G I S Software

Brian Anderson



Geographic Information Systems is a way to access and manipulate spatial data. GIS is used to analyze and map the world around us using a computer. Statistical data and maps are combined to show information the user needs to make analysis. The user can query the system to combine different date and show the relationship. GIS can manipulate the data and overlay the information to show a variety of relationships. GIS is based on vector x,y coordinate data such as line and polygons, and raster that uses pixels to store and show the information.

Geographic Information Systems are the wave of the future. With a GIS system companies can drastically change the way they do business, and many companies are. When GIS was first introduced the cost and lack of application knowledge was the major drawback companies had with implementing a GIS system. Geographic Information Systems software is becoming more available and at a lower cost than a few years age. More companies are starting to make software that will enhance the already existing GIS systems made by the GIS giants like ESRI. Still one of the draw backs with some of the systems is necessary to have skilled operators who know the system languages. Some of the aftermarket software companies are helping to change this by making software that is easier to use and manipulate. Companies are also starting to build GIS systems that are economical to suit special applications. GIS data bases come in a variety of different forms to fit the needs of the users. Different forms include the original UNIX based Macintosh format, the more recent Windows applications, and AutoCad systems are being used for particular applications.

On this World Wide Web page I will describe some of the different companies and software systems that are available to customers interested in finding a GIS system. Each application for GIS is different. Some companies need a large data base product that will do a number of different manipulations to the data. Other companies may only need a specialized system to do only one type of application. There is GIS software out that can satisfy most every application need people may have.





Environmental Systems Research Institute, Inc. ESRI.

ESRI makes some of the most used GIS software. The ESRI company has software packages to fit most users needs. Arc/Info, Arc View, ArcCad, and Atlas GIS are all made by ESRI along with a number of other packages for business uses. One of the most used GIS platforms is Arc/Info. Arc/Info is now available for DOS formatted Window, along with the Macintosh systems.

Products offered by ESRI:

Arc/Info and PC Arc/Info are full service GIS systems with a wide variety of application use. Optional software to enhance Arc/Info are available. Options are Arc Grid for spatial modeling. Arc Tin for Terrain analysis. Arc Scan for raster input scanning. Arc Storm for better data management. Arc Press for the production side of Arc/Info. Arc COGO for parcel mapping.

Arc View is a software package for computer mapping and GIS. Arc View is useful for combining GIS data with visual mapping. The additional software options are Arc View Network, Arc View Spatial Analysis, Arc View Internet Map Server, and MarketPac-Express.

ESRI offers a Spatial Database Engine that is a high power system for managing GIS data using DBMS server technology.

Map Object is a collection of GIS and mapping Tools. This is used to enhance mapping and analysis applications. Map Object comes in two other forms to best fit company needs. Map Object Internet Map Server stretches the use to maps on the Internet. Map Object LT is the lower cost model for people who do not need all of the functions or are on a more limited budget.

Arc Cad gives the user all of the use of GIS in a Auto Cad environment. Arc Cad can access, create and exchange Arc/Info data. The application specializes in state, local and government use.

Business Maps is a Windows based application for desktop mapping program. This software is geared to a marketing and sales oriented use.

Atlas GIS is for mapping business data. The software is set us for use with SQL and other popular business oriented databases.

The Data Animation Kit are tools used for desktop editing, and converting geographic database access for the PC Arc/Info.

Link to ESRI home page: http://www.ESRI.com/

Caliper Cooperation.

Caliper Cooperation has developed Maptitude, TransCad, and GISDK. Caliper Corp is a leading company in the development of transportation based software. Three software applications are available from Caliper, each application was developed for a different need and use. The software available is for business specific use and not for the academic environment.

GIS+ is a GIS system designed for according to Caliper for a "professional" GIS user. GIS+ has tools for creation, validation, and maintenance of Geographic databases. The spatial analysis tools in the system are buffer analysis, geocodeing, and polygon processing. The software is available for Windows and WindowsNT.

Maptitude brings paper maps to the computer for better understanding and analysis the demographics, economic, and customer data.

TransCAD is for transportation GIS use. TransCAD will manage, store, display,and analyze transportation data. It is deigned top meet the needs of the transportation professionals.

Link to Caliper Cooperation home page: http://www.caliper.com/default.html


ERDAS offers the Imagine line of software for imaging GIS. The Imagine software is widely used for manipulating satellite imagery. Combining the remote Sensing and GIS technology of Imagine a powerful tool for data manipulation is obtained. Using satellites imagery a user can create valuable information tools. With the Imagine module you can create layers of data over images to achieve a map that will show your project in detail. The information can be manipulated to show wide areas or get as close to show the city block you live on. The applications for Imagine GIS are wide open. Imagine is used in a variety of multi-discipline fields. With the added use of satellite images available from satellites a new area of presenting your information is available. Imagine is used extensively in the academic world, and government. Imagine is offered in two setups with a number of add-on modules available.

Imagine Vista is the core for the Imagine module. This includes tools for visual analysis of data. Vista allows the use of Arc/Info data. This system is set up for basic Imagine GIS and map production.

Imagine Production is a more extensive GIS product. The Production module includes the Imagine Vista module and allows for more analysis of geodata.

Examples of add-ons' available to compliment the Imagine modules.

Imagine Vector Query Module offers a line-based vector (x,y coordinate) for analysis of geographic attributes of study areas. This add-on can be modified to fit individual use and analysis.

Imagine Vector Module includes the Query module and expands its capabilities with more analysis of vector information.

Imagine Virtual GIS has real-time fly-through along with GIS analysis.

Other add-ons' to enhance the product include Imagine Radar Module,Imagine Ortho MAX, Imagine Image Catalog, Imagine Restoration, Imagine Developers' Toolkit, Imagine GeoPrecision, and Imagine Auto Warp.


Intergraph Corporation

Intergraph designs open GIS and mapping programs. They have a wide variety of software for different applications. Open systems means better comparability with other PC systems. The software is able to use information out of different programs that are used.


Auto Desk by ARGUS

Auto desk Map Guide is for internet maps, for windows. Multi layer vector based maps for analysis. Clickable screens and zoom in capability.

Autodesk is by ARGUS


Urban Information Systems

Urban Information systems uses Arc View data tools to do more with vector data. USI is an ESRI development partner. Tools make raster data easier to use in Arc View.

Total Alignment System TAS is a low cost software to bring raster date into your work. It allows images and other bit maps to be used in Arc View. Offers tools for image scaling, georeferencing, and location analysis. can be used directly inside Arc View.



Diba Consulting Software Engineers DCSE company has six software programs offered for GIS use.

Delaware Arc View based for demographic and land use analysis. This can be used to define land use boundaries.

PIPEbase was built for pipeline design, construction, operation, and maintain. Uses Arc/Info to analyze data. Has tools available for monitoring existing pipelines and planning new projects

Time Series Data Management for use with ORACLE and SQL business languages. Designed for spatial data in numeric and character form. Utilizes Arc View tables and views.

DBView is a GUI for retrieval of geographic information. This incorporates Arc View to use ORACLE stored data. Can retrieve data from Mapview.

DBHydroused for hydrologic and environmental data. Used to develop systems to manage and monitor water resource data. Uses ORACLE and MSWindows. Has Arc/info style to help manage data.

DBInterface is an ORACLE data base retrieval system. It can change data into text files that can be used in other systems.


SST Site-Specific Technology Development for agriculture bases applications.Uses GIS to produce agricultural specific software for Arc View agricultural applications. Has site specific tools for different agricultural needs using Arc View as a platform.


Rapid Imaging Software Inc.

RIS Rapid Imaging Software offers plug-in graphic software for multimedia application. RIS is concerned with helping to developing tools to help us better understand the natural world. RIS offers real time GIS for as low as $95. The software can build fly-through, and VRML models. The information data base comes from USGS models and images.

Tools to overlay topographic data over images. Products offered are in the Landforms series all have 3D capability with different amounts of tools. A free product review is offered at the web site. RIS is Windows based.


CarteGraph Systems

CarteGraph Systems Asset Management GIS.Data collection and inventory analysis. PC based


Smallworld software for utility applications and telecommunications. Totally new system not based on existing platforms. Easier to use cost effective. used for data query and management.


NAC Geographic Products Inc.

NAC Geographic Products Inc.

NACGIS version 2.0 is a free test program for editing.




Northwoods Vertical Mapper. Uses and works in Map/Info for larger work areas and data. Grid surface for analysis of multi layers of maps. Many applications in different ares useful to GIS.

enhances query analysis.



Telcontar is for map manipulation and data storage.


Woolleysoft uses the developed the land use visualization software. Emphasis on the 3D capabilities.Visual Explorer software.

Digital Elevation model


IDRISI is nonprofit through Clark University. Raster based for both windows and Mac. Analysis and image processing



Geodyssey Limited of Canada. Hipparchus is an open GIS for easy manipulation of data. C and C++ language. Price ranges from $7500 to $25000 for multiple sites in company. $2500 $8750 for a single site license, if more needed price is one third license fee.


Blue Marble Geographics offers add-ons for existing GIS software.



CAD GIS solution and consulting. GEOGRAPHICS


This has been a brief overview of some of the companies that offer GIS software. I hope this has given an idea about what is out on the market and available for GIS use. This should be a starting block for further investigation into the software offered to fit individual company needs. Thank you for looking through this web page.



Links to a Variety of pages with GIS information or special interests.

These are some great sites for finding more information on the GIS software I have gone over and some other software I did not talk about.


This is a site containing GIS links at bottom and pricing from HDM. http://www.hdm.com/gis3l.htm

graphics and images locations for page

http://www.ist.net/clipart/uwa/iconsglb.html this has globes

http://hum.amu.edu.pl/~zbzw/glob/glob1.htm nothing but globes

http://www.ist.net/clipart/uwa/bkgs/bkg_menu.html clip art

By Brian E Anderson. April 20, 1997.