US: Open source GIS software MapWindow GIS, developed by faculty and graduate students in the Idaho State University (ISU) geosciences department and from Utah State University, is gaining popularity worldwide. It has been downloaded more than 260,000 times from users throughout the world and has 9,000 registered users.
MapWindow is used to view and analyse computerised map data. The software can be used to make maps of environmental, political, social, economic, or any other spatial data and has a set of add-ons specifically for water resources and hydrologic analysis. This free, open-source software is so popular that the ISU geosciences department will host the 1st International MapWindow GIS Users and Developers Conference March 31 – April 2 at Disney World in Orlando, Florida.
Dan Ames, ISU associate professor of geosciences who leads a team of programmers working on MapWindow GIS, said, “It has been great to see the growing interest in this software. MapWindow is unique in that it provides software developers tools that they can use to build their own map-enabled software and they can do this free of charge since the tools are all open source.”
The project started under funding from the Idaho National Laboratory at Utah State University in the late 1990s, and then was taken over by ISU in 2004. The product was first made available as free, open-source software in late 2004. The products popularity has grown exponentially since then.