Karthik Ramesh (SBMAF) writes "Quantum GIS (QGIS) is an Open Source Geographic Information System (GIS) that is extremely user friendly, easy to use and nifty tool built to run on Linux, Unix, Mac OSX, and Windows. QGIS allows users to create, maintain and geo-spatial data in a wide variety of formats of vector, raster, and database formats including the popular ESRI ShapeFile, geotiff, Mapinfo, Geography Markup Language.
Plug-ins can be loaded to perform additional tasks such as :
• add meta-data of copyright
• load and display delimited text files containing co-ordinates
• inclusion of projection information
• provision of north arrow as an overlay in maps
• scale bar display
• import and load GPS data
The latest release version of QGIS is version 0.8 which includes a range of features like searching attribute data, export tool enhancements, WMS support, multi-platform GRASS support, new toolbox commands, enhanced vector editing and layer editing.
One of the benefits of QGIS is its ability to run straight of a memory stick or USB device making it a “portable” application. This allows users to carry and view GIS data anytime anywhere without depending on the client machine to actually host the GIS software. In an era where geo-spatial information is becoming more widely available and accessible to a large community of users, QGIS is an answer to most users needs in managing “mappable” information.
QGIS is available in binaries to run of popular platforms including Windows, Ubuntu Edgy, OS X, Debian, SuSe etc.