Existing open source platforms to publish spatial data

Working with spatial data is such an exciting task and always give insights into solving existing problems in your job area. Sharing this data with your friends, work mates and the world at large is even a more exciting job and achievement. Having your work read, and seen by many people is just so fulfilling. In this post, I explore the existing open source platforms that you can use in sharing your work to the world.

ArcGIS Online – Publish your data in near real-time using this platform that consumes a number of data formats and rich in analytic tools to aid in cartographic aspect of your data.

CartoDB – An alternative to Google Map Engine with additional benefits out of the box. Has recently received great attention from developers by leveraging the powerful APIs that exist on this platform.

GeoDjango – A module in the Python-based Django, a platform for web developers with tight deadlines, that supports spatial data handling and publishing. Incorporates a number of APIs such as OSM and Leaflet for map displays.

Flask(GeoAlchemy) – An alternative to Django’s Geodjango, GeoAlchemy is another powerful option when considering spatial data publishing.

Mapnik – This is a toolkit for both desktop and server-based map rendering This makes it a powerful platform to use when handling spatial data in a project. It also allows for quality bindings such as Python and Node.js

OpenLayers – One of the most advanced JavaScript libraries for spatial data publishing. It’s grown enough and has existed for a longer period making it more broad and robust.

Leaflet – This is a modern JavaScript library for mobile-friendly interactive maps. It’s light weight and very easy to use in web mapping applications.

MapBox – Use and experience custom maps on web applications and experience out of the box modern features on both the free and paid-for plans.

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Google Maps API – From Google, very robust, rich and well structured mapping APIs for use in web maps and for mobile-friendly applications.

OpenStreetMap API – Known for its use in data editing/manipulation. Allows one to edit existing data in the OSM database and also save new spatial data to the database. Create and embed maps in respective sites at will.

MapServer – This is a Python-based toolkit for publishing spatial data and creation of interactive web applications.

GeoServer – A platform for publishing spatial data using open standards. Has the advantage of consuming data from all major spatial data sources.

OpenGeoSuite – This is a full stack of geospatial software including QGIS, OpenLayers, PostGIS, GeoServer and GeoExplorer. Integrates all these platforms to make data management and publishing even much easier.

SpatiaLite – This is a spatial database that is light-weight, simple and easy to integrate with many geospatial platforms.

PostGIS – The most advanced Open Source spatial database. This is an extension within the PostgreSQL which is an object-relational database. It allows for simple and advanced spatial queries for your data.


The list is endless. So many platforms exist under this category.

Leave a comment below with suggestions for more platforms or general overview!!



Wanjohi Kibui
About Wanjohi Kibui 23 Articles
A GIS Developer, Consultant and Author.Passionate about Geospatial technologies. To read more about his work, visit http://www.lifeingis.com Access video Tutorials on YouTube
  • sowanch

    A very informative and comprehensive list. Extra points for starting off with ArcGIS Online!!!