Open-Source + Geospatial

Open-source is the buzzword of the software development community–meaning that a product and its source code are made publicly and freely available to use, repurpose, and/or redistribute (some restrictions apply)–but what can open-source software do for the geospatial community?

The geospatial field encompasses some niche data formats and requires the use of specialized software. All-to-often this means purchasing professional software packages, which can lead to very high licensing costs for a firm like Woolpert. One way we aim to lower our licensing costs is to develop applications in-house and take advantage of open-source tools and libraries.

Using open-source not only reduces licensing costs for us and our clients, it also means adaptability. It allows us to dig into the source code, analyze it, change it, and optimize it. We can create tools and applications that are tailor-made for our workflows and our data. Libraries such as GDAL and OpenCV enable us to write processing scripts and tools which are portable and scalable. Using open-source map libraries like OpenLayers and World Wind allows us to delivery highly-customized applications that are targeted for our clients’ needs.

Here are some of the open-source products without which we couldn’t do our jobs:

Libraries & Tools


Map SDKs

Data Sources




MapQuest is a registered trademark of MapQuest Inc. All product names are used only for description and do not indicate sponsorship or endorsement.

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