GIS Software Comparison

GIS SoftwareWhen choosing your GIS software, being either a GIS specialist or organisation needing a complete GIS software package, it can be daunting deciphering the functional differences between offerings. For example, what is the difference between ArcView and ArcEditor, and why do the cost so much? Why is MapInfoclassed as more suitable for demographic data? And how can IntelliGIS cost a fraction of the price of ArcEditor yet offer so much functionality? To save you the headache, the software comparison below is a starting point for comparing ArcView, MapInfo, ArcEditor, IntelliGIS and Global Mapper.

MapInfo, ArcEditor, IntelliGIS & Global Mapper Compared

Criteria MapInfo ArcEditor IntelliGIS Global Mapper
Vendor Pitney Bowes ESRI ISS Blue Marble Geographics
  • Mapping & Printing
  • Spatial & Attribute
    Data Analysis
  • Visual Data Editting &
  • Extensive demographic data
  • Enhanced Data Access
  • Programming Environment


  • Mapping & Printing
  • Spatial & Attribute
    Data Analysis
  • Visual Data editting
  • Extensive data modelling.
  • Extensive analytical
  • Mapping & Printing
  • Spatial & Attribute
    Data Analysis
  • Visual Data editting
  • Report & Map Templates
  • Programming Environment
  • easy to use viewer/editor capable of displaying the
    most popular raster, elevation and vector datasets (now including
  • convert, edit, mosaic, reproject, print, track GPS
  • utilize GIS functionality on your datasets
  •  unsurpassed technical support with no extra
    support fees!
Usability Regarded as one of the most usable GIS
offerings providing XP/Vista style interface.
Windows 2000 style interfaces look dated,
though tools are still intuitive to use.
Windows XP & Vista Style interface
provides familiarity with intuitive visual tools & wizards.
Very easy to use although the “hidden” features can be
rather cumbersome to find.
  • Extensive demographic analysis
    & edittingtools.
  • Supports the latest database
    formats likeMS SQL 2008 Spatial .
  • Automatic feature options like
  • VB.NET & C#
    programming environment toadd MapInfo to other applications.
  • Map anti-aliasing coming soon.
  • Extensive product support.
  • Extensive analytical functionality
  • Extensive product support
  • Supports multi-user editting
  • Provides ready to use datasets like TIGER-2000 street
  • Limited degree of appearance customizing using
    ArcReader wizards.
  • Supports 30+ data formats
    including Shapefiles,ArcSDE, MapInfo, OGIS, TIGER, Google KLM and more.
  • Store Data in any RDBMS using
    the full-wealthof database functionality available – like ArcSDE at no
  • IntelliGIS Script Environment
    allows usersto develop extended functionality.
  • Create custom maps &
  • Personal service & per
    request customisation.
  • Price
  • Supports hundreds of the best popular vector, raster
    and elevation data formats
  • 3D viewer
  • Capable of perfoming view shed analysis and watershed
  • Outstanding support
  • Price
  • MapInfo data format
  • More attribute data focus than
  • Price.
  • Locked into complex ESRI
    Object Model.
  • Frequent wholesale changes to
    Object Modelcreates version incompatabilities.
  • Locked into ESRI data format.
  • Price.
  • Relative smaller vendor than
    competitors likeESRI.
  • High-end analytical tools not
  • No SQL functionality
  • Small vendor
Price US$ 1994 approx.
per license. Not pricing is readily available
so approach reseller for quote.
per licensing plus maintenance costs. This excludes any ArcInfo
functionality which is an additional US$14,000.
1000 per license
(optional extensions & customisations cost extra)
$399 per license
Verdict Very attractive & user-friendly

& widely used for more demographic GIS needs. Its moderate
is preferred to ESRI products.
For attribute data focused GIS.
Most extensive, spatially focused GIS, but
very costly & restrictive in terms of object model &
Only for very serious spatial GIS Specialists with budget.
Best value
for money given

scope of functionality, openGIS, RDBMS use and data formats supported.
Choose IntelliGIS!
Best Value for the money given scope of functionaltiy
and  supported formats!
Download Trial N/A N/A N/A Download Trial

4 Responses to GIS Software Comparison

  • sergi Gàmiz Ribelles says:

    Two Pro’s for MapInfo:
    1- its Workspaces are text, ASCII format, so they are easily editable and fitted.
    2- its programming language, whith free editor.
    Mapinfo has also its programming interface. With MapBASIC (is free) any user can improove MapInfo. MapBASIC is easy to learn and highly powerfull, so MapInfo community has thousands of tools made by MI users.

  • Nishant says:

    ArcGIS Desktop 10 is pathetic and vitlrauly unusable for any serious GIS analytical purposes. I can’t see anyone successfully employing it in any kind of environment that is the least bit mission critical. It is slow and constantly crashes on large datasets. Memory leaks are rampant. There are lots of neat features and tools that don’t work properly due to poorly developed and poorly tested code. Does anyone at their shop profile the code they develop? Do they test it on more that one polygon at a time? 64 bit computing has been around for almost 10 years now and at 10.1 they will take baby steps into the 64 bit world with the release of a 64 bit server product. WooHoo good job. Don’t expect a 64 bit desktop for at least another 5 years.The product costs the earth, the maintenance fees are ridiculous but we users continue to suck it up and come back for more. Our organization sends ESRI a check for $100,000 every year for something that does not work as advertised and probably never will.I’m searching for an alternative that can easily handle spatial analysis involving millions of polygons. Any suggestions?

  • Donna says:

    Pricing for MapInfo is incorrect Pricing should be $1995.00 US dollars per license.

  • Paul says:

    Donna. Thanks for the update. I updated the price of MapInfo.

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