QGIS vs ArcGIS, A Brief Comparison

I remember first time installing Linux in 2012 after years using windows as the main operating system. It was Linux Mint (now I use Manjaro Linux) as I found it was the easiest distro according to many reviews. The installation was quite easy and Linux Mint came with office suite out of the box. As my PC was ready to run Linux for the first time, a dubiousness came to my mind. What is ArcGIS alternative to Linux? It was quite easy to find QGIS alternative on Linux but the choice was not as ubiquitous as Office alternative. Further dubiousness concerning QGIS was that it would not as powerful as ArcGIS as I found one of SPSS alternatives on Linux, PSPP, was pretty basic (yet later I found RStudio). After playing for some time with QGIS, I could say it’s just as capable as ArcGIS in terms of virtually everything. Unless you want to use the server which I found ArcGIS has advantages.

This article is trying to briefly review the difference between QGIS and ArcGIS, subjective to my judgment. Here’s the list:

  1. PricingQGIS is free of charge since QGIS is open source under the GNU General Public License including its extensions. On the contrary, ArcGIS price starts at USD 1500. Adding it with extensions, the price of ArcGIS easily reaches USD 5000 – 7000.
    QGIS has the advantage.
  2. Operating System Support
    QGIS supports Windows, Linux, Mac, and BSD. On the other hand, ArcGIS merely support single operating system, MS. Windows.
    QGIS has the advantage.
  3. Bit-computing
    QGIS is native 32 bit as well as 64 bit. ArcGIS is native solely 32 bit as it is moving to ArcGIS Pro supporting 64-bit processing. You can utilize 64-bit computing on ArcGIS using the extension (64-bit background processing). Why is this matter? 32 bit vs 64-bit processing become increasingly important if we process big raster data since 32-bit computing can only handle Random Access Memory up to 4GB.
    QGIS has the advantage.
  4. Menu and Documentation simplicity
    ArcGIS menu is quite user-friendly. It provides documentation how data (vector or raster) can be easily exhibited. QGIS, on the other hand, is not as simple as ArcGIS in this matter.
    ArcGIS has the advantage.
  5. Type of data
    QGIS utilizes GDAL/OGR library to register GIS data format, supporting over 70 vector formats. ArcGIS support far less than QGIS in this respect.
    QGIS has the advantage.
  6. Coordinate systems and projections
    QGIS supports for virtually 2.700 known the coordinate referencing system (CRS), as well as ArcGIS.
    Both ArcGIS and QGIS has the advantage.
  7. Adding base maps from the webQGIS supports TMS (Tile Map Service) out of the box. Conversely, ArcGIS’ support on TMS is somewhat complicated (not as easy as QGIS).
    QGIS has the advantage.

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