Opened 12 years ago

Closed 9 years ago

#694 closed task (fixed)

Icubator Application: Marble Virtual Globe

Reported by: tackat Owned by: arnulf
Priority: major Milestone:
Component: Incubator Keywords: application
Cc: dmorissette


Here's Marble's application (v. 1.0.1) for OSGeo incubation. See


for more information about OSGeo.

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

Marble mailing list: marble-devel@… The Marble Developer mailing list is the preferred point of contact for all issues that are related to Marble..

Original Author & (Co)-Maintainer: Torsten Rahn <rahn@…>

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

The Marble source code is owned by its authors and is licensed under the LGPL 2+.

Marble's team consists of several individuals that feel responsible for a certain part of the source code. This responsibility is self-chosen and usually the result of a particular interest in a certain topic. As such it's subject to changes and has changed frequently in the past as Marble continues to grow and develop. An incomplete list of the current maintainers includes:

Dennis Nienhüser - Routing, Mobile version Bastian Holst - Online Plugins, Mobile version Thibaut Gridel - libgeodata, KML support Jens-Michael Hoffmann - Tile Loading, Blending, OSM support Bernhard Beschow - experimental OpenGL version, Custom Maps, API Design Sebastian Wiedenroth - Mac Packaging Christophe Leske, Patrick Spendrin - Window Packaging

and many others. Translations are done by the KDE translation team which has got its own language maintainers, see: Same goes for documentation, the webpage and other parts behind KDE's infrastructure.

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

See e.g.:

  1. Please describe your Project.

Marble client application (for users): Marble is a Virtual Globe and World Atlas that you can use to learn more about Earth: You can pan and zoom around and you can look up places and roads. A mouse click on a place label will provide the respective Wikipedia article. Of course it's also possible to measure distances between locations or watch the current cloud cover. Marble offers different thematic maps: A classroom-style topographic map, a satellite view, street map, earth at night and temperature and precipitation maps. All maps include a custom map key, so it can also be used as an educational tool for use in class-rooms. For educational purposes you can also change date and time and watch how the starry sky and the twilight zone on the map change. In opposite to other virtual globes Marble also features multiple projections: Choose between a Flat Map ("Plate carré"), Mercator or the Globe. The best of all: Marble is Free Software / Open Source Software and promotes the usage of free maps. And it's available for all major operating systems (Linux/Unix, MS Windows and Mac OS X).

Marble library (for developers):

Marble is a light weight generic geographical map component for use in your own Qt 4.x / C++ application. The MarbleWidget provides a ready-made solution for displaying maps and locations. This includes support for GPS tracking and importing KML/GPX files.

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

We do not plan to host the source code of Marble via OSGeo.

However as a Free Software geospatial project we share the ideas behind OSGeo and its primary goals: supporting and promoting the collaborative development of open geospatial technologies and data. By becoming a member of the OSGeo community we see a better chance for us to raise awareness of geospatial Free Software in general as well as about Marble.

See the answer to question 18 for more information.

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

The Marble application is a client that makes use of the Marble library ("libMarbleWidget"). There is a Qt-only version available as well as a version that also makes use of the KDE libraries The Marble library (libMarbleWidget) is a C++ library that is entirely and only based on Qt.

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

Marble is part of the KDE project. Right now the application and its library are shipped as part of KDE-EDU ( Marble allows for displaying OpenStreetMap data. As such we are in touch with OpenStreetMap and part of the community. Marble's feature set is mostly based on libMarbleWidget which has no other dependencies except for Qt. However Marble can optionally make use of other Open Source components such as libgpsd, monav, etc. to extend the feature set.

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

Marble is a community project which has mostly been developed by people in their sparetime as part of the KDE project. As part of the KDE community the Marble project has also successfully participated in the Google Summer of Code project during the last 4 years.

So far there have been no significant code contributions to Marble with commercial background. However we are about to launch a website that will offer support for Marble through companies that some developers are involved with:

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

The license of the Marble application and its library is LGPL 2+. The data shipped with Marble is covered by licenses that are provided in the spirit of the LGPL (or BSD license).

  1. Is there already a beta or official release?

Yes. The current stable version is Marble 1.0.0 which got released as part of the KDE 4.6 release on January 26th 2011. We are working towards the next stable releases Marble 1.1 (end of March 2011) and Marble 1.2. Marble 1.2 will get released as part of the KDE 4.7, see: .

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

Marble was originally started as a hobby project by Torsten Rahn. After some months of development it was imported into KDE's SVN repository. Together with Inge Wallin the first public Marble release (v. 0.3) had been prepared as part of the KDE project. Since then Marble's developer community has continously grown. And nowadays Marble is a flourishing community project of people working on Marble in their sparetime.

  1. 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?

Supporting and promoting the idea of Free Software, Free Maps and Open Standards is Marble's primary mission. We support open standards such as the OGC KML standard, GPX, OSM and the usual ones that are common among Free Software developers. Marble's internal data structures are modelled after KML. Internally all data is passed as a KML document.

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

As far as we know Marble itself is free of patents and trademarks. The only related trademarks are "KDE" and "Marble" which are held by the KDE e.V.. Marble's copyright is held by its authors and the code is released under the LGPL 2+.

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

Marble has got a very active big community of users and developers. About a dozen people per month are actively involved with developing the source code. However this number doesn't take small patches, fixes, documentation and translation into account. The total amount of people involved with Marble development according to Ohloh has certainly exceeded 100 already: see: (this doesn't include contributors without repository access).

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

See e.g.:

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

Marble has been shipped as part of each KDE 4 release. As such it's distributed with all major Linux distributions and these days is often getting installed as part of the default installation. Marble is also available for the Windows platform and for Mac OS X.

There are several figures available that indicate that Marble is being actively used by at least tenthousands of people, e.g.

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

Marble attracts all kinds of users. We know about government users and users who use Marble to display their scientific data. Some projects using Marble are listed under: Recently the austrian publisher "Hölzel" has started to ship his "Kozenn" atlas together with "Geothek" which is a product based on Marble, see:

  1. 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?

We do not intend to be hosted by OSGeo, since the technical infrastructure around Marble is already provided by the KDE community. The KDE e.V. ( is a foundation that serves as an umbrella organization of the KDE project and as such helps to support the infrastructure of the KDE project. The Marble projects has its roots deep in the KDE community and has a good relationship to the KDE e.V.. The KDE e.V. serves as an umbrella organization which promotes Free Software, Open Standards, the "Free Culture" and Qt as well as KDE. And we are pretty happy with the KDE e.V. as an umbrella organization that covers these aspects.

KDE and its KDE e.V. also support the idea of open geospatial technologies and data. However it is not the primary mission of the KDE e.V.. This is where OSGeo becomes appealing for us:

As a Free Software geospatial project we share the ideas behind OSGeo and its primary goals: supporting and promoting the collaborative development of open geospatial technologies and data. We'd like to help the OSGeo community in following this mission: We'd like to promote open/free mapping data as well as OpenSource/FreeSoftware geospatial applications. And we feel that a closer relationship between Marble and OSGeo would be mutually beneficial for both OSGeo and Marble to reach users and developers that haven't been accessible for each alone before.

We see lots of opportunities by having a shared umbrellaship via KDE (to cover infrastructure and the aspect of FreeSoftware) and OSGeo (to cover the promotion of open geospatial technologies and data).

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

Yes, as part of the automated builds and tests of the KDE project. The KDE project has automated test builds. The results of these test builds are available via dash board. Also we are making use of QA tools such as the static code checker Krazy: as part of the KDE hosting.

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

The Marble library and the Marble application are fully based on C++ and the Qt library.

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


  1. 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?

We try to keep packages for Marble around 10-20 MB. There are certainly ten-thousands of people who download our software and our software gets distributed to millions of possible users.

Change History (6)

comment:1 by dmorissette, 12 years ago

Cc: dmorissette added
Component: Systems AdminIncubator
Owner: changed from sac@… to warmerdam

comment:2 by dmorissette, 12 years ago

Owner: changed from warmerdam to dmorissette

comment:3 by warmerdam, 12 years ago

Keywords: application added
Summary: Marble Virtual Globe - OSGeo incubationIcubator Application: Marble Virtual Globe

Adjusted keyword so it shows up in the pending incubation application query.

comment:4 by jive, 10 years ago

Owner: changed from dmorissette to jive

comment:5 by arnulf, 10 years ago

Owner: changed from jive to arnulf
Status: newassigned

comment:6 by arnulf, 9 years ago

Resolution: fixed
Status: assignedclosed

Marble has successfully graduated from Incubation:

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