Opened 8 years ago

Closed 5 years ago

#1566 closed task (fixed)

Incubator Application: GPlates

Reported by: jcannon Owned by: jive
Priority: normal Milestone:
Component: Incubator Keywords: application


The following are answers to the Incubator Application Questionnaire for GPlates (as the first step of the Incubation Process)...

1. Please provide the name and email address of the principal Project Owner.

Dietmar Muller, dietmar.muller at

2. Please provide the names and emails of co-project owners (if any).

  • Michael Gurnis, gurnis at
  • Trond Torsvik, ‎t.h.torsvik at

3. Please provide the names, emails and entity affiliation of all official committers

At the current time the following software developers commit to the source code of the GPlates desktop application:

  • John Cannon, john.cannon at, Lead software developer
  • Michael Chin, michael.chin at, Software developer
  • Robin Watson, Robin.Watson at, Software engineer
  • Mark Turner, mturner at, Software engineer

4. Please describe your Project.

GPlates is desktop software for the interactive visualisation of plate-tectonics. GPlates offers a novel combination of interactive plate-tectonic reconstructions, geographic information system (GIS) functionality and raster data visualisation. GPlates enables both the visualisation and the manipulation of plate-tectonic reconstructions and associated data through geological time.

5. Why is hosting at OSGeo good for your project?

Actually we do not plan to host our project at OSGeo since we will continue to use the hosting arrangement we’ve used for almost a decade (web site, documentation, download, source code control, etc).

6. Type of application does this project represent(client, server, standalone, library, etc.):

GPlates is a standalone graphical desktop application that runs on Windows, MacOS X and Linux platforms. We also support a non-graphical Python library (exposing GPlates functionality for use in Python scripts).

7. Please describe any relationships to other open source projects.

GPlates has a strong link with CitcomS geodynamic modeling software. It also has links to other geodynamic software such as Terra and Underworld. It is also part of the AuScope Grid – a government e-research infrastructure designed to connect and interoperate with distributed tools and datasets. GPlates is built using the GDAL and PROJ4 (OSGeo) libraries, an open-source version of Qt application framework, CGAL (Computational Geometry Algorithms Library), Boost library, CMake build system and GLEW (OpenGL extensions).

8. Please describe any relationships with commercial companies or products.

GPlates software is widely used in industry (particularly the oil industry).

9. Which open source license(s) will the source code be released under?

GNU General Public License, version 2.

10. Is there already a beta or official release?

The GPlates graphical desktop application has been officially released bi-annually to the general public for almost a decade, and is currently at version 1.5. The non-graphical Python library will have its first public beta release at the end of 2015.

11. What is the origin of your project (commercial, experimental, thesis or other higher education, government, or some other source)?

Government and higher education. Professor Dietmar Muller started GPlates as an application for researchers at the University of Sydney supported by government funding.

12. Does the project support open standards? Which ones and to what extent? (OGC, w3c, ect.) Has the software been certified to any standard (CITE for example)? If not, is it the intention of the project owners to seek certification at some point?

The GPlates information model and file format (GPML) is built using the Geography Markup Language (GML - an OGC standard). GPlates also has partial support for Web Feature Service (WFS). GPlates is also looking into support for aspects of other OGC standards such as the symbology encoding standard.

13. Is the code free of patents, trademarks, and do you control the copyright?

As far as we are aware the code is free of patents and trademarks. The copyright is jointly owned by The University of Sydney, California Institute of Technology and The Geological Survey of Norway.

14. How many people actively contribute (code, documentation, other?) to the project at this time?

GPlates source code: 4

GPlates tutorials/documentation: various students and post-docs (intermittently)

15. How many people have commit access to the source code respository?

Approximately 10-20.

16. Approximately how many users are currently using this project?

GPlates has been downloaded over 55,000 times since it was first publicly released. And there are currently around 400 subscribers to our GPlates newsletter mailing list.

17. What type of users does your project attract (government, commercial, hobby, academic research, etc. )?

It is widely used in industry, academic institutions and government departments. We have a significant number of industry and academic subscribers to our GPlates announcement and newsletter mailing lists.

18. If you do not intend to host any portion of this project using the OSGeo infrastructure, why should you be considered a member project of the OSGeo Foundation?

GPlates has been open source right from the outset for a decade now and has benefited from the open source community (since it is built on top of existing open source software including OSGeo), so it really belongs in such a community. GPlates would also add visualization of plate tectonics to the OSGeo community.

19. Does the project include an automated build and test?

There is no automated build and test process.

20. What language(s) are used in this project? (C/Java/perl/etc)

C++ and Python.

21. What is the dominant written language (i.e. English, French, Spanish, German, etc) of the core developers?


22. What is the (estimated) size of a full release of this project? How many users do you expect to download the project when it is released?

Approximately 900Mb for a typical GPlates public release (includes all source code, platform-specific binary builds and sample data). Each public release is usually downloaded around 7,000 to 10,000 times (each download count is a single file, eg, a binary build for a specific platform – not the entire 900Mb).

Change History (2)

comment:1 by jive, 5 years ago

I note that this project has not yet attracted a mentor.

Would you be interested in contacting us on the incubation mailing list about joining the OSGeo Community program?

comment:2 by jive, 5 years ago

Resolution: fixed
Status: newclosed

Closing as this has entered incubation

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