Most Opensource tools are cross platform; however, some GIS tools such as ArcGIS are platform specific (windows only). What are some of the GIS tools that are usable on the mac?


Although thank you for putting the basic apps in your answers, my question specifies that Most if not all of opensource tools are cross platform, I was really hoping to get more obscure libraries, packages, and programs that I didn't know about on OSX similar to dotspatial and sharpmap for windows

  • Pretty good list here – Zachary Dec 29 '10 at 20:31
  • It sounds like you are looking for Mac only apps. With the muli-platform OpenSource apps, you get the benefit of an application that runs natively on the Mac, but the larger developer/user community that draws people from all platforms. – DavidF Jan 3 '11 at 19:57

go to kingchaos and you have all the FOSS4G desktop GIS compiled for Mac: - GRASS GIS - Quantum GIS + PostgreSQL, PostGIS, GDAL and others (Mapserver)

You have also OpenJump, GvSIG, Udig, Ossim and Cartographica (not free, 495 $) + R and R spatial packages + Merkatoor (OpenStreetMap editor) + some other things


QGIS will run on OSX. You can download it from here:



Mono works on Mac, so DotSpatial must work. GISLook & GISMeta are Mac-Specific. They are plugins for Mac OS X that show GIS data in the Finder. Supported formats: ESRI Shape, E00, ArcInfo Coverage, USGS DEM, SRTM, ESRI ASCII grid, ESRI Binary grid, BIL, BIP, BSQ, Surfer Grid, PGM.


Nothing quite on the level of ArcGIS in features, price or frustration. But, there are some such as:

Also, ArcGIS is usable in a VM as long as you're not doing anything too 3D intensive. Presumably, that would be true of other proprietary GIS applications.


Any of the FOSS4G desktop GIS platforms run well on the Mac.


Whitebox Geospatial Analysis Tools - GAT for Spatial Analysis is JAVA program and probable run on OSX even as VISAT/BEAM for RS. And MultiSpec run well on the MAC for Image Classification (despite being freeware).


Also GRASS GIS runs on MacOSX: http://grass.osgeo.org/download/software.php#g64x

EDIT 2015:

As of 2015, the new stable major release GRASS GIS 7.0.0 is available. The graphical user interface based on wxPython (introduced in GRASS GIS 6.4) has been enriched with many new features in order to make complex GIS operations available as simple as possible. The old Tcl/Tk based GUI has been dropped. The developers have added important new functionality to the core system, among that the ​new Python interface to the C library. This new API permits users to create new GRASS GIS-Python modules in a simple way while yet obtaining powerful and fast modules. Furthermore, the vector library was significantly improved to make it faster and more efficient, along with support of ​huge files. This requires an ​easy to manage topology format update including a new spatial index. A lot of effort has been invested to standardize parameter and flag names. Finally, there are a series of new modules to analyse raster and vector data; some of the already existing modules were improved and made faster (some even 1000 x faster).

For details see https://trac.osgeo.org/grass/wiki/Release/7.0.0-News

  • My answer is from 2010... maybe out of QA :) – markusN Oct 1 '15 at 18:42

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.