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This page copies the introduction paragraphs of the OSGeo Info Sheet at

Geospatial Data Abstraction Library (GDAL/OGR) is a cross platform C++ translator library for raster and vector geospatial data formats that is released under an X/MIT style Open Source license by the Open Source Geospatial Foundation. As a library, it presents a single abstract data model to the calling application for all supported formats. It also comes with a variety of useful commandline utilities for data translation and processing.

GDAL supports over 50 raster formats, and OGR over 20 vector formats.

It provides the primary data access engine for many applications including MapServer, GRASS, QGIS, and OpenEV. It is also utilized by packages such as OSSIM, Cadcorp SIS, FME, Google Earth, VTP, Thuban, ILWIS, MapGuide and ArcGIS. GDAL/OGR is the most widely used geospatial data access library.

Professional support options are available for commercial software developers desiring assistance integrating and extending GDAL, or dig in yourself and join the development team!