Open Source GIS History

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Software projects

1980s: MOSS Map Overlay and Statistical System. A pioneer vector-based geographic information system (GIS) developed by the U.S. Department of Interior (software URL)

since 1982-today: GRASS (Geographical Resources Analysis Support System) is the earliest Open Source GIS which reached production status and supported both raster and vector data. It was originally developed from 1982 to 1995 by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, since then by the international GRASS Development Team. Initially published as public domain software, its license was changed to GNU GPL (General Public License, see in 1999.

1990s: A series of desktop and server Open Source GIS projects were started:

  • geospatial libraries: PROJ4, GDAL/OGR, GEOS, Geotools, Geoserver, TerraLib
  • Desktop GIS: Quantum GIS, SAGA GIS, uDIG, gvSIG, ILWIS, GRASS continued
  • Web mapping/WebGIS: Mapserver, MapGuide Open Source, deegree
  • spatial SQL databases: PostGIS
  • geostatistics software: gstat, R Project for Statistical Computing
  • metadata catalogs: Geonetwork opensource


1992: "Open GRASS Foundation" (OGF)

1994: OGF was re-structured as the Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC)

2006: Open Source Geospatial Foundation ( established whose mission is to support and promote the collaborative development of open geospatial technologies, data and educational material.

See also