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The predominate software in GIS is ArcGIS by Esri. It can be expensive and has a learning curve for users, but is extremely robust and as noted, is predominate in the GIS industry. Can be used in a desktop, server or web environment.
Open source, free to you! Self-described as "particularly useful for mapping and analyzing biodiversity data, such as the distribution of species, or other 'point-distributions'".
Google Earth & Google Earth Pro
Very popular software created by Google. Easy to use for anyone comfortable with a computer and its most popular use is to locate the house where you grew up. Google Earth Pro has increased functionality, among which is the ability to make movies of 'to
Commonly referred to as GRASS is a free and open source GIS software suite. Best for those who are comfortable using command line rather than graphical user interface.
Manifold® System - The Ultimate GIS and Mapping Package!
A relative newcomer to the GIS market. Windows based and self-stated as Vista compatible and runs in a 64-bit environment.
Whether you are visualizing millions of rows of data, tracking assets in real time, routing fleets around traffic, or making your app look beautiful, Mapbox is a platform that powers location and lets you build the experience in your app.
A long time player in the GIS software market. Made by Pitney Bowes, and it is reasonable to say that MapInfo has held the position of the second most used GIS for a number of years.
MapWindow GIS Open Source Project
A new open source GIS software created from the Idaho State University Geospatial Software Lab.
OSGeo - Open Source Geospatial Foundation
This organization is specifically positioned to "support and build the highest-quality open source geospatial software". Has a great tool that helps you find an open source technology that best fits your needs.
Portable GIS v.3 on a stick - Computing, GIS and Archaeology in the UK
This tool offers the ability to start up with a fully open source stack of GIS software on a USB stick. We can't attest to its functionality as we haven't used it personally, but it sounds extremely interesting with great potential.
Create, edit, visualize, analyse and publish geospatial information on Windows, Mac, Linux, BSD (Android coming soon). An official project of Osgeo with frequent updates.
R Project for Statistical Computing
A computing language and an "environment within which statistical techniques are implemented". Becoming increasingly used in conjunction with GIS analysis.
Self-desribed: "SimplyAnalytics is a web-based mapping application that lets users quickly create professional-quality thematic maps and reports using powerful demographic, business, and marketing data." This is a for-sale GIS-like software product. GIS data (formerly known as SimplyMap).
An inexpensive but powerful image manager/remote sensing software for use with the Windows operating system. Works particularly well with HDF, netCDF, SeaWiFS, MODIS, and SST products.