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SAGA screenshot.jpg
Developer(s) Dept. for Physical Geography, Hamburg (Germany), Dept. for Physical Geography, Göttingen (Germany), SAGA User Group Association (from May 2005)
Initial release February 2004
Stable release 2.1.2 / 9 May 2014 (2014-05-09)
Development status Active
Written in C++
Operating system Cross-platform
Available in English, German,Czech
Type Geographic information system
License GNU General Public License

SAGA GIS (System for Automated Geoscientific Analyses) is a free and open source geographic information system used for editing spatial data. It was originally developed by a small team at the Department of Physical Geography, University of Göttingen, Germany, and is now being maintained and extended by an international developer community.

SAGA GIS is GIS software with the purpose to give (geo-)scientists an effective but easily learnable platform for the implementation of geoscientific methods. This is achieved by the API. SAGA has a fast-growing set of geoscientific methods, bundled in exchangeable module libraries.

The standard modules are:

  • File access: interfaces to various table, vector, image and grid file formats, including shapefiles, Esri grids (ASCII and binary), and numerous grid file formats that are supported by the GDAL library, in addition to the native SGRD format of SAGA GIS.
  • Filter for grids: Gaussian, Laplacian, multi-directional Lee filter.
  • Gridding: interpolation from vector data using triangulation, nearest neighbour, inverse distance.
  • Geostatistics: residual analysis, ordinary and universal kriging, single and multiple regression analysis, variance analysis.
  • Grid calculator: combine grids through user defined functions.
  • Grid discretisation: skeletonisation, segmentation.
  • Grid tools: merging, resampling, gap filling.
  • Image classification: cluster analysis, box classification, maximum likelihood, pattern recognition, region growing.
  • Projections: various coordinate transformations for vector and grid data (using Proj4 and GeoTrans libraries), georeferencing of grids.
  • Simulation of dynamic processes: TOPMODEL, nitrogen distributions, erosion, landscape development.
  • Terrain analysis: geomorphometrical calculations such as slope, aspect, curvatures, curvature classification, analytical hillshading, sink eliminition, flow path analysis, catchment delineation, solar radiation, channel lines, relative altitudes.
  • Vector tools: polygon intersection, contour lines from grid.

SAGA GIS is an effective tool with user friendly GUI that requires only about 10 MB disk space. No installation needed.

Available for Windows, Linux and also FreeBSD.

SAGA GIS can be used together with other GIS software like Kosmo to get better vector data and map producing capabilities. SAGA GIS modules can be executed from within the statistical data analysis software R in order to integrate statistical and GIS analyses.


  • Böhner, J., McCloy, K.R., Strobl, J. [eds.] (2006): SAGA - Analysis and Modelling Applications. Göttinger Geographische Abhandlungen, Vol.115, 130pp.
  • Böhner, J., Blaschke, T., Montanarella, L. [eds.] (2008): SAGA - Seconds Out. Hamburger Beiträge zur Physischen Geographie und Landschaftsökologie, Vol.19, 113pp.

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