GvSIG CE 1.0.0 beta 1 release notes

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gvSIG Community Edition 1.0.0 (Berlin) beta 1

Project home: http://www.gvsigce.org

Sourceforge.net site: http://sourceforge.net/projects/gvsigce/

Downloads: https://sourceforge.net/projects/gvsigce/files/beta-1/

Update 2014-05-30: Mac OS X 10.9 (Maverick) users: please read the Mac OS X notes.


GvSIG Community Edition (gvSIG CE) is a completely free and open source desktop GIS written mainly in Java. It is a community-driven fork of the open source gvSIG that merges all new features, improvements and bug fixes from the gvSIG OADE 2010, gvSIG 1.10, 1.11 and 1.12 code bases. It also incorporates some third-party extensions, and many contributions by the gvSIG CE developers and community. This software is a collaborative achievement. The gvSIG CE project team wishes to thank all gvSIG CE developers, contributors and sponsors for their great work.

This is the first beta release of gvSIG CE 1.0.0 (codename "Berlin"). Beta status means that the software is nearly complete, but still has some defects or missing features that the developers want to deal with before declaring it fit for productive use. Nevertheless, gvSIG CE has been making tremendous progress since we released our "Technical Preview". With this beta release, we want to give everyone a chance to experience this progress for themselves.

First and foremost, however, a beta version is released for intensive testing by the community. So please download, enjoy and report any bugs or problems to the mailing lists or (preferably) directly on the bug tracker. Provided that no critical problems are reported that necessitate a second beta release, this beta will lead up to one or more "Release Candidates" (RC) and eventually to the final release 1.0.0. You can watch our progress towards this goal on the bug tracker Roadmap.

New features and improvements

This section lists the new most important features and improvements since the release of the gvSIG CE Technical Preview.

Base application

  • Fully portable, zero installation, (almost) zero configuration.
  • Distributions for all OS come with bundled, pre-configured Java Runtime Environment.
  • Entire code base lifted to OpenJDK 7 (Java 1.7), 64 bit.
  • All binaries (also non-Java, such as bundled GRASS GIS) are now 64 bit.
  • Uses G1 garbage collector for more predictable, more efficient memory management.
  • Monitoring of RAM and CPU resources in status bar.
  • New Marlin rasterizer for up to 400% display speed-ups.
  • Better handling of error messages (Deputación Pontevedra, Prodevelop SL).
  • Relative project file paths passed on the command line are now correctly resolved.

User interface (GUI)

  • New main menu structure, new icons, no more hiding of menu entries or icons.
  • Data editing and selection tools have been re-grouped in two separate menus.
  • No more duplicate tools for context-sensitive actions (e.g. "undo", "copy", "properties", etc.).
  • All context-sensitive tools available through main menu.
  • Selectable tools now indicate their status correctly in icon bar and main menu.
  • Sane default tools for Views and Maps automatically activated.
  • Improved look and feel for cross-platform "Plastic XP" GUI theme.
  • Made all non-modal dialogs resizable.
  • More precise display of coordinates in status bar.
  • Mac OS and Windows versions now use native look and feel by default.

Vector layer management

  • Automatic loading and applying of vector layer styles.
  • Save new symbols with relative paths.
  • Load/save attribute schema from/to XML file.
  • OpenCAD by [cartolab.udc.es Cartolab], with many new tools and bug fixes, replaces the old CAD vector data editor.
  • Interval-based symbology works correctly with negative interval boundaries.
  • Pan and zoom in CAD editor during digitizing using ALT+left/right/up/down/+/- keys.

Raster layer management

  • Moved raster tools into main menu system.
  • Re-enabled image overviews/pyramids with additional creation options.
  • Support for WMS protocol version 1.3.

Map layout

  • Link visibility of map document elements to visibility of layers.
  • Export map layouts to raster formats (PNG, TIFF, JPEG)
  • Synchronize legend labels with View contents.
  • New DPI settings, defaults and PDF export options for map layouts (Cartolab, Deputación Pontevedra, Prodevelop SL).
  • Updated PDF renderer for map layouts to iText 4.2.1.

Project management

  • Directly create, rename and remove Views, Maps and Tables from main menu.
  • Unified connection management for all types of databases (Deputación Pontevedra, Prodevelop SL).
  • New layer order manager: points above lines, above polygons, above rasters (Deputación Pontevedra, Prodevelop SL).
  • Creation of non-spatial tables via Project Manager.
  • "Save" function is only enabled if the user actually modified some part of the project.
  • New "idle pointer" prevents unintended triggering of actions such as zooming when switching between Views.

Reference systems and reprojection

  • Updated internal copy of EPSG database to version 8.1.
  • Updated (re)projection engine to PROJ.4 version 4.8.0.
  • Support of EPSG 5806 as an XY, non-world, unprojected coordinate reference system.

Geodata drivers and storage backends

  • Support for PostGIS 2.0.
  • Support for 3D geometries in PostGIS databases [cartolab.udc.es (Cartolab)].
  • Support storage of spatial and non-spatial data in SQLite file databases.
  • Updated to GDAL/OGR 1.11, providing more geodata file formats (read-only): esri File Geodatabase, MapInfo, IDRISI, ArcInfo/E00, etc.
  • Dropped custom JNI bindings for GDAL/OGR. We now use official bindings from the GDAL project.

Processing (SEXTANTE)

  • GRASS plug-in: Direct, much faster access to raster data via GDAL.
  • GRASS plug-in: Switched to SQLite for faster, more flexible attribute data storage.
  • GRASS plug-in (Windows): Progress bars work now.
  • GRASS plug-in (Windows): Vector modules work on 64 bit systems.
  • Redesigned settings system.
  • Portability improvements.
  • Vastly improved graphical modeler.


  • New function to force reloading of a layer's data at any time.
  • Function to directly add an existing layer to the overview map.
  • Auto-generated numeric prefixes to avoid duplicate layer names.
  • 76 new colour schemes for diverging, qualitative, sequential and "visual" data (Kevin Wells).
  • Unified and improved colour scheme management for raster and vector layers.
  • Many additional improvements and bug fixes.

How to install and run this software

Download the package for your operating system from the URL given at the top of this page. Then unpack the contents anywhere in your file system. No further installation is necessary.

To run gvSIG CE on Linux, launch "gvSIGCE.sh", on Windows, double-click "gvSIG.bat", on Mac OS X, double-click the App folder.

To fine-tune gvSIG CE for better perfomance on your system (not necessary in most cases), edit the script(s) listed above with any plain text editor. The tuning options are explained in detail within the scripts.

To enable support for GRASS GIS modules, go to "Processing->Processing Settings...". Then change to the "GRASS" settings page. Make sure that the "Activate support for GRASS GIS" option is selected. If you want to use the bundled GRASS version (default and highly recommended), make sure that "Portable" is also selected. Then click on "Reload GRASS modules". Finally, click "Ok" to exit the settings dialog.

Requirements and OS notes

Starting with this release, gvSIG CE is fully and exclusively 64 bit software. We no longer maintain 32 bit binaries. The benefits of running a GIS, particularly a GIS written in Java, on a 64 bit system are undeniable. You will have more memory available that can be handled more efficiently by the Java Virtual Machine's memory manager. This greatly increases your ability to process large datasets. The amount of memory available to the GIS is only limited by your computer's physical RAM. On all systems, gvSIG CE now comes with a bundled Java 1.7 (OpenJDK) runtime.


Linux binaries have been built on a Ubuntu 10.04 LTS distribution, with GCC 4.4.3 and glibc 11.1. They should work on any Linux distribution that was released in 2010 or later. Linux is the primary OS for most gvSIG CE developers, and as such it is the best supported.

Mac OS X

The binaries for Mac OS X should work with Mac OS releases 10.7.3 and newer. If you are a Mac user, then please provide us with some feedback! Mac OS X support still lags behind that for Linux and Windows, but it has been improving rapidly with the release of OpenJDK 7 for Mac OS X. We will do our best to remove the few remaining problems that Mac users currently have to face. For now, the most important things to remember are to (1) use a two-button mouse, and (2) do not exit gvSIG CE via "gvSIG CE->Quit gvSIG CE", but rather via "Project->Exit...".

On Mac OS X 10.9 (Maverick) a small work-around must be applied to run gvSIG CE:

  1. Open the gvSIG CE App folder and change into "Contents/Frameworks".
  2. Delete the two files that start with "libsqlite3."
  3. When you launch gvSIG CE for the first time, you might be told that "To open Java you need to install X11". If so, then download and install the XQuartz server manually.


Windows binaries have been built using MinGW-w64 on a 64 bit Windows 7 system. They should work fine on Windows Vista, 7 and 8(.1), but only Windows 7 has been tested by us. We no longer support Windows XP.

Updating from previous versions

Starting with this version, gvSIG CE will use a folder called "gvSIGCE", located in your home folder, to store program settings and other user-defined data. If this folder does not exist, gvSIG CE will create it with new default settings on start-up. When updating from a previous version of gvSIG (CE or otherwise) you can copy your user-defined items, such as symbols, to the new settings folder, then re-start gvSIG CE. However, be aware that we have made many changes to the gvSIG CE user setting defaults, so copying over old settings may result in problems.

Known problems

This is a beta version. That means we know that it has some defects. However, we also think that it is stable enough for you to try out and enjoy all the new features that have been added since the last official release.

Currently, the most significant problems (to be fixed for the nearest RC release) are:

  • The new menu entries and icon tooltips have only been translated to English and German so far.
  • There are still some bad and missing translations around. It will take us a long time to clean up this up.
  • The "Network" tools are not working. Attempting to create a new network using the wizard will freeze the program.
  • Some non-modal dialogs have bad resizing behaviour. Improving all tool dialogs is another major task that will go on well beyond the 1.0.0 release. You can help by reporting particularly bad designs and making suggestions for usability improvements.
  • Saving changes to the project: We have changed the way in which the "Save Project" function works. It will only be enabled if there are actual changes to the project. Likewise, gvSIG CE will not always ask you to save changes when exiting the program. Unfortunately, there are still places where changes do not register correctly and the "Save" function will not be enabled. You then have two options: (1) Use "Save Project As..." and overwrite the existing file, or (2) move around a View, Map or Table window. Changes to the arrangement of these internal windows are registered by the change tracker and will enable the "Save" function. Be patient while we find and fix all the places with missing change tracking. If you find any, you can report them via this bugtracker ticket.
  • Editing of non-spatial tables: It is currently not possible to add new rows (records) to tables that are not attribute tables. For now, you can use the "NavTable" interface ("Layer->Show Record Form") to add a new record to a table.
  • Command Stack and Undo/Redo are not working reliably, so save your changes often!
  • Editing of vector layers other than Shapefile, DXF and PostGIS may be started, but edits can not be saved.
  • Project Views with WCS raster layers cannot be restored.
  • Since toolbar icons are no longer hidden in contexts to which they do not apply, you will get an enormous amount of icons on the screen on first start-up. You can reduce the clutter by choosing which toolbars to display under "Tools->Toolbars".

The complete list of open problems can be found on our bug tracker. There is also a Known Problems section on our wiki. For further questions or comments, please write to the gvSIG CE user mailing list. Please do not contact the gvSIG developers via private email for the purpose of getting technical problems resolved.

Missing and discontinued features

We have disabled some features and extensions that are currently in an unstable state and cannot be used for productive work. They will be re-enabled for gvSIG CE 1.0.x, once we have improved them to a usable state.

The Raster and Remote Sensing tools have been reviewed and those that were found to be broken have been removed. They can be replaced with tools from SEXTANTE/GRASS/SAGA until we have decided to either fix or drop them entirely. All currently working tools have been either integrated into the main menu or the SEXTANTE Toolbox.

In addition, as part of our stream-lining effort for making the code base more maintainable, we have begun the process of cleaning gvSIG CE from all proprietary code. Most prominently, this includes ECW and MrSID drivers, Oracle Spatial and ArcSDE support, as well as the Java DWG format drivers. Long-term maintainance of proprietary and closed-source components or reverse-engineering support for undisclosed file formats and protocols is not possible within the framework of an open source project such as gvSIG CE. Since we could also not see any significant technological benefits of any of the above listed formats, we decided to drop support for them.

Support for SAGA GIS and R has been disabled by default. Both interfaces will be re-enabled in a later release, when they are deemed usable. If you really want to have SAGA GIS and R support in the current release, pass "-DgvSIG.expFeatures" (experimental features support) to the JVM (edit "gvSIG.ini" on Windows, otherwise "gvSIGCE.sh").

There may be other functionality that was disabled for this release. If you miss anything, let us know via the user mailing list; please bear with us while we either fix things for future updates or provide better-working alternatives.