GIS software

Below is a list of most widely GIS tools. Most of the them are open source, exceptions are marked accordingly. The first link for each software is the link to the software's main home page. Software installed to Puhti or included in CSC software consortium are provided with an extra link to our software specific page, with additional information about the software.

Desktop GIS-software is used for analyzing and visualizing spatial data on a local PC or laptop. They have a GUI (graphical user interface) for easy working. If looking for software with Finnish user interface, ArcGIS Pro, QGIS and MapInfo are the main options.

Web Server-software is used for providing spatial data according to OGC standard web service standards: WMS, WMTS WFS, WCS. They can do also spatial analysis, if supporting the WPS standard.

Web Client-software, for making web maps usually some JavaScript library is used. The web client is usually backed by a web server.

  • OpenLayers . More features.
  • Leaflet . Lighter and faster.
  • Google Maps API . Commercial.
  • Oskari, the code behind NLS Karttaikkuna, developed mostly by Finnish Land Survey. Based on OpenLayers.

Database-software, for storing bigger amounts of data, mostly used with vector data.

Libraries, for specific or lower level tasks.

Scripting, for automating 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.

  • R CRAN spatial view, is originally specialized on general statistical analysis of data, but it has also a lot of packages for spatial analysis and statistics. R spatial in Puhti.
  • Python, a general use programming language, which is widely used also for Python for GIS purposes. Geoconda in Puhti.
  • Shell, several software packages provide also command line interface (CLI), that 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 -
GRASS rgrass7 GRASS GIS Python libraries GRASS CLI
LasTools (something in uavRst) - Yes
OrfeoToolBox (link2GI) OTB Python API OTB CLI
SagaGIS Rsagacmd, RSAGA SAGA GIS API for Python SagaGIS CLI
SNAP - snappy GPT
Zonation - - Yes
PostGIS (sf) (GeoAlchemy2) psql
GDAL sf, raster, sp, rgdal, gdalUtils fiona, shapely, geopandas, rasterio, GDAL GDAL CLI
OpenDroneMap     Yes
PDAL - PDAL with Python Yes
FORCE - - Yes
GPSBabel readGPS gpsbabel Yes
WhiteboxTools whiteboxR WhiteboxTools with Python Yes


Even longer GIS-software lists are available in awesome-gis GIS software list and Awesome-Geospatial GIS software list listings.

GIS-software for parallel computing

If the intention is to analyze big amounts of data, the best option for speeding things up is to use parallel computing, and then it is well worth choosing your tools right. Only some GIS software packages support parallel computing out-of-the box (meaning that the software use only one core for computations). From the available software in Puhti, the following ones have some kind of support for parallel computing: R in Puhti, Python in Puhti, FORCE in Puhti, LasTools in Puhti, OpenDroneMap in Puhti, OrfeoToolBox in Puhti, SagaGIS in Puhti, SNAP in Puhtiand WhiteboxTools in Puhti, the details are given on each software's own page.

Most server kind of software support parallel computing, including GeoServer and PostGIS. These can be set up to cPouta.

Also both ArcMap with multiple cpus and especially ArcGIS Pro with multiple cpus have functions that can run in parallel.

See also geocomputing page for additional information about analyzing big spatial datasets.