10 Best Free GIS Software in 2019

Michael Gigante
Michael Gigante  |  May 22, 2019

A geographical information system (GIS) is a dynamic software that allows users to translate geographical data into clear and concise visual data. Businesses from all sectors can benefit from GIS software. It provides valuable data on land management, logistics routing, demographic analysis, engineering design, facility management and much more.

When businesses collect data from a GIS, they can use it for GIS mapping, spatial analysis, and geocoding to observe patterns and trends to solve problems and improve their business processes.

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Best free GIS software tools in 2019

While research shows that implementing a GIS software results in profitable ROI, the startup costs can be quite hefty.

This is why we compiled a list of the best free GIS tools. For businesses that are on a tight budget or simply looking to test the waters before committing, here’s a list of the best free GIS software.

These products have more than 130 validated user reviews on G2 as of April 19, 2019. They only represent a small portion of the more than 200 GIS offerings listed on our platform. Whenever possible, the products are ranked by user satisfaction score from an in-depth analysis of the best free GIS software.

The list we’ve outlined below includes our top GIS software with free offerings. They may only support one user or one project, but they’re truly free offerings. Scaling, however, will often require full investment.

For each product we provide:

  • An overview
  • Highlighted features
  • Free option details

For products with G2 verified user reviews, we have included:

  • G2 star rating
  • Reviews highlighting what users like and dislike
  • User recommendations for these considering the product

Product reviews and G2 star ratings were updated as of April 19, 2019.


1. QGIS

 

QGIS logo-1

Product Name: QGIS
G2 Star Rating: 4.4 out of 5.0 stars
Total Number of Reviews: 77

 

Overview

QGIS is a free and open-source GIS software that offers a variety of functions such as map production, geospatial analysis and extensive cartographic features. Some use cases that customers are utilizing QGIS for include terrain analysis, disaster risk reduction, and environmental resource mapping.

QGIS Mapping tools                                                                         Image courtesy of QGIS

Free option

  • Completely free, open-source GIS software. Visit the website for a free software download.

Features

  • Data capture
  • Overlaying
  • Spatial analysis
  • Create, edit, manage and export data
Is QGIS right for you?  Read Reviews Now, FREE →

2. OpenStreetMap

 

OpenStreetMap logo

Product Name: OpenStreetMap
G2 Crowd Star Rating: 3.8 out of 5.0 stars
Total Number of Reviews: 16

 

Overview

OpenStreetMap is a free and open-source GIS software, built by a community of mappers. Its developers continually update the software with data about roads, trails, railway stations and other points of interest all over the world.

OpenStreetMap open source GIS                                                            Image courtesy of OpenStreetMap 

Free option

  • Completely free, open-source GIS software. Visit the website for a free software download.

Features

  • Geocoding
  • Data manipulation
  • Spatial analysis
  • Overlaying
Read OpenStreetMap user reviews, FREE →

3. GRASS

GRASS GIS logoProduct Name: GRASS
G2 Star Rating: 4.2 out of 5.0 stars
Total Number of Reviews: 12 

 

Overview

GRASS is a free and open-source GIS package that provides tools and programs for data management, image processing, graphic production, spatial modeling, and visualization of GIS data. Users looking for software that specializes in terrain manipulation should consider GRASS as a top option.

Mailchimp Workflow Management                                                                                             Image courtesy of GRASS

Free option

  • Completely free, open-source GIS software. Visit the website for a free software download.

Features

  • Image processing
  • Raster analysis
  • Vector analysis
  • Geocoding 
Is Grass right for you?  Read Reviews Now, FREE →

4. SAGA GIS

 

SAGA GIS-1

Product Name: SAGA GIS
G2 Star Rating: 4.0 out of 5.0 stars
Total Number of Reviews: 15



Overview

SAGA is a free and open-source GIS software that specializes in automated geoscientific analysis. SAGA has an intuitive graphical user interface (GUI) that lets users manage and visualize geographic data with graphs, histograms and maps. 

SAGA GIS Mapping tools                                                                                      Image courtesy of Saga GIS

Free option

  • Completely free, open-source GIS software. Visit the website for a free software download.

Features

  • GUI for intuitive data management, analysis and visualization
  • Modular structure allows framework-independent function development
  • Object-oriented system design
  • Georeferencing and cartographic projections
Read SAGA GIS user reviews, FREE →

5. uDig

udig logoProduct NameuD ig
G2 Star Rating: 5.0 out of 5.0 stars
Total Number of Reviews: 1

 

Overview

uDig is a free and open-source (EPL and BSD) desktop application framework, built with Eclipse Rich Client (RCP) technology. The software aims to provide users with a framework to build complex analytic data. uDig can be used as a standalone application or extended with RCP plugins.

uDig Mapping tools                                                                     Image courtesy of uDig

Free option

  • Completely free, open-source GIS software. Visit the website for a free software download.

Features

  • Drag-and-drop interface
  • Editing tools
  • Import basemaps
  • Vector operations
Read uDig user reviews, FREE →

6. Whitebox GAT

WhiteboxGATLogoProduct NameWhitebox GAT
G2 Star Rating: 5.0 out of 5.0 stars
Total Number of Reviews: 2

 

Overview

Whitebox GAT is a free GIS software providing a platform for advanced geospatial data analysis. It has applications in both environmental research and the geomatics industry. One of the key ways Whitebox GAT excels is its Light Detection and Ranging data (LIDAR). LIDAR data lets users examine both natural and manmade environments with more accuracy. Whitebox GAT also provides functionality for storm surge modeling, hydrodynamic modeling, and shoreline mapping.

Whitebox GAT mapping tools                                                                                        Image courtesy of Whitebox Gat

Free option

  • Completely free, open-source GIS software. Visit the website for a free software download.

Features

  • LIDAR data
  • Hydrology tools
  • GIS tools
  • Image processing tools
Is Whitebox GAT right for you?  Read Reviews Now, FREE →

7. BatchGeo

Batchgeo logoProduct Name: BatchGeo
G2 Star Rating: 4.1 out of 5.0 stars
Total Number of Reviews: 4

 

Overview

BatchGeo is a free service that allows anyone to create a map. The software aims to be totally intuitive for anyone regardless of experience level. With BatchGeo, you can view your locations on a map, filter based off other data in your spreadsheet and analyze the data within your map.

BatchGeo map data                                                                                             Image courtesy of BatchGeo

Free 14-day trial option

  • Basic mapping capabilities with map creation, map open data and data mapping.

Features

  • Map creation
  • Map open data
  • Embed maps
  • Data mapping
Is BatchGeo right for you?  Read Reviews Now, FREE →

8. gvSIG

gvSIG logoProduct NamegvSIG
G2 Star Rating: 4.0 out of 5.0 stars
Total number of reviews: 2

 

Overview

gvSIG is a free and open-source software that hosts the largest professional network of open-source geomatics. With its easy-to-use interface, users can create layouts and access geoprocessing networks. gvSIG also excels in its 3D visualization and animation, which enable users to view all layer types in 3D vector and raster layers.

gvSIG mapping data                                                                                      Image courtesy of GVSIG

Free option

  • Completely free, open-source GIS software. Visit the website for a free software download.

Features

  • Raster and remote sensing
  • Topology
  • Vector representation
  • 3D and animation
Read gvSIG user reviews, FREE →

9.OrbisGIS

orbisgis logoProduct NameOrbisGIS
G2 Star Rating: 3.5 out of 5.0 stars
Total number of reviews: 1

  

Overview

OrbisGIS is a free open-source geographic information system. It contains features that allow for the management and sharing of spatial data, as well as vector and raster data models.

OrbisGIS mapping tools                                                                                      Image courtesy of OrbisGIS

Free option

  • Completely free, open-source GIS software. Visit the website for a free software download.

Features

  • OSGI platform
  • Cartographic tools
  • Vector and raster data models
Browse OrbisSIG user reviews →

10. OpenJump

OpenJump logo-1Product NameOpenJump
G2 Star Rating: 3.0 out of 5.0 stars
Total number of reviews: 1



Overview

OpenJump is a free and open-source GIS written in Java. OpenJump can read and write shapefiles, interpret vector formats and read from several spatial databases. One of the other key features is the ability to edit geometry. Users can then analyze buffers, overlays and other vector data.

OpenJump mapping tools                                                                                      Image courtesy of OpenJump

Free option

  • Completely free, open-source GIS software. Visit the website for a free software download.

Features

  • Layer editing
  • Chart data
  • Geometry data
Read OpenJump user reviews, FREE →
 *Please note: Reviews have been edited for spelling, grammar and clarity.

Next steps for selecting best free GIS software

Determining your business needs will lead you to the right fit. Some businesses need GIS software that prioritizes topographical analysis, while others need simple demographic analysis and mapping capabilities.

From customer segmentation to facilities management, the use cases for a GIS are endless. Free GIS software gives you a taste of what paid software can do. This will help you determine if taking the next step is worth it.


Ready to learn more? Check out our article on what is GIS in order to learn about all the ways that GIS can improve your business. 

Michael Gigante
Author

Michael Gigante

Mike is a market research analyst focusing on CAD, PLM, and supply chain software. Since joining G2 in October 2018, Mike has grounded his work in the industrial and architectural design space by gaining market knowledge in building information modeling, computer-aided engineering and manufacturing, and product and machine design. Mike leverages his knowledge of the CAD market to accurately represent the space for buyers, build out new software categories on G2, and provide consumers with data-driven content and research. Mike is a Chicago native. In his spare time he enjoys going to improv shows, watching sports, and reading Wikipedia pages on virtually any subject.