MacNews Category Review: GIS software for the Mac
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MacNews Category Review: GIS software for the Mac

AltaScena America

AltaScena America is a topographical map and aerial photograph viewer. It allows for downloading US Geological Survey (USGS) images from the Internet.


ArcExplorer is a Mac OS X compatible GIS data viewer for basic GIS functions. It can be used for display, query and data retrieval and supports a variety of standard data sources. ArcExplorer can use its own local data or serve as a client to Internet data and map servers.

Canvas with GIS

Canvas with GIS is a GIS data visualization solution that lets you import GIS project information and then use Canvas’ image editing, illustration, and page-layout features to create, assemble, montage, and annotate, and enhance project data.


CartoBasic is freeware cartographic software. Via drag and drop, you choose a map and data, and CartoBasic immediately displays a thematic map. A few maps are included for free; others can be ordered.


Cartographica has a wide range of data import capabilities, nearly assuring that you can turn your data into maps.You can bring in your georeferenced raster data (like orthophotos and satellite imagery), your vector data from almost any source, or even CSV text files. Using the search box, you can filter on any field. If you like, you can use expressions like > and < to filter numeric data arithmetically. It also boasts sophisticated print-outs, flexible styles, direct editing, undo support, layer transparency, simultaneous data/map browsing, geocoding, GIS support, direct database access, web map server support, intelligent projection management, and more.

Constellation Toolbox for MATLAB

Constellation Toolbox for MATLAB is a simulation and analysis package for satellite constellations. Utilities are available in versions to support MATLAB releases 6 and 7. MATLAB, by The MathWorks, is a high-level technical computing language and interactive environment for algorithm development, data visualization, data analysis, and numeric computation.

Curious World Maps

Curious World Maps lets you create maps and geographical animations for TV and video.


DictMaker is an utility for building, interrogating and maintaining dictionaries and similar reference tools.

Dufour Map

Dufour Map is an interactive application which lets you compare the historic Dufour Map (1832-1864) with current Swiss National Maps using modern technologies. With numerous explanations, previously unpublished pictures and historic reports around the Dufour Map.


FlightMath is designed to ease the mathematical calculations associated with planning a flight. For instance, instead of using a mechanical slide rule to compute course corrections in wind, you simply drag the hands around a compass rose, with a hand each for wind direction and true course. Other features include: fuel analysis, with mixed units; speed and distance calculations, with mixed units; density altitude; and more.


Geocart lets you produce base maps of the world or any part of it that are suitable for any purpose from commercial atlas quality maps to animated locator maps for the Web. Independent map projections are provided, and any projection can be re-centered to bring any point on the Earth’s surface to the center of the map. The package includes data bases of the coastlines, lakes, major rivers, minor rivers, and international boundaries of the entire world at resolutions suitable for world or regional maps. Provincial boundaries for most of the world as well as U.S. county boundaries are also included. The package also includes image data bases that can be uses to produce relief maps or color backgrounds. Image data bases are raster images or “picture maps."


GeoInsight is a tool for plotting your data on a map, GeoInsight functions as a RagTime component to generate interactive maps. You just drag your spreadsheet column onto the map to create links between map and databases.

G. Projector

G. Projector lets you create global map projections, including transformations of input equirectangular map images (GIF, PNG). Over 80 map projections are included.

Geo3D X

Geo3D X, based on Quesa (3D graphics library), Geo3D is a standalone 3D Metafile (3DMF) viewer with navigation (and some editing and animation) features. It lets you navigate through space rather than being limited to manipulating models. Geo3D includes editing tools for shaders, styles, lights, etc. Geo3D understands URLs that are attached to 3D objects in a model. It's available with viewpoints, picture (sequence) export, animation, dynamic coordinate planes and axes, as well as many other features. Geo3D is partly scriptable and recordable using AppleScript. Geo3D supports plug-in renderers.


Drag your images to the GeoTagger icon and it will get the current location from Google Earth (version 4 or higher) and insert it into the Exif data of the images.

GISLook and GISMeta

GISLook and GISMeta are plug-ins for Mac OS X 10.5 that show GIS data in the Finder. Supported formats are: ESRI Shape, E00, ArcInfo Coverage, USGS DEM, SRTM, ESRI ASCII grid, ESRI Binary grid, BIL, BIP, BSQ, Surfer Grid, PGM.


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. GMT supports 25 common map projections plus linear, log, and power scaling, and comes with support data such as coastlines, rivers, and political boundaries. GMT works with Mac OS X.

Google Maps Plugin

Google Maps Plugin are plug-ins for the Mac OS X Address Book app.

GPS and Go!

GPS and Go! lets you expand your digital hub to include global positioning system (GPS) devices. Experience the wealth of information that GPS devices are able to provide to your Macintosh by linking data with physical locations.


GPSNavX is a solution for the boater that wants to take the Mac aboard for the real-time display of the position on full color charts. You can plug your GPS into your Mac OS X system and watch as your boat moves along in real-time, plotting a track behind the boat and logging your historic position on a digital chart. And GPSNavX doesn't require a GPS to work with charts.

GPS PhotoLinker

With GPS PhotoLinker the latitude and longitude from your GPS receiver can be directly embedded into the metadata of your digital photos, creating a permanent record of where the photo was taken. GPSPhotoLinker saves the position data in the EXIF header, a common format used by many programs, like iView Media Pro which can immediately read the position data and use that information for sorting photos. GPSPhotoLinker reads gpx files for track data, a common xml format for saving tracks, waypoints and routes from a gps.


GPSUtility is software for displaying GPS data including speed, bearing, position and satellite information


GPSy is GPS (global positioning system) communications software that connects your Mac to a wide range of global positioning system navigational units. It features mapping, logging and data transfer capabilities; USGS DRG topo map support; Internet DGPS-IP servers; links to Internet Map Servers, StreetAtlas 4 and IPC's MapFan II; Eagle/Garmin/Lowrance/Magellan/Rockwell/Trimble support; and more. There's also a pro version for boaters, high-accuracy DGPS users and folks with large or complex mapping needs.

GRASS GIS (Geographic Resources Analysis Support System) is an open source GIS with raster, topological vector, image processing, and graphics production functionality that operates on various platforms (including Mac OS X) through a graphical user interface and shell in X-Windows.

Headings Calculator

Headings Calculator displays associated magnetic headings (45, 90, 135, 180, 225, 270, 315 and 360 degrees) based on user input. This application was originally developed to assist in navigational calculations (such as inbound and outbound VOR radial selection) for flight simulators.


Hipparchus is named after the ancient Greek astronomer and originator of the concept of latitude/longitude, Hipparchus, which runs under Mac OS X, uses a spatial indexing method and modern vector algebra to provide speed, precision and flexibility to aid developers with an open approach for location information. It offers modeling and manipulation of zero, one and two dimensional objects, allowing for ellipsoidal modeling of points, lines and regions. Functions are included for: conversion from all popular coordinate systems; dynamically adjustable indexing; proximity, union and intersection; mapping and display; debugging. What's more, the library includes a third-order orbital modeler to aid in the management of satellite data.


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