GeoTools : GeoTools Handout

Geotools handout

The following is content for a handout that will be given out at the Vancouver GIS Users poster presentation April 7, 2005.

Now (March 30, 2005) sent off to Refractions marketing guru.

It follows the same layout as Refraction's GeoServer and PostGIS handouts, which are 1 piece of paper (landscape), two sides, folded in thirds to give 6 panes. Panes are numbered left to right below.


Q: Is it GeoTools or Geotools?
A: Neither it is Geotools !
(When I created the project it was GeoTools - James)

Side 2, pane 3 - front cover


The open source Java GIS toolkit

<geotools logo image>

Side 1, pane 1 - first inside pane

About GeoTools

GeoTools is an open source Java GIS toolkit providing implementations of many Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC) specifications as they are developed. GeoTools is also associated with the GeoAPI project that creates geospatial, Java interfaces.

GeoTools code is built using the latest Java tools and environments and its modular architecture allows extra functionality to be easily incorporated. GeoTools code is released under the GNU Lesser General Public License (LGPL).

GeoTools includes the following features

  • Vector data access (features) for:
    • ESRI Shapefile
    • GML - OGC Geography Markup Language
    • WFS - OGC Web Feature Server
    • PostGIS
    • Oracle Spatial
    • ArcSDE
    • MySQL
  • Raster data access (grid coverages) for: +(footnote)
    • WMS - OGC Web Mapping Server
    • ArcGrid
    • GeoTIFF
    • Images georeferenced with a world file
  • Java Topology Suite (JTS) - with support for the OGC Simple Features Specification - used as the geometry model for vector features.
  • OGC Grid Coverage implementation backed by Java Advanced Imaging (JAI) API.
  • Implementation of OGC Coordinate Transformation Services providing coordinate reference systems, and coordinate transformations (map projections and datum transformations).
  • Two Renderers:
    • LiteRenderer - a 'stateless', low memory renderer, particularly useful in server-side environments.
    • J2D - a 'stateful' renderer with optimizations for update rate and good for interactive client-side displays.
  • Styling implements the OGC Styled Layer Descriptor (SLD) specification to symbolize data.
  • Support for the OGC Filter Encoding specification to specify a subset of features to operate on based on attribute and spatial constraints.
  • Graphs and networks.

+(footnote) current development branch

Side 1, pane 2 - second inside pane

<Continuation of feature list from above>

History <optional, depends on space>

The GeoTools library began in 1996 at the University of Leeds as part of a masters project to visualize the results produced by the Geographical Analysis Machine (GAM) over the web. The project developed into a toolkit, which was targeted at the Java Applet API and still exists as GeoTools-Lite.

The second generation of GeoTools started in 2002. Early on, the GeoServer project (supported by The Open Planning Project (TOPP)) helped push GeoTools functionality to the level they needed. Latter, code from the SeaGIS project was added to GeoTools providing coordinate transformations, grid coverages and one renderer.

The library has been fundamentally redesigned to take advantage of the full power of the Java platform. The clean start with a better design and larger development community ensure that the project will continue to improve into the future. It is a long term goal of the GeoTools project to refine its core API and become a standard API for Java geospatial development.

Side 1, pane 3 - third inside pane

Development Roadmap

Current GeoTools Release Version 2.0

  • Released January 2005
  • Above features without raster access.
  • Used for GeoServer 1.2

Upcoming GeoTools Release Version 2.1

  • April 2005
  • Implements GeoAPI interfaces for coordinate transformations and grid coverages
  • Used for uDig 1.0 and GeoServer 1.3

Future GeoTools Release Version 2.2

  • Further support for GeoAPI interfaces, including the new geometry model.

Side 2, pane 1 - pane seen when pamphlet opened

Who is using GeoTools


GeoServer is an OGC "Transactional Web Feature Server" (WFT-S) that provides read/write access to numerous data sources via standard internet protocols.


User-friendly Desktop Internet GIS (uDig) is an open source spatial data viewer/editor, with special emphasis on the Open Geospatial standards for internet GIS: the Web Map Server and Web Feature Server. uDig is built with on the eclipse framework, providing a common Java platform for building spatial applications with open source components.

Institut de Recherche pour le Développement

Uses GeoTools to make custom geographic tools to analyze the relationship between tuna behaviour and its environment. This study involves statistical analysis between remote sensing data (as GridCoverage3D, with time as the third dimension) and 150,000 fishery positions. Geotools is also used as the kernel for an information system related to water management in some Pacific islands.


A web site displaying historical census data as maps and graphs. The maps are served using OGC web map servers, the client is written in GeoTools and JSP. The server providing the statistical maps is also written using GeoTools.

<cool images showing off the renderer>

Side 2, pane 2 - back cover

What does it take to be GeoTools?

  • 138, 622 downloads
  • 24227 commits (12707 in Subversion, 11520 in CVS)
  • 10923 email messages (7721 emails on Geotools-devel alone)
  • 140 indeed's from James
  • 64 or more IRC meetings
  • 28 releases (12 geotools2, 16 other)
  • 24 active developers right now
  • 2 open source applications
  • 1 stable release

Development Team

GeoTools is produced by a global team of independent developers and organizations.

  • Exalted Leader: James Macgill
  • Project Management Committee: maintenance and future direction of the entire toolkit
  • Module Maintainers: maintain and oversee a specific GeoTools module
  • Committers: core group of twenty four active developers with source code access
  • Developers: larger community that submits patches

More Information

For more information about GeoTools and related projects, please visit these sites: