FAQ - General

  1. What does GDAL stand for?
  2. What is this OGR stuff?
  3. What does OGR stand for?
  4. When was the GDAL project started?
  5. Is GDAL/OGR proprietary software?
  6. What license does GDAL/OGR use?
  7. What operating systems does GDAL-OGR run on?
  8. Is there a graphical user interface to GDAL/OGR?
  9. What compiler can I use to build GDAL/OGR?
  10. I have a question that's not answered here. Where can I get more …
  11. When is the next release planned?
  12. How do I add support for a new format?
  13. How do I cite GDAL ?

What does GDAL stand for?

GDAL - Geospatial Data Abstraction Library

It is sometimes pronounced "goo-doll" (a bit like goo-gle), while others pronounce it "gee-doll," and others pronounce it "gee-dall."

What is this OGR stuff?

The GDAL/OGR tree holds source for a vector IO library inspired by  OpenGIS Simple Features. In theory it is separate from GDAL, but currently they reside in the same source tree and are somewhat entangled. More information can be found at  http://www.gdal.org/ogr/. It is my plan to properly fold OGR into GDAL properly at some point in the future. Then GDAL will be a raster and vector library.

What does OGR stand for?

OGR used to stand for OpenGIS Simple Features Reference Implementation. However, since OGR is not fully compliant with the OpenGIS Simple Feature specification and is not approved as a reference implementation of the spec the name was changed to OGR Simple Features Library. The only meaning of OGR in this name is historical. OGR is also the prefix used everywhere in the source of the library for class names, filenames, etc.

When was the GDAL project started?

In late 1998, Frank Warmerdam started to work as independent professional on the GDAL/OGR library.

Is GDAL/OGR proprietary software?

No, GDAL/OGR is a  Free and Open Source Software.

What license does GDAL/OGR use?

GDAL/OGR library is distributed under the terms of  X11/ MIT License.

It is intended to give you permission to do whatever you want with the GDAL source code: download, modify, redistribute as you please, including building proprietary commercial software, no permission from  Frank Warmerdam,  OSGeo Foundation or anyone else is required.

A few portions of GDAL is under slightly different terms. For instance the  libpng,  libjpeg,  libtiff, and  libgeotiff license terms may vary slightly though I don't think any of them differ in any significant way. Some external libraries which can be optionally used by GDAL are under radically different licenses.

Copyright (c) 2000, Frank Warmerdam

Permission is hereby granted, free of charge, to any person obtaining a
copy of this software and associated documentation files (the "Software"),
to deal in the Software without restriction, including without limitation
the rights to use, copy, modify, merge, publish, distribute, sublicense,
and/or sell copies of the Software, and to permit persons to whom the
Software is furnished to do so, subject to the following conditions:

The above copyright notice and this permission notice shall be included
in all copies or substantial portions of the Software.

THE SOFTWARE IS PROVIDED "AS IS", WITHOUT WARRANTY OF ANY KIND, EXPRESS
OR IMPLIED, INCLUDING BUT NOT LIMITED TO THE WARRANTIES OF MERCHANTABILITY,
FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE AND NONINFRINGEMENT. IN NO EVENT SHALL
THE AUTHORS OR COPYRIGHT HOLDERS BE LIABLE FOR ANY CLAIM, DAMAGES OR OTHER
LIABILITY, WHETHER IN AN ACTION OF CONTRACT, TORT OR OTHERWISE, ARISING
FROM, OUT OF OR IN CONNECTION WITH THE SOFTWARE OR THE USE OR OTHER
DEALINGS IN THE SOFTWARE.

A more complete collection of license terms for GDAL/OGR and subcomponents is included within the software distribution in the  LICENSE.TXT file.

What operating systems does GDAL-OGR run on?

You can use GDAL/OGR on all modern  flavors of Unix: Linux, Solaris, Mac OS X, Solaris; and most versions of  Microsoft Windows (NT/2000/XP/Vista/CE). Both, 32-bit and 64-bit architectures are supported.

If you have used GDAL/OGR on operating system or computer architecture not listed above, don't hesitate to  tell us your story.

Is there a graphical user interface to GDAL/OGR?

See Software using GDAL page

What compiler can I use to build GDAL/OGR?

GDAL/OGR is written in ANSI C and C++. It can be compiled with all modern C/C++ compilers.

I have a question that's not answered here. Where can I get more information?

If you don't find an answer after browsing this FAQ, there are several other resources available:

Keep in mind, the quality of the answer you get does bear some relation to the quality of the question. If you need more detailed explanation of this, you can find it in essay  How To Ask Questions The Smart Way by Eric S. Raymond.

When is the next release planned?

See our Roadmap page.

How do I add support for a new format?

To some extent this is now covered by the  GDAL Driver Implementation Tutorial, and the  OGR Driver Implementation Tutorial.

How do I cite GDAL ?

In general:

GDAL. 201x. GDAL - Geospatial Data Abstraction Library: Version x.x.x, Open Source Geospatial Foundation,  http://gdal.osgeo.org

BibTeX entry:

@Manual{GDAL ,

title = {GDAL - Geospatial Data Abstraction Library, Version x.x.x},
author = {{GDAL Development Team}},
organization = {Open Source Geospatial Foundation},
year = {201x},
url = { http://www.gdal.org},

}