ILWIS: Wikis


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Developer(s) 52° North
Stable release 3.5 Open / 2007-07-01; 2 years ago
Operating system MS-Windows
Type Geographic information system
License GPL
Website 52°North Product page

ILWIS (Integrated Land and Water Information System) is a GIS / Remote sensing software for both vector and raster processing. ILWIS features include digitizing, editing, analysis and display of data as well as production of quality maps.

ILWIS was initially developed and distributed by ITC Enschede (International Institute for Geo-Information Science and Earth Observation) in the Netherlands for use by its researchers and students, but since 1 July 2007 it has been distributed under the terms of the GNU General Public License and is thus free software.[1][2] The current version is ILWIS 3.5 Open. Similar to the GRASS GIS in many respects - but more user-friendly -, ILWIS is currently available natively only on Microsoft Windows. However, a Linux Wine manual has been made available.[3]



In late 1984, ITC was awarded a grant from the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which led to the development of a Geographic Information System (GIS) which could be used as a tool for land use planning and watershed management studies. By the end of 1988 the DOS version 1.0 of the Integrated Land and Water Information System (ILWIS) was released. Two years later, ILWIS was made commercial with ITC establishing a worldwide distributors network. ILWIS 2.0 for Windows was released at the end of 1996, and ILWIS 3.0 by mid 2001. On 1 January 2004, ILWIS 3.2 was released as a shareware (one month trial offer).Since July 1 2007, ILWIS has been distributed as an open source software under GPL license.[4]


Release history

This table is based on the release notes of ILWIS.

Old Version Current Version Future Version
Branch Version Release date Significant changes
3.1 3.1 April 2002
Patch 3.11 September 2002 Direct import of Aster satellite images level 1a and 1b, including all needed geometric and radiometric corrections. This functionality is integrated in the Import Map Wizard.
Stereopair from DTM - Stereo pair from DTM operation creates a stereo pair from a single raster map and a Digital Terrain Model (DTM). These stereo pairs have the same usability as the Epipolar Stereo Pair.
Patch 3.12a August 2003 ID Grid map - creates a polygon map given a coordinate system and an attribute table. The polygon map consists of rectangular grid cells with a unique ID and can be linked to a table with attribute data when sample data is available.
Spherical Distance option was added to the operations Spatial Correlation, Cross Variogram, Nearest Point, Moving Average, Moving Surface, Kriging and CoKriging. This option calculates distances over the sphere instead of in a plane.
Export to ArcPad .PRJ - ILWIS coordinate systems can be exported to an ArcPad .prj file.
3.2 3.2 January, 2004 Spatial Multiple Criteria Evaluation (SMCE)
Hydrologic Flow Operations
Find Datum Parameters Wizard
GARtrip import
Patch 3.21 August, 2004 Extensions in Spatial Multiple Criteria Evaluation - Slicing, histograms, aggregated values, and an improvement in class map standardization.
Improvement in calling external executable files - Support for parameter passing, wait-till-finished option and error handling, and inclusion in a script as part of a batch process.
Support for coordinates for images from the MeteoSat-8 satellite.
3.3 3.3 September 2005 The SMCE application extended with overlay of reference maps, combination of spatial and non-spatial MCE, and interactive function graphs for standardization.
New applications for DEM hydro-processing implemented, like topological optimization, drainage network extraction, catchment extraction, horton statistics etc.
Georeferencing with additional supports up to 8 fiducial marks, sub-pixel precision and 3D coordinate transformations using 7 or 10 datum parameters.
Import and export using the GDAL library.
Projections for geostationary satellites.
Calculation and statistical functions for map lists.
3.4 3.4 Open July 1, 2007 GPL version from 52° N with proprietary components removed.


ILWIS building currently relies on the Microsoft Visual 2008 compile environment which will be switched over to the GCC compiler. After successful completion of the migration to GCC, the plan is to break down ILWIS Open into individual components. To reuse and deploy ILWIS’ GIS and image processing functionality also in spatial data infrastructures (SDI), its functions will be offered in an open framework as distributed services, in two ways:

  1. As java service proxies accessible to programmers and
  2. As OGC - based services accessible to client applications.

The framework supports the search and access of services through a service registry and can be used together with client tools like uDig.[4]


ILWIS uses GIS techniques that integrate image processing capabilities, a tabular database and conventional GIS characteristics.[5] The major features include:

  • Integrated raster and vector design[6]
  • On-screen and tablet digitizing
  • Comprehensive set of image processing tools
  • Orthophoto, image georeferencing, transformation and mosaicing
  • Advanced modeling and spatial data analysis
  • 3D visualization[7] with interactive editing for optimal view findings
  • Rich projection and coordinate system library
  • Geostatistical analyses, with Kriging for improved interpolation[8]
  • Import and export using the GDAL library
  • Advanced data management
  • WYSIWYG Layout editor to position annotation and multiple map views on scale
  • Advanced Data Storage
  • Stereoscopy tools - To create a stereo pair from two aerial photographs
  • Transparency to display raster and polygon maps
  • Pyramid layers for fast display of large raster maps
  • ADO/ODBC to access databases
  • Hydrologic Flow Operations
  • GARtrip import - Map Import allows the import of GARtrip Text files with GPS data
  • Spatial Multiple Criteria Evaluation (SMCE)
  • DEM operations[9]
  • Variable Threshold Computation, to help preparing a threshold map for drainage network extraction
  • Horton Statistics [10], to calculate the number of streams, the average stream length, the average area of catchments for Strahler stream orders
  • Georeference editors


Applications in Earth Sciences

Applied geomorphology and Natural hazards

Engineering geology

Surface hydrology

  • Watershed area management studies[16]
  • Irrigation water requirement[17]
  • Irrigation area characteristics
  • Determination of peak runoff
  • Morgan approach for erosion modelling

Hydro geology


  • Remote sensing and GIS techniques applied to geological survey
  • Geological data integration

Applications in Environmental Management

Neighborhood modelling

  • Modelling with neighbourhood operators
  • Extracting topographic and terrain variables for distributed models

Data combination

  • Tools for map analysis applied to the selection of a waste disposal site

Soil pollution management

  • Environmental chemistry of contaminated soils[19]

Land Resource and Urban Surveys

Urban surveys

  • Updating a land use map with oblique air photos
  • Analysis of urban change and spatial pattern
  • Analysis of suitability for urban expansion

Land use planning

  • Analysing the fuelwood demand
  • Vegetation cover studies[20]
  • Land resource management[21]
  • Regional economic planning[22]

Soil surveys

Global radiation studies

Application in Cartography

Other Applications


ILWIS Open Source, is very user-friendly, and it has very powerful GIS analysis modules, but it currently lacks the Importing modules through proprietary PCI's GeoGateway, which has been removed in version 3.4 open and later. The available GDAL library is not so well integrated.[28]

See also


  1. ^ . Having been used by thousands of students and hundreds of professors for more than 2 decades, ILWIS has become one of the most user-friendly integrated vector and raster software programmes currently available. ILWIS has some very powerful raster analysis modules, a high-precision and flexible vector and point digitizing module, a variety of very practical tools, as well as a great variety of user guides and training modules all available for downloading. "ITC's GIS software ILWIS migrates to open source". 2007-01-30. Retrieved 2007-06-26.  
  2. ^ "ILWIS 3.4 Open". 52°North. 2007-03-27. Retrieved 2007-07-01.  
  3. ^ "ILWIS in Linux". World Institute for Conservation and Environment, WICE. Retrieved 2009-11-19.  
  4. ^ a b "FOSS4G 2007 : ILWIS and 52°North: From closed source to open source and interoperable image services". Retrieved 2007-07-02.  
  5. ^ Spiteri (1997). Remote Sensing 96 Integrated Applications (1 ed.). Taylor & Francis. pp. 380. ISBN 905410855X.  
  6. ^ Wim Koolhoven and Jelle Wind (1996). "Domains in ILWIS: system knowledge about meaning of data". Proceedings of the second joint European conference & exhibition on Geographical information, Barcelona, Spain (IOS Press) I: 77–80. ISBN 90-5199-268-8. OCLC 164762055.  
  7. ^ A Partovi (2003) (PDF). Suitability Study Of ASTER Data Geometry To Digitize Contour Lines In ILWIS. Master degree thesis.  
  8. ^ J Hendrikse (2000). "GEOSTATISTICS IN ILWIS". International Archives of Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing (INTERNATIONAL SOCIETY FOR PHOTOGRAMMETRY AND REMOTE SENSING).  
  9. ^ Nag, S. K. (2000). "DIGITAL ELEVATION MODELING USING ILWIS 2.1 IN PARTS OF PURULIA DISTRICT, WEST BENGAL. INDIA". International Archives of Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing (INTERNATIONAL SOCIETY FOR PHOTOGRAMMETRY AND REMOTE SENSING) 33 (B$/2): 726–733. ISSN 0256-1840.  
  11. ^ E.J.M. Carranza and O.T. Castro (2003). "PREDICTIVE MAPPING OF LAHAR-INUNDATION HAZARD ZONES: EXAMPLE FROM WEST PINATUBO AREA, PHILIPPINES" ( – Scholar search). 2003 Annual Conference of International Association of Mathematical Geology (International Association of Mathematical Geology).  
  12. ^ SK Jain, RD Singh, SM Seth (2000). "Design Flood Estimation Using GIS Supported GIUHApproach" (PDF). Water Resources Management (Springer).  
  13. ^ BOCCO, GERARDO; VALENZUELA, CARLOSR (1988). "Integration of GIS and image processing in soil erosion studies using ILWIS (Integrated Land and Watershed Management Information System)". ITC Journal (no. 4): pp. 309–319.  
  15. ^ Rautela, P.; S. S. Pant (2007). "New methodology for demarcating high road accident risk-prone stretches in mountain roads" (PDF). Current Science 92 (8): 1157.  
  17. ^ UTSET Angel; LOPEZ Gilberto; Dolman A.J.; Hall A.J.; Kavvas M.L.; Oki T.; Pomeroy J.W. (2001). "Regional mechanistic estimations of sugar-cane water use". IAHS-AISH publication (International Association of Hydrological Sciences) (270): 35–40. ISBN 1-901502-61-9. OCLC 48026362.  
  18. ^ Aubazhagan, S. Aschenbrenner, F. Knoblich, K. (1999). "Geographic information system for artificial recharge study in Germany". Geoscience and Remote Sensing Symposium, 1999, IGARSS '99 Proceedings (IEEE 1999 International) 5: 2380–2382. ISSN 0-7803-5207-6.  
  19. ^ GEORGES EKOSSE1; PAUL S. FOUCHE (2005). "Using GIS to understand the environmental chemistry of manganese contaminated soils, Kgwakgwe area, Botswana". Journal of Applied Sciences and Environmental Management (World Bank assisted National Agricultural Research Project (NARP) - University of Port Harcourt) 9 (2): 37–42. ISSN 1119-8362.  
  20. ^ M. Farahnak Ghazani, K. Najibzadeh and M. A. Ghahremani (2004). "ESTIMATION OF VEGETATION COVER BY USING LANDSAT ETM+ DATA" (PDF). The Joint Agriculture and Natural Resources Symposium, Tabriz – Ganja, May 14-16.  
  21. ^ Qiming Zhou (1995). "The Integration of GIS and Remote Sensing for Environmental and Land Resource Management" (PDF). Proceedings of GIS AM/FM ASIA’95 Conference: C–2–1–C–2–9.  
  22. ^ Qiming Zhou (1994). "Use of Remote Sensing and GIS for Environmentally Sound Regional Economic Planning" (PDF). 1994 Institute of Australian Geographers Conference.  
  23. ^ Farshad, A. (1994). "Spectral image analysis in soil micromorphology with ILWIS". Itc Journal (ITC) (2): 168. ISSN 0303-2434.  
  24. ^ J. O., P. Kisoyan and M. C. Chemelil1 (2005). "Estimation of Potential Soil Erosion for River Perkerra Catchment in Kenya". Water Resources Management (Springer Netherlands) 19 (2): 133–143. doi:10.1007/s11269-005-2706-5. ISSN 0920-4741.  
  25. ^ Renschler, C.; Diekkrueger, B.; Mannaerts, C. (1999). Regionalization in surface runoff and soil erosion risk evaluation. IAHS Publication (International Association of Hydrological Sciences). pp. 233–241.  
  26. ^ Kandirmaz, H. M. Yegingil, L. Pestemalci, V. Emrahoglu, N. (2004). "Daily global solar radiation mapping of Turkey using Meteosat satellite data". International Journal of Remote Sensing (Taylor & Francis) 25 (II): 2159–2168. doi:10.1080/01431160310001618743. ISSN 0143-1161.  
  27. ^ Kushwaha, S. P. S.; A. Khan, B. Habib, A. Quadri, A. Singh (2004). "Evaluation of sambar and muntjak habitats using geostatistical modelling." (PDF). Current Science 86 (10): 1390–1400.  
  28. ^ "Importing .img to ILWIS". Retrieved 2007-01-12.  

External links


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