Ok, a bit of a silly question, but:

I've heard people pronouncing the library GDAL (Geospatial Data Abstraction Library) like goooo-dal. My natural inclination was to pronounce it geeee-dal, as in the letter 'g'-dal.

Any explanation on how goo-dal came to be popular? Was goo-gle involved?

  • 10
    I wonder if PDAL is pronounced poodle?
    – user2856
    Commented Sep 21, 2013 at 0:36
  • 3
    They do? I've never heard anyone pronounce it 'goo-dal' despite Frank Warmerdam's preference quoted by chryss. I'll continue with 'gee-dal' but I hope there won't be a GIS-community schism - a 'googee-gate', if you will :) Commented Sep 21, 2013 at 7:35
  • 3
    I've heard co-workers using "Goodle" "Ogre" and "Poodle" for GDAL, OGR, and PDAL, but I favour "Gee-Dal", "oh-gee-ar", and "Pee-Dal"
    – smithkm
    Commented Sep 27, 2013 at 2:23
  • "What's in a name..?"
    – elrobis
    Commented Nov 6, 2014 at 16:48
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    @Luke Thr only official PDAL pronunciation is the same one as GDAL pdal.io/faq.html Commented Feb 2, 2016 at 0:14

1 Answer 1


Quoting Frank Warmerdam, the maintainer:

I pronounce it "goodle". I had originally thought to call it the "Geospatial Object Oriented Data Abstraction Library" (GOODAL) to make the right sound obvious, but I was too lazy to type GOODAL all the time, so I dropped the OO part. Some folks might say I dropped it from more than the name. :-)

Most folks pronounce the library "gee-dal" which is ok too but not my preference.

FWIW, I find the "goodle" pronunciation gets misheard more often than not, and use the one that spontaneously comes to mind from the spelling.

Edit: As Ragi pointed out in the comments, Frank himself switched away from his original pronunciation during the time he was working at Google. Personally, I've heard people close to the project use the "goodle" pronunciation.

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    Actually, Frank started pronouncing it "G-DAHL" since he started working at Google. Every time he said GOODAL, people inside Google thought he said "Google" and so he had to make a stronger distinction. Even though he has moved on from Google, I still hear him say "G-DAHL" every time I see him at the GeoMeetup :) Commented Sep 24, 2013 at 17:50
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    proof from FOSS4G :) youtube.com/watch?v=D0DHD4RfwC4#t=84 Commented Sep 24, 2013 at 18:03
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    He has made a wrong name choice. First, he chooses a name that sounds Just like google and second he excludes the "O"s and still call it goodal. Commented Sep 26, 2013 at 23:39
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    @ArditSulce, excepting that "goodal" is older than google. ;-) Commented Sep 28, 2013 at 6:35

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