The first commercial GIS software was released in the mid-1980s. Its functions included basic mapping and analysis. It was developed by Howard T. Fisher, and later released as an open-source software. The advent of Microsoft Windows and more powerful computers prompted the development of other GIS software, and the U.S. Census in 1990 raised awareness of the utility of geographic data.
Today, GIS software is designed to perform geospatial analysis, edit maps, and create reports. It is used in various fields, including engineering, management, transportation/logistics, and agricultural practices. Some examples are described below. The benefits of using a GIS program are numerous and varied.
One of the best open-source GIS software examples is Whitebox GAT. It features a flexible and interactive user interface for spatial data analysis. It also allows multiple windows to display analysis. It has powerful geospatial tools, including the SAGA topographic wetness index and topographic position classification. This GIS software is the most powerful open-source GIS software available. It also features LIDAR data and advanced geoprocessing tools.
Another open-source GIS software example is MapWindow. It was originally a proprietary GIS program until 2000, when it was released as a free open-source software. The latest version, called MapWindow 5, packs quite a punch. It performs 90% of the tasks a GIS user would need. It also has TauDEM for automatic watershed delineation, HydroDesktop for data discovery, and DotSpatial for GIS programmers. In addition, MapWindow also has an extensible plugin architecture.