MapWindows has different origins from other OpenSource GIS projects . Firstly, the project dates back to 1998, at the WaterResearch Laboratory of Utah (USA). Originally the goal of the project team was not to develop an office GIS, but to develop a library of programs for the manipulation of geographical data in programs independent from any GIS software . At that time MapWinGIS came into existence as ActiveX control (OCX) as a programming library in the most popular programming languages (VB, C, etc.).
A few years later, the Idaho State University developed MapWindows GIS, a ready to use software, employing the OCX programs and developing a new library , Dot Spatial, which can be used when programming with C # and .NET.
This atypical evolution makes MapWindows is slightly less well equipped in desktop interface features compared to its direct competitors (QGis, gvSIG ), but allows developments much more powerful and fast.
Therefore, it is a tool for relatively simple projects which do not involve advanced GIS functions or for projects where some features will have to be developed. Also, it can be a complementary
product to the Office GIS ( OpenSource or editor) for developing the automation tasks or business modules .
You do not have to be an experienced programmer to develop tools with Dot Space, and regarding
this aspect, MapWindows has a sensitive lead ahead of its competitors , especially now that a great part of GIS users are questioning the problem of automation and optimization of GIS data management procedures.