been put into compiling this table. I've only checked GRASS and QGIS columns so far, but unfortunately QGIS information is rather outdated (v 1.3).
    – underdark
    Commented Apr 23, 2012 at 21:23
  • I agree, such tables need to be continuously updated. Perhaps contact Cameron Shorter to obtain write access?
    – markusN
    Commented Apr 24, 2012 at 20:49
  • More recent version: docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/…
    – markusN
    Commented May 14, 2016 at 9:49

I've now done a little searching myself on this and there seem to have been a few academic papers published with comparisons. Even the newest one is a year+ old now, but they do make for some interesting reading.

A bit meta, but someone's even written a paper on how to compare different GIS software; GIS software selection: a multi criteria decision making approach(PDF)


From what I've seen, this is the most exhaustive comparison matrix of GIS software out there: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/ccc?key=0Albk_XRkhVkzdGxyYk8tNEZvLUp1UTUzTFN5bjlLX2c&hl=en#gid=0

There are quite a lot of variables in this matrix, some which may be out of scope for your current study, but the issue of application scalability can be drawn from such a topic.

Other links http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_geographic_information_systems_software http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Comparison_of_geographic_information_systems_software


As I answered on the question you are referring, I did a comparison for several FOSS Desktop GIS in 2008, with the purpose of finding the system that fits a set of criteria. I also developed a framework for such selections, based on other frameworks. The paper is available under a creative commons license at: http://code.atlefren.net/download/dl.php?id=10


I co-wrote a study on GRASS, gvSIG and QGIS communities, which may be an useful companion to other technical and economical studies. Actually, it compares the 3 reference desktop GIS applications as seen by OSGEO, but the scripts to generate the statistics have been released as free software, so you should be able to tweak them to analyze other environments easily.

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