GIS software

There is a lot of different GIS software projects, below is a list of most widely used ones. 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 Taito 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 nice GUI (graphical user interface) for easy working. If looking for software with Finnish user interface, 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 analyzis, if supporting the WPS standards.

  • GeoServer, uses standard SLD style definitions and has a web interface for administration.
  • MapServer, has its own definition language, the settings are defined in a text file.

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. Esa Ojala has made guidelines in Finnish for making your first map.
  • 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 example ArcGIS, SagaGIS or GDAL, for details see the language specific pages.

  • R, 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 Taito.
  • Python, a general use programming language, which is widely used also for GIS purposes. GeoPython and GeoConda in Taito.
  • Shell, for automating processes from command line interface (GDAL, GRASS, SagaGIS) also shell scripts can be used.


GIS-software for parallel computing

If the intention is to do parallel spatial analysis, then it is well worth choosing your tools right. Only very few GIS software packages support parallel computing out-of-the box (meaning that using the software normally will make use of available computation cores). From the available software in Taito, the following ones have some kind of support for parallel computing: TauDEM, SagaGIS, R, Python, GRASS GIS and LasTools, 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 and ArcGIS Pro have some functions that can run in parallel. Please see our ArcGIS computing page for addinioal info.

In CyberGIS project some open source GIS software packages with support for parallel runs were developed. These have not been installed to Taito, but likely could be, if somebody would need them.


There are several GIS-oriented Hadoop or Spark extensions. The good side with these tools is that it is possible to analyze huge amounts of data, and fast. The down side is that they are rather complicated to set up and to learn. Also in case of Python / R bindings these usually are incompatible with "normal" Python  / R spatial packages, so the code has to be written specifically for these systems. Also the functionality of these tools are usually rather limited to a few functions. In principle these should be possible to set up in cPouta, but so far it has not been done.