GIS Software Vendors

There are many different GIS packages available around the world.  These vary in their capabilities and features.  The growth of the GIS industry as a result of technological innovations has been exponential.  According to a press release from Directions Magazine Online, in 2001, worldwide GIS software revenue reached $1.1 billion, a growth of 14.3% over the previous year.  ESRI and Intergraph accounted for nearly half of the industry’s total software revenues. 

Figure 1: GIS Software Revenue

Listed below is a brief synopsis of some of the most popular GIS software packages.


Autodesk Map Series is a thematic mapping and database tool.  Its main components are the raster integration features of Autodesk Raster Design, and its versatile analysis and map publication tools.  Its editing tools include rubbersheeting and edge and boundary trimming, among others.  Other features include:

  • Map creation with engineering precision using digitizing, topology, and spatial data management tools, including coordinate geometry.
  • The capability to improve the quality of scanned images.
  • Identification, definition, and manipulation of data with classification.

Figure 2: Autodesk Screenshot (

Bentley GIS

Microstation GeoOutlook is a stand-alone data access and decision support tool for mapping and GIS application.  It delivers viewing, redlining, measuring, dimensioning, analysis, database access, and plotting tools. Some other features include:

  • Mapping
  • Data Collection
  • Editing
  • Cleanup and analysis tools
  • Integrated engineering and mapping applications on a single platform and extends the data capture and editing tool

Figure 3: Bently GIS Screenshot (

ESRI (Environmental Systems Research Institute, Inc)

ESRI has been the most used GIS package worldwide for many years.  Its packages have continued to develop and they currently offer several options.  ArcGIS is a combination of software packages capable of creation, management, integration, analysis, and dissemination of geographic data.  Key Features include:

ArcGIS Core Applications
  • Editing tools
  • Cartography
  • Internet enabled                      
  • On-the-fly projections
  • Expansible architecture
  • Direct read of more than 140 data formats

Figure 4: ArcGIS Core Applications (

The core applications of ArcGIS include ArcMap, ArcToolbox, and ArcCatalog.  ArcMap is used for all mapping and editing tasks as well as map-based analysis.  ArcCatalog is the application for managing spatial data holdings, for managing database designs, and for recording and viewing metadata.  ArcToolbox deals with many common GIS conversions and geoprocessing tasks.

GE Smallworld

This fast growing company markets and delivers GIS solutions to users in government and private industries for the organization and management of spatial information used in transportation systems, land assets, shipping parcels, and the spread of infectious diseases.  It boasts a scalable architecture and seamless open data access.


Intergraph has been developing software for more than 30 years, and has a wide variety of packages.  The most popular option for mapping and GIS solutions is GeoMedia.  GeoMedia suite includes GeoMedia, GeoMedia Professional, GeoMedia WebMap, and GeeoMedia WebEnterprise.  According to the company, this software package solves the problem of disparate data formats and makes it easy to share up-to-date spatial data across borders, industries, and disciplines.  Some of its capabilities include:

  • Queries
  • Buffer zones
  • Thematic maps
  • 9 types of spatial functions
  • Suite of arithmetic operations
  • All tools necessary to create “what if” queries
  • Web-based map visualization tool
  • On-the-fly projections

Figure 5: GeoMedia Screenshot (


MapInfo is considered the pioneer of desktop GIS. MapInfo Professional is a leading business mapping software capable of performing sophisticated and detailed data analysis. A few features of this package are:

  • Ability to create detailed maps
  • Locate patterns and trends
  • Perform extensive data analysis
  • Demographic analysis
  • Remote database support
  • Plug-ins to enhance functionality

Figure 6: MapInfo Screenshot (

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