Current software versions

11 Jan 2009: This table is out of date: Refer to the Debian packages thermometer. UbuntuGIS closely tracks the unstable version of Debian.




Latest stable upstream version

Reference website

Desktop GIS and stand-alone tools







6.2.1 (2006-12-12)




0.8.1 (2007-06-15)



1.2.0 (2007-02-13)

GPS and other tools


























4.10.2 (2007-05-07)





8.2.4 (2007-04-20)




1.2.1 (2007-01-31)





1.4.2 (2007-06)




2.2.3 (2006-07-08)







UbuntuGIS on your desktop

  • GRASS (grass) is a Geographic Information System (GIS) used for geospatial data management and analysis, image processing, graphics/maps production, spatial modeling, and visualization. GRASS is currently used in academic and commercial settings around the world, as well as by many governmental agencies and environmental consulting companies.

  • QuantumGIS (qgis, qgis-plugin-grass) is a user friendly Open Source Geographic Information System (GIS) that supports vector, raster, and database formats. Some of the major features include:

    • Support for spatially enabled PostGIS tables
    • Support for shapefiles, Arc/Info coverages, Mapinfo, and other formats supported by OGR
    • Raster support for a large number of formats
    • Identify features
    • Display attribute tables
    • Select features
    • GRASS Digitizing (through qgis-plugin-grass)

    • Feature labeling
  • Thuban (thuban) can read geographic data in the shapefile format. Main features of Thuban are the layer management and the possibility to navigate on the map, to control the visual appearance of objects, to identify and edit attributes by object selection and to print and export the resulting maps for further processing.

  • GMT (gmt). GMT is a free, public-domain collection of ~60 UNIX tools that allow users to manipulate (x,y) and (x,y,z) data sets (including filtering, trend fitting, gridding, projecting, etc.) and produce Encapsulated PostScript File (EPS) illustrations ranging from simple x-y plots through contour maps to artificially illuminated surfaces and 3-D perspective views in black and white, gray tone, hachure patterns, and 24-bit color.

GPS tools

There are various tools for handlign GPS data and communicating with your GPS device. They have different purposes and you may need one or more of them to get your work done. You might want to try some of them before choosing the one's right for you.

  • GPSBabel (gpsbabel) converts waypoints, tracks, and routes from one format to another, whether that format is a common mapping format like Delorme, Streets and Trips, or even a serial upload or download to a GPS unit such as those from Garmin and Magellan. GPSBabel supports dozens of data formats and will be useful for tasks such as geocaching, mapping, and converting from one GPS unit to another. Among the interesting formats it supports are several GPS devices via a serial link, various PDA-based mapping programs, and various Geocaching data formats.

  • gpx2shp (gpx2shp) converts GPS or GPX file to ESRI/Shape file. Includes the tools gps2shp and gpx2shp. These are very useful when using collected GPS points with existing GIS tools like qgis and GRASS. Please note that recent versions os QGIS handle nicely GPX files.

  • gpsd (gpsd, gpsd-clients) is a userland daemon acting as a liaison between a GPS or Loran-C receiver and clients. The receiver is expected to generate position information as NMEA-0183 sentences, or Rockwell binary format, although that can be changed. gpsd listens on port 2947 for clients requesting position, time, velocity or altitude information. gpsd can take information from the GPS and translate it into something easier to understand for clients.

  • Gps Drive (gpsdrive) is a car (bike, ship, plane) navigation system. Gps Drive displays your position provided from your NMEA capable GPS receiver on a zoomable map, the map file is autoselected depending of the position and preferred scale. Speech output is supported if the "festival" software is running. The maps are autoselected for best resolution depending of your position. All Garmin GPS reveiver with a serial output should be usable, also other GPS receiver which supports NMEA protocol.

  • GPS Manager (gpsman) is a graphical manager of GPS data that makes possible the preparation, inspection and edition of GPS data in a friendly environment. GPSMan supports communication and real-time logging with both Garmin and Lowrance receivers and accepts real-time logging information in NMEA 0183 from any GPS receiver.

Other tools

  • AVCE00 (avce00) is a C library and group of tools that makes Arcinfo (binary) Vector Coverages appear as E00. It allows you to read and write binary coverages just as if they were E00 files.

  • E00compr (e00compr) is an ANSI C library that reads and writes Arc/Info compressed E00 files. Both "PARTIAL" and "FULL" compression levels are supported. E00 files are the vector import/export format for Arc/Info. It is plain ASCII and is meant as an interchange format. ESRI considers the format to be proprietary, so this package may not read all E00 files as ESRI may change the format. This package is useful for importing E00 files into the GRASS GIS system.


  • Mapserver (cgi-mapserver, mapserver-bin, perl-mapscript, php4-mapscript, php5-mapscript, python-mapscript) is an Open Source development environment for building spatially-enabled internet applications. Mapserver is not a full-featured GIS system, nor does it aspire to be. Instead, Mapserver excels at rendering spatial data (maps, images, and vector data) for the web. The Mapserver system includes Mapscript that allows popular scripting languages such as :

    • PHP provided by php4-mapscript and php5-mapscript
    • Python provided by python-mapscript.
    • Perl provided by perl-mapscript.
    • Java not provided actualy by those packages.
  • Geoserver is an Open Source server that connects your information to the Geospatial Web.

    • With Geoserver you can publish and edit data using open standards. Your information is made available in a large variety of formats as maps/images or actual geospatial data. Geoserver's transactional capabilities offer robust support for shared editing. Geoserver's focus is ease of use and support for standards, in order to serve as 'glue' for the geospatial web, connecting from legacy databases to many diverse clients.
    • Geoserver supports WFS-T and WMS open protocols from the OGC to produce JPEG, PNG, SVG, KML/KMZ, GML, PDF, Shapefiles and more. More information on specific features of GeoServer can be found here, and some samples of Geoserver in action are in the gallery.

    • Geoserver is built on Geotools, the same Java toolkit that udig uses. Geoserver is a truly open community, with a well documented and modular codebase, so don't hesitate to get involved.
    • Download and install it from GeoServer


  • PostgreSQL (postgresql-8.1 Warning /!\ DO NOT INSTALL the package postgresql because it provides an old version of the database application) is a powerful, open source relational database system. It has more than 15 years of active development and a proven architecture that has earned it a strong reputation for reliability, data integrity, and correctness. It is fully ACID compliant, has full support for foreign keys, joins, views, triggers, and stored procedures (in multiple languages). It includes most SQL92 and SQL99 data types, including INTEGER, NUMERIC, BOOLEAN, CHAR, VARCHAR, DATE, INTERVAL, and TIMESTAMP. It also supports storage of binary large objects, including pictures, sounds, or video. It has native programming interfaces for C/C++, Java, .Net, Perl, Python, Ruby, Tcl, ODBC, among others, and exceptional documentation. An enterprise class database, PostgreSQL boasts sophisticated features such as Multi-Version Concurrency Control (MVCC), point in time recovery, tablespaces, asynchronous replication, nested transactions (savepoints), online/hot backups, a sophisticated query planner/optimizer, and write ahead logging for fault tolerance. It supports international character sets, multibyte character encodings, Unicode, and it is locale-aware for sorting, case-sensitivity, and formatting. It is highly scalable both in the sheer quantity of data it can manage and and in the number of concurrent users it can accommodate. There are active PostgreSQL systems in production environments that manage in excess of 4 terabytes of data.

  • PostGIS (postgis) adds support for geographic objects to the PostgreSQL object-relational database. In effect, PostGIS "spatially enables" the PostgreSQL server, allowing it to be used as a backend spatial database for geographic information systems (GIS), much like ESRI's SDE or Oracle's Spatial extension. PostGIS follows the OpenGIS "Simple Features Specification for SQL" and has been certified as compliant with the "Types and Functions" profile.

Under the hood : libraries

  • GDAL/OGR (libgdal1c2a, python-gdal) is a translator library for raster geospatial data formats. As a library, it presents a single abstract data model to the calling application for all supported formats. It also comes with a variety of useful commandline utilities for data translation and processing. It is used by most of the applications above

  • GEOS (libgeos2c2a) (Geometry Engine - Open Source) is a C++ port of the Java Topology Suite (JTS). As such, it aims to contain the complete functionality of JTS in C++. This includes all the OpenGIS "Simple Features for SQL" spatial predicate functions and spatial operators, as well as specific JTS topology functions such as Isvalid().

  • PROJ.4 (proj) Cartographic Projections Library, originally written by Gerald Evenden then of the USGS.

  • Terralib (libterralib1c2a) enables quick development of custom-built geographical applications using spatial databases. As a research tool, Terralib is aimed at providing a rich and powerful environment for the development of GIS research, enabling the development of GIS prototypes that include new concepts such as spatio-temporal data models, geographical ontologies and advanced spatial analysis techniques. Terralib defines a geographical data model and provides support for this model over a range of different DBMS (MySQL, PostgreSQL, ORACLE and ACCESS), and is implemented as a library of C++ classes and functions, written in ANSI-C++.

UbuntuGIS/PackageList (last edited 2009-01-10 20:52:14 by cameron-shorter)