GIS software

Here you can find a collection of GIS tools that are used most widely. Unless marked otherwise, most of the tools are open-source. The first link for each tool leads you to its homepage. If software is installed on Puhti or included in our software consortium, there is an extra link to read more about it on our software-specific pages.

Desktop GIS software

This type of software is used for analyzing and visualizing spatial data on a local PC or laptop. It has a GUI (graphical user interface) for easy use. If you are looking for a user interface in Finnish, ArcGIS Pro, QGIS and MapInfo are your main options.

Software for general use

Software for specific use

Web server software

This type of software is used for providing spatial data according to Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC) web service standards (WMS, WMTS, WFS, and WCS). It can also perform spatial analysis, if the Web Processing Service (WPS) interface standard is supported.

Web client software

Web client software is meant for making web maps, usually using a JavaScript library. The web client is usually backed by a web server.

Database software

Database software is useful for storing large amounts of data (specifically vector data).


Various libraries are useful for specific or lower-level tasks.


Scripting helps to automate analysis. Both R and Python have their own GIS-specific packages. Additionally, they have packages for accessing some other GIS-software functionality. For details see the table below.

  • RCRAN spatial view was originally meant for general statistical analysis of data, but now also has a lot of packages for spatial analysis and statistics. R in Puhti.
  • Python is a general-use programming language, which is widely used also for Python for spatial data analysis. Python in Puhti.
  • Shell has several software packages that provide a command line interface (CLI), which can be used for automating processes with shell scripts. Additionally, both R and Python support running CLI commands from the script.
Software R Python CLI
ArcGIS R – ArcGIS Community ArcPy, ArcGIS API for Python -
CloudCompare - CloudComPy Yes
FORCE - - Yes
GDAL - - Yes
GPSBabel readGPS gpsbabel Yes
GRASS rgrass GRASS GIS Python libraries GRASS CLI
LasTools - - Yes
OpenDroneMap - - Yes
OrfeoToolBox - OTB Python API OTB CLI
PCL - pclpy, python-pcl, but both without proper maintenance Yes
PDAL - pdal Yes
PostGIS - - psql
QGIS qgisprocess PyQGIS qgis_process
SagaGIS Rsagacmd PySAGA SagaGIS CLI
SNAP - snappy, snapista GPT
Zonation - - Yes
WhiteboxTools whiteboxR WhiteboxTools Yes


Larger collections of GIS software are available on awesome-gis and Awesome-Geospatial lists.

GIS software for parallel computing

If you need to analyze large amounts of data, the best option for speeding the process up is to use parallel computing. Only some of the GIS software packages support parallel computing out-of-the-box (meaning that software can use several cores for computations right away).

The following software that is available on Puhti supports parallel computing to some degree:

Most of the server-type software, such as GeoServer and PostGIS, supports parallel computing. GeoServer and PostGIS can be set up on cPouta. Also, ArcGIS Pro has several functions that can run in parallel with multiple CPUs.

For additional information about analyzing big spatial datasets, see our geocomputing page.