Open-source vs Commercial GIS Tools
You must have come across this tug of war between ArcGIS and QGIS. A rather shameless competition between a proprietary commercial GIS software and freely downloadable tool. It’s is shameless, because we shouldn’t be comparing astronomically expensive licensed software with free alternatives. Naturally, one would expect a proprietary product to triumph over a free tool. But the continued competition is an indication that there’s no clear winner.
When this article first appeared it stirred the emotions of staunch users of Esri software. It wasn’t our intention to belittle one of the oldest GIS software tools. But if a tool is poor in performance, there’s no amount of sugar coating that can change it. True, few people are logical. And most citizens don’t want to change their minds about their haircut, or their religion or their favorite soccer team. It’s also true that few people are ready to change their mind about their choice software.
The article is therefore not intended to convert citizens from their allegiance or devotion to any particular product. But an honest account of key functional and performance issues related to these tools. And in giving an honest examination, this article will draw your attention to LuciadLightSpeed. A robust product for users who are interested in high performance geospatial awareness.
ArcGIS or QGIS: Which to Choose
If you were to create a list you would probably find that ArcGIS has more features than QGIS. Yes, actually by far! However, that is not a very sound way to select software. It is more useful to ask whether the software executes well features that are needed for your user case. For what is the point of having a long list of features if the software is barely usable. So the right question should be how well does a given software perform. For example, in terms of load time and processing speed.
In answering the above question, one might be interested to learn that QGIS actually has a better interface, loads faster and executes processes at a much higher speed. It might be interesting to know that just creating a simple buffer takes around 2 minutes on the latest version 10.6 of Arc/GIS Desktop. It might also be the reader’s interest to read about Don Meltz’s famous clip operation. The 20′ contour clipping that took over 12 hours on ArcGIS versus a little over 17 minutes using QGIS.
ArcGIS Errors and Crashing
Another annoying weakness with Esri’s proprietary software is the constant, continuous crashing and errors of all kind for every processing function you perform. Not the kind of error that is due to something a user has overlooked. No. But an error which has no clear explanation. Many users have expressed their difficulty in executing even the most basic functions on ArcGIS without receiving some kind of error. Read one moving story by a user which appeared on the post entitled: ArcGIS is the worst software I currently use.
Limited Cartographic Capability in QGIS
Similar frustrations have been echoed by users of QGIS. Especially in regard to its limited geo-processing and cartographic capabilities. Indeed, compared to QGIS, Esri has better annotation capabilities for producing cartographic output. This strength is due to the fact that ArcGIS architecture owes its origin in map-making.
LightSpeed: The Ultimate GIS Solution
However, with all this so called cartographic capabilities none of the above software come close to the breadth of options that are available in LuciadLightSpeed. Both QGIS and ArcGIS suffer performance in handling real-time situational awareness. Even QGIS (which can read and write over 70 GIS data formats) is small potatoes when placed in context with the power of LightSpeed.
LuciadLightspeed has been built from the ground-up for 2D/3D/4D dynamic and big-data use-cases. The solution comes ready-to-use, allowing users to drag ‘n’ drop or connect to more than 200 data formats. LuciadLightSpeed provides users with advanced visual analytics capabilities, to fuse, visualize and analyze geospatial data. This can include static and moving data, maps, satellite imagery, crowd-sourced data, full motion video, weather data and terrain elevation in many different geodetic references and map projections.
100 times faster than conventional GIS Software
Geo-fencing, line-of-sight calculations, geo-triggered events, dynamic and complex route calculations and automated anomaly detection are just a mouse click away on LightSpeed. And you are sure that you can perform all this functions, fast and with no annoying errors, bugs or crashes. Benchmark tests by academia and industry have found LuciadLightspeed to be over 100 times faster and more accurate than traditional GIS software.
Here is something else that classical GIS software users might find very difficult to comprehend: Thanks to LuciadLightspeed’s optimized use of GPU, you can visualize large volumes of moving tracks of any type of asset instantly in 60fps. What is even more unbelievable is that LuciadLightspeed allows for on-the-fly combination of any data with accurate geospatial transformations. The software can perform advanced functions including real-time video draping, immediate line-of-sight analysis and dynamic density calculations. All of this is possible in 2D & 3D in one single application with one single view, no pre-processing, no intermediate geo-database required and with all data remaining in its original location and format!
How is that for a software?