This document outlines several

key features of the Geotools toolkit

. Geotools development is active and there are many ideas for future development. The features on the following page refer to current development on the SVN trunk. For features included in specific releases, see the following pages:

Specifications and Interfaces

Geotools implements Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC) specifications as they are developed.

Geotools is associated with the GeoAPI project that is creating interfaces for Java GIS projects. Many of these interfaces are implemented in geotools with more implementations planned.

Data Formats

Data is the life blood of any GIS project, so geotools tries to support as many data formats as possible.

The DataStore interface is used to access vector data.
Grid coverage (raster) data formats are accessed with the GridCoverageExchange interface.


Data formats supported are:


See Grid Coverage Exchange Design for design notes about this new interface.

The following data formats are supported:

Legacy DataSource (grid coverage)

Depreciated DataSource raster implementations are:

Features and Geometries

Features are used to represent basic geographic elements in a vector system. These are composed of both geometries and attributes.

Java Topology Suite (JTS) is used as the current geometry model. This library is an implementation of the Simple Features Specification for SQL, It also provides in memory spatial indexing support and robust topologic operations, though they are not used much at present in the codebase.

If you're willing to add some vector computation operations (for example, overlay) please step up: we need someone willing to work on an operation API and the associated implementations. See the Process API page for more information.

Grid coverages

A grid coverage provides support for the raster data format, that is, a georeferenced grid of numbers that can be used to represent data ranging from satellite images, to digital elevation models, noise distribution and so on. See also the OpenGIS specification about grid coverages,

Grid coverages are based on the JAI library which provides support for data management, presentation, image data format access, tiling support, a framework for raster data processing with lots of predefined operators.

Coordinate Transformation

The cts-coordtrans (CTS) module implements a subset of the OGC's Coordinate Transformation Services specification, It provides an implementation for general positioning, coordinate reference systems, and coordinate transformations.

Types of transformations provided include datum shifts, map projections (Mercator, Transverse Mercator, Lambert Conformal Conic, Albers Equal Area Conic, Stereographic, Orthographic) and others.


Geotools has two renderer implementations:


Allows for symbolizing (colour, line thickness, opacity, etc.) of datasets. This is closely modeled on, and fully supporting, the OpenGIS Styled Layer Descriptor specification, These can be stored as XML documents.

Filter Encodings

Filters provide a way to specify a subset of features to operate on. This supports both attribute and spatial constraints and a method of storing these as XML documents.

This is an implementation of the Filter Encoding specification,


This is currently an active area of development. See the GUI Architecture page for information about where development is heading.

The Legend module was recently added. Also maps and some tools (zoom, pan, etc.) are present.


Allows the creation of graphs and networks based on MultiLineStrings or arbitray Geometries and Spatial Relationships. Graphs can be walked using the visitor pattern. Common walks, such as shortest route, are already available. Other walks may also be defined by the user.


This provides a method to validate features base on different constraints. Allows the definition of test suites based on validaiton plug-ins. Tests suites (and indeed validaiton plug-ins) are configured using xml files.

A working validation Processor is provided as a demo.