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What is Geographic Information Systems - GIS?

Geographic Information System (GIS) software is designed to analyze, display, manage, store, and retrieve all kinds of spatial and geographic data. The system enables you to produce maps and graphs of geographic info for presentation and analysis. This makes it a useful application to visualize spatial data and to create decision support solutions that your organization can utilize. GIS software is leveraged in a wide range of industries including insurance, manufacturing, banking, supply chain, retail, real estate, media, and entertainment. For instance, retail businesses use this system to find the best locations for their outlets. Start by checking our leader ArcGIS, and other recommended solutions in this category.

Geographic Information Systems - GIS

Top 12 Most Popular Geographic Information Systems - GIS

ArcGIS reviews
1.
ArcGIS

Our Score 9.6

User Satisfaction 99%

A powerful mapping and analytic platform designed for exploring information and sharing location-based insights. Read Reviews

Mapbox reviews
2.
Mapbox

Our Score 9.5

User Satisfaction 98%

Mapbox is a powerful location data solution created for developers. Read Reviews

TerraSync reviews
3.
TerraSync

Our Score 9.4

User Satisfaction 87%

Trimble TerraSysnc is a simple, reliable, and productive platform crafted for fast and efficient GIS data collection and maintenance. Read Reviews

MapInfo Pro reviews
4.
MapInfo Pro

Our Score 9.2

User Satisfaction 100%

MapInfo Pro is a powerful, simple, and faster desktop GIS software designed for business analysts and GIS engineers. Read Reviews

QGIS reviews
5.
QGIS

Our Score 9.0

User Satisfaction 99%

QGIS is a cross-platform, user-friendly open source geographic information system designed for viewing, editing, and analyzing geospatial data. Read Reviews

CARTO reviews
6.
CARTO

Our Score 8.9

User Satisfaction 94%

Open source platform with powerful location intelligence and analysis capabilities for businesses analysts, data scientists as well as the individual users. Read Reviews

GRASS GIS reviews
7.
GRASS GIS

Our Score 8.9

User Satisfaction 97%

Open-source and free GIS software with 350+ modules for geospatial analysis and data management, maps and graphics production, image processing, and more. Read Reviews

FME Hub reviews
8.
FME Hub

Our Score 8.8

User Satisfaction 100%

Online community for accessing and sharing FME tools, including custom transformers, web connections, workspace templates, customer format readers/writers. Read Reviews

MapViewer reviews
9.
MapViewer

Our Score 8.7

User Satisfaction 100%

Thematic mapping and spatial analysis software for creating publication-quality maps and distinguishing trends and patterns in the data. Read Reviews

Bentley Map reviews
10.
Bentley Map

Our Score 8.6

User Satisfaction

A GIS and mapping software for the desktop with enhanced interoperability. Read Reviews

GeoExpress reviews
11.
GeoExpress

Our Score 7.2

User Satisfaction 100%

GeoExpress is a reliable geospatial solution designed by LizardTech Read Reviews

Simple GIS Client reviews
12.
Simple GIS Client

Our Score 6.0

User Satisfaction 75%

An unpretentious yet feature-rich and powerful application designed by Simple GIS Software, LLC. Read Reviews

How To Choose The Best GIS Software

GIS software helps to visualize spatial and geographic data and enables you to create easy-to-understand charts and graphs. Therefore, it finds use in a wide range of industries. However, it can be confusing to select the best GIS software for your specific business needs from the plethora of desktop and cloud-based applications out there. We help you do knowledgeable comparisons and make the right selection by giving you pointers on the key features and benefits to look for.

Get to know each product with free trial

The best GIS software vendors offer a free trial to enable you to get acquainted with the software’s tools and find out if they match your needs. Therefore, do your homework and shortlist suitable solutions in this category. On our part, we recommend you try out ArcGIS, SuperGIS Desktop, Simple GIS Client, Bentley Map, and Maptitude.

Targeted Businesses

GIS software is used by government agencies, businesses in many industries, land use planners, health organizations, environmental scientists, research institutions, communities, indigenous people, and others.

Examples of GIS Software

  1. ArcGIS: A cloud-based mapping solution. It offers robust yet simple online mapping tools that can be utilized even by lay users to create and share attractive maps. Besides maps, you can also use ArcGIS Online for collaboration, administration, and analytics. On top of that, this platform offers unique capabilities for using location-based analysis to improve your business.
  2. SuperGIS Desktop: A robust desktop GIS software that gives you the capabilities to analyze, visualize, manage, and edit geographic data. Then, you can exhibit the results on progressional-quality maps. It is easy to customize the application’s various functions for your needs. Plus, the platform supports various data types and offers sophisticated data processing tools.
  3. Simple GIS Client: A feature-packed GIS software platform that runs on MS Windows. Besides desktop, it is lightweight enough to be used on Windows tablets and laptops for tasks such as trip planning and field data collection. This app is recommended for editing and viewing shapefiles as it supports multi-user write and read access to shapefiles. The vendor offers a 30-day free trial.
  4. Bentley Map: 2D/3D desktop mapping and GIS software. You can create, maintain, share, and analyze your business, engineering, and geospatial data in a MicroStation environment. Offers a flexible yet strong application program interface (API) to help you build custom GIS applications. Use the mobile app to enhance the productivity of your field staff.
  5. Maptitude: A mapping software product from Caliper Corporation that allows you to view, integrate, and edit maps. It is an easy-to-use package that helps you enjoy the benefits of spatial analysis and desktop mapping. Maptitude tells you where your consumers are and find out where sales are maximum. On top of that, you can discover hidden opportunities and get answers to geographic questions that affect your operations.

Types of GIS Software

GIS software tools can be classified into the following types:

  • Open source GIS
  • Web GIS
  • Desktop GIS
  • CAD GIS
  • Business mapping
  • GIS complements
  • Mobile GIS
  • General purpose GIS

Key Features of GIS Software

Routing tools

These give the ability to design accurate stops and to manage, compare, and manipulate routes.

Territory tools

Businesses need territory creation tools that help to handle data tables and to visually represent and manipulate service areas.

Reports

Top GIS software applications enable you to intuitively and quickly create top quality reports in PDF and MS Excel file formats.

Interoperability

Quality GIS platforms support the most recent data standards and a range of file formats including those for MS Excel, MS MapPoint, and Google Maps.

Data

On top of that, they provide new data sets for different countries with access to the latest available geographic information.

Logistics and Operations

A distance and drive-time feature that creates an Excel table that shows the costs of travel between any numbers of locations. You can quickly find out the nearest and backup locations ranked by distance or travel time.

Location analysis

This technique is used identify ideal locations for new retail outlets.  

Benefits of GIS Software

  1. Decision making is improved because you get detailed as well as specific information about locations.
  2. You can increase efficiency and reduce expenses especially regarding scheduling timetables, fleet movements, and maintenance schedules.
  3. The visual format is easy to understand which helps to enhance communication between involved departments or organizations.
  4. GIS software enables effortless recordkeeping as it easily records geographical changes.
  5. Helps in geographic management as you can get to know what is happening in a geographic location and space, and use it to plan actions.
  6. Cloud GIS software solutions facilitate instantaneous collaboration.
  7. Offers enhanced transparency for citizen engagement.
  8. Enables identification of underserved and at-risk populations in a community.
  9. Helps in planning and allocation of resources.
  10. Improves management of natural resources.
  11. Enhances communication during a crisis.
  12. Finally, GIS software can be used to plan for the impact of demographic changes in a community.

Latest Trends

Location as a Service

In the past, GIS was mostly used by oil and gas, utilities, telecommunications, and government sectors. This is changing and today tech companies and large retailers are enjoying the benefits of understanding and using geospatial data. The basics of GIS and its uses have improved significantly. Now, it is the age of services-based GIS. GIS professionals are connecting directly with consumers using web-based platforms that offer visualizations that are easy to access and understand.

Sophisticated Analytics

Businesses that place importance on location can benefit from spatial analysis. For example, geospatial analysis is useful for site selection. Retailers that want to launch new stores need information on hospitable demographics as well as on similar ventures that have proved to be successful. This information can be loaded on a map in order to do statistical analysis which can help to make decisions about the locations of new stores. Maps are easy to understand and GIS professionals can use web-based services to create charts, graphs, and maps, and effortlessly perform analytics.

Potential Issues

A recent survey by GIS Professional throws light on the issues faced by users of GIS software. In the survey, 32% identified data accuracy and 31% named efficient data management as main challenges. In addition, 12% named open source and open data as both a trend and a challenge. 8% named location privacy as an issue to be wary about.

The respondents also identified two other concerns: the high cost of proprietary software solutions and the use of GIS by people who do not have proper understanding of the technology. The availability of open source data and software is creating new users who understand the advantages of GIS, but lack the knowledge to use the system properly. This lay user group opens up a new market for GIS software vendors. However, these providers need to compete with free open source GIS alternatives that are preferred by companies that wish to reduce costs.

List of Geographic Information Systems - GIS Software Companies

Updated

Selected products (0)

1.
ArcGIS

Our Score 9.6

User Satisfaction 99%

A powerful mapping and analytic platform designed for exploring information and sharing location-based insights. Read Reviews

  • Pricing: by quote
  • Devices Supported: Windows, Mac, Web-based
  • Pricing Model: Quote-based
  • Customer Types: Small Business, Large Enterprises, Medium Business
  • Deployment: Cloud Hosted

2.
Mapbox

Our Score 9.5

User Satisfaction 98%

Mapbox is a powerful location data solution created for developers. Read Reviews

  • Pricing: $0.50
  • Devices Supported: Windows, Android, iPhone/iPad, Mac, Web-based
  • Pricing Model: Free, Monthly payment
  • Customer Types: Small Business, Large Enterprises, Medium Business
  • Deployment: Cloud Hosted

3.
TerraSync

Our Score 9.4

User Satisfaction 87%

Trimble TerraSysnc is a simple, reliable, and productive platform crafted for fast and efficient GIS data collection and maintenance. Read Reviews

  • Pricing: by quote
  • Devices Supported: Windows, Mac, Web-based
  • Pricing Model: Quote-based
  • Customer Types: Small Business, Large Enterprises, Medium Business
  • Deployment: Cloud Hosted

4.
MapInfo Pro

Our Score 9.2

User Satisfaction 100%

MapInfo Pro is a powerful, simple, and faster desktop GIS software designed for business analysts and GIS engineers. Read Reviews

  • Pricing: by quote
  • Devices Supported: Windows, Mac, Web-based
  • Pricing Model: Quote-based
  • Customer Types: Small Business, Large Enterprises, Medium Business
  • Deployment: Cloud Hosted

5.
QGIS

Our Score 9.0

User Satisfaction 99%

QGIS is a cross-platform, user-friendly open source geographic information system designed for viewing, editing, and analyzing geospatial data. Read Reviews

  • Pricing: by quote
  • Devices Supported: Linux, Android, iPhone/iPad, Mac, Web-based
  • Pricing Model: Quote-based
  • Customer Types: Small Business, Large Enterprises, Medium Business
  • Deployment: Cloud Hosted

6.
CARTO

Our Score 8.9

User Satisfaction 94%

Open source platform with powerful location intelligence and analysis capabilities for businesses analysts, data scientists as well as the individual users. Read Reviews

  • Pricing: $149
  • Devices Supported: Windows, Linux, Mac, Web-based
  • Pricing Model: Free, Monthly payment, Annual Subscription, Quote-based
  • Customer Types: Small Business, Large Enterprises, Medium Business, Freelancers
  • Deployment: Cloud Hosted, On Premise, Open API

7.
GRASS GIS

Our Score 8.9

User Satisfaction 97%

Open-source and free GIS software with 350+ modules for geospatial analysis and data management, maps and graphics production, image processing, and more. Read Reviews

  • Pricing: free
  • Devices Supported: Windows, Linux, Mac
  • Pricing Model: Free
  • Customer Types: Small Business, Medium Business, Freelancers
  • Deployment: On Premise

8.
FME Hub

Our Score 8.8

User Satisfaction 100%

Online community for accessing and sharing FME tools, including custom transformers, web connections, workspace templates, customer format readers/writers. Read Reviews

  • Pricing: free
  • Devices Supported: Windows, Linux, Mac, Web-based
  • Pricing Model: Free
  • Customer Types: Small Business, Medium Business, Freelancers
  • Deployment: Cloud Hosted

9.
MapViewer

Our Score 8.7

User Satisfaction 100%

Thematic mapping and spatial analysis software for creating publication-quality maps and distinguishing trends and patterns in the data. Read Reviews

  • Pricing: $459
  • Devices Supported: Windows
  • Pricing Model: One-time payment, Quote-based
  • Customer Types: Small Business, Medium Business, Freelancers
  • Deployment: On Premise

10.
Bentley Map

Our Score 8.6

User Satisfaction %

A GIS and mapping software for the desktop with enhanced interoperability. Read Reviews

  • Pricing: By quote
  • Devices Supported: Windows
  • Pricing Model: Quote-based
  • Customer Types: Small Business, Large Enterprises, Medium Business
  • Deployment: On Premise

Our Score Read More

Our review platform makes use of our innovative SmartScore™ mode to evaluate all the solutions in the Geographic Information Systems - GIS category in orded to help you select the best possible application. It compares and contrasts the following factors: core features, collaboration elements, custom elements, integration, intuitiveness, help & support, security, mobility, general media ratings. As of now, ArcGIS is the leader in this category and is recommended by our experts. Following thorough evaluation it got the best results among its competitors and our experts strongly suggest that you consider it as one of the alternatives for your needs.

User Satisfaction Read More

An overview of overall user satisfaction with the products in our Geographic Information Systems - GIS category based on our unique algorythm that finds user reviews, comments and opinions across a broad set of social media sites in order to help you make an educated investment decision.

99%

98%

87%

100%

99%

94%

97%

100%

100%

%

Pricing Read More

Each vendor in the Geographic Information Systems - GIS category will provide a different set of pricing packages for its product and every package will include a unique group of tools. Below we list the overal pricing for the most affordable plan provided for each product. Keep in mind that advanced features may cost extra.

by quote

$0.50

by quote

by quote

by quote

$149

free

free

$459

By quote

Devices Supported Read More

An overview of what kind of devices and operating systems are supported by all B2B services in the Geographic Information Systems - GIS category, including mobile platforms and web-based solutions.

Windows

Android

iPhone/iPad

Mac

Web-based

Laguages Supported Read More

Find out which languages and countries are served by the top B2B services in the Geographic Information Systems - GIS category, including spftware aimed at international markets and created for multi-cultural teams of employees.

Pricing Model Read More

Examine what pricing packages are provided by the vendors in the Geographic Information Systems - GIS category to check which one suits your business preferences and expenses best. Note that certain services can support free or freemium accounts for you to test first.

Free

Monthly payment

One-time payment

Annual Subscription

Quote-based

Customer Types Read More

A brief look at which kinds of companies a selected B2B software in the Geographic Information Systems - GIS category is designed for, from small businesses and non-profits to big enterprises.

Small Business

Large Enterprises

Medium Business

Freelancers

Deployment Read More

A summary of what types of product deployement are provided by every B2B vendor in the Geographic Information Systems - GIS category. Although the majority of modern SaaS services are cloud-hosted certain solutions might offer an on-site deployment model too.

Cloud Hosted

On Premise

Open API

Post by Alex Hillsberg