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FreeGIS Project

Aims and Services

The FreeGIS Project aims to promote the freedom in the scope of Geographic Information Systems (GIS). A GIS can be defined as an information system that is designed to work with data referenced by spatial or geographic coordinates ( more definitions).

It seeks to reach its aim through

  • promoting the use, development and support of Free GIS Software,
  • promoting the use and release of publicly available geographic data in the same sense of freedom as for Free Software,
  • promoting the use, writing, translation and extending of free documents in the GIS field.

The FreeGIS projects concentrates mainly on two services:

  • the website, which summarizes the said software, data and documents with additional infos and search opportunities,
  • a community discussion list, where the news and releases are announced and synergy is sought among the interested community members and projects,


``Free software'' is a matter of liberty, not price. To understand the concept, you should think of ``free'' as in ``free speech'' or ``free markets,'' not as in ``for free'' (gratis).

Free software is a matter of the users' freedom to run, copy, distribute, study, change and improve the software.

You can find more detailed discussions of terms here:


The FreeGIS Project was launched in late 1999 as an initiative of Intevation GmbH, a consulting company based in Germany.

Why was the project launched?

The free software community has improved all over the last years. Many proprietary applications were substituted by a free solution. Unfortunately the development for some software sectors were slightly neglected. We worked with GIS and geographic data for several years then and permanently fought with unsatisfactory proprietary tools. Even more problematic for Europe was the availability of geographic data. Allover the Internet we did not find a site dedicated to freedom concerning GIS and geographic data. Well, so we created one.

From a link collection to an interactive information base

The FreeGIS site offered a link collection for over 18 months. The list grew to more than 100 entries while at the same time the number of visitors increased dramatically. So there was the strong need to offer various, yet simple, methods to find desired information in the area of GIS related with freedom. A lot help from the evolving FreeGIS community has gone into structure and content of the new FreeGIS portal site.

From an interactive information base to a 2-tier-editor managemnt system

The third generation of the portal introduced a completely redesigned database with refined user access grants to allow contributors to submit proposals directly into the database. Maintainers may accept or reject. All transactions are stored and retrievable, thus creating a transparent process. Besides opening FreeGIS to third parties, full I18N support is integrated allowing for multilingual entries and web-site.

FreeGIS is a project of FOSSGIS e.V.
Contact: Björn Schilberg <>
These pages are hosted by Intevation GmbH