QGIS a constantly growing free and open-source geospatial software contributing to scientific development


  • Marcela Rosas-Chavoya Programa Institucional de Doctorado en Ciencias Agropecuarias y Forestales. Universidad Juárez del Estado de Durango, Durango 34239, México https://orcid.org/0000-0002-3193-5373
  • José Luis Gallardo-Salazar Facultad de Ciencias Forestales. Universidad Juárez del Estado de Durango, Durango 34239, México https://orcid.org/0000-0002-6172-2942
  • Pablito Marcelo López-Serrano Instituto de Silvicultura e Industria de la Madera. Universidad Juárez del Estado de Durango, Durango 34239, México
  • Pedro Camilo Alcántara-Concepción Departamento de Ingeniería Geomática e Hidráulica, División de Ingenierías. Universidad de Guanajuato, Guanajuato, 36000, México
  • Ana Karen León-Miranda Copter Log Services GmbH, Klagenfurt am Wörthersee, 9020, Austria




Open-source software, QGIS, collaborative network, geospatial science, scientific contributions


QGIS is the most popular free geospatial software in the world. QGIS belongs to the Open-Source Geospatial Foundation (OSGeo). Among the main strengths of this Geographic Information Systems are: the incorporation of tools via plugins, and a community of users and developers in constant growth. Despite the importance on the use of QGIS on the scientific community, to date there are no systematic studies indicating how the acceptance of this software has evolved through time. Therefore, the objective of this research was to characterize the scientific production and extent where QGIS has been used as their main geospatial tool. We conducted a bibliometric analysis of documents published in Scopus from 2005 to 2020 (931 manuscripts). The annual rate of publications increase was 40.3%. We found strong and positive correlations regarding the number of contributing code programmers (r=0.66, p<0.005); and the total income of the QGIS project (r=0.88, p<0.001). Seventy-two percent of the publications were included in six fields of study, being Earth and Planetary Sciences the most representative. Italy was the country with larger scientific production, while the USA was the most influential country (being the first, regarding the number of citations). In terms of the countries, the larger number of papers found were from Portugal, Italy, Brazil, and France. The International Archives of the Photogrammetry Remote Sensing and Spatial Information Sciences - ISPRS Archives stands among journals with the largest number of publications (47). In terms of collaborative networks among countries, we found strong links between authors from Germany, Switzerland, Greece, and Spain. Author network analysis showed three solid networks in different fields of study. We observed a favorable trend in the acceptance of QGIS across the world and a widespread development of collaborative networks. The present paper allowed increase the knowledge of geographic information systems, especially the development of scientific production using QGIS.


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How to Cite

Rosas-Chavoya M, Gallardo-Salazar JL, López-Serrano PM, Alcántara-Concepción PC, León-Miranda AK. QGIS a constantly growing free and open-source geospatial software contributing to scientific development. CIG [Internet]. 2022 May 17 [cited 2024 Feb. 26];48(1):197-213. Available from: https://publicaciones.unirioja.es/ojs/index.php/cig/article/view/5143