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GDAL (Geospatial Data Abstraction Library) is a library for reading and writing raster geospatial data formats, and is released under the permissive X/MIT style free software license by the Open Source Geospatial Foundation. As a library, it presents a single abstract data model to the calling application for all supported formats. It may also be built with a variety of useful command-line utilities for data translation and processing.

The related OGR library (OGR Simple Features Library), which is part of the GDAL source tree, provides a similar capability for simple features vector data.

GDAL was primarily developed by Frank Warmerdam until the release of version 1.3.2, when maintainership was officially transferred to the GDAL/OGR Project Management Committee under the Open Source Geospatial Foundation.

GDAL/OGR is considered a major free software project for its "extensive capabilities of data exchange" and also in the commercial GIS community due to its widespread use and comprehensive set of functionalities.

Software that uses GDAL/OGR

Several software programs use the GDAL/OGR libraries to allow them to read and write multiple GIS formats. Such programs include:

ArcGIS 9.2 – Can use GDAL for customized raster formats.

Biosphere3D – Open source landscape scenery globe.

Geoconcept integrated GDAL in its 7.1 release.

FWTools – A cross-platform open source GIS software bundle compiled by Frank Warmerdam.

gdaltokmz – A Python module translating from GDAL-supported raster graphics formats to the Google Earth KMZ format.

Google Earth – A virtual globe and world imaging program.





World Wind Java – NASA's open source virtual globe and world imaging technology.

OSSIM – Libraries and applications used to process imagery, maps, terrain, and vector data.

OpenEV – Geospatial toolkit and a frontend to that toolkit; to display georeferenced images and elevation data.

Orfeo toolbox – A satellite image processing library.

Quantum GIS

R – An open source statistical software with extensions for spatial data analysis.

SAGA GIS – A cross-platform open source GIS software.

TopoQuest – Internet topographic map viewer.

Rolta Geomatica software

Supported raster data formats

GDAL as of version 1.9.0 provides at least partial support for more than 120 raster geospatial data formats. While the next version up to 200 drivers. A subset of data formats is supported to ensure the ability to directly create files and georeferencing them with the default GDAL compiling options.

Here follows the list of data formats whose support is compiled by default allowing creation and georeferencing.