The MapWindow GIS 4.x application is a free, extensible geographic information system (GIS) that can be used in many ways: • As an open-source alternative desktop GIS • To distribute data to others • To develop and distribute custom spatial data analysis tools
As an open-source tool, MapWindow is free to use and redistribute to the user clients and other end users. It may also be modified to fit the user needs, or embedded into proprietary software.
MapWindow is more than just a data viewer. It is an extensible geographic information system. This means that advanced users or developers can write plug-ins to add additional functionality (models, special viewers, hot-link handlers, data editors, etc) and pass these along to any number of the users clients and end users.
MapWindow includes standard GIS data visualization features as well as DBF attribute table editing, shapefile editing, and data converters. Dozens of standard GIS formats are supported, including Shapefiles, GeoTIFF, ESRI ArcInfo ASCII and binary grids.
Although the MapWindow application is a ready-to-use spatial data viewer, it can also be modified into a new custom application. Customization is done by editing the MapWindow Configuration File, and/or a MapWindow Project File. These are the two files that control the look and feel of MapWindow. Both are XML-format files that can be edited directly through notepad or an XML editor.