A Comparison of ArcGIS and QGIS for Animation

Owen Stuckey



I compare two GIS programs which can be used to create cartographic animations—the commercial Esri ArcGIS and the free and open-source QGIS. ArcGIS implements animation through the “Time Slider” while QGIS uses a plugin called “TimeManager.” There are some key similarities and differences as well as functions unique to each plugin. This analysis examines each program’s capabilities in mapping time series data. Criteria for evaluation include the number of steps, the number of output formats, input of data, processing, output of a finished animation, and cost. The comparison indicates that ArcGIS has more control in input, processing, and output of animations than QGIS, but has a baseline cost of $100 per year for a personal license. In contrast, QGIS is free, uses fewer steps, and enables more output formats. The QGIS interface can make data input, processing, and output of an animation slower.


Time Slider; TimeManager; cartographic animation; time series

Full Text: PDF HTML


  • There are currently no refbacks.