* Rendering speed : ArcGIS vs. MapInfo vs QGIS

I was asked but could not answer the question which GIS software is fastest: ArcGIS, MapInfo or QGIS? as I had never done a comparison test on them yet. I talked it over with my technical staff who said that question is too generic and may lead to misleading answers because different versions deliver different speed even from the same marque. For example, he feels previous versions of MapInfo are faster than MapInfo Ver. 11.0 probably because in his opinion, Version 11.0 is equipt with many plugins. Whatever it was, I said the proof in the pudding so he agreed we do a comparison test right away. I supplied and he installed QGIS 2.0 Win to his desktop computer already installed with ArcGIS 10.1 and MapInfo 11.0. Then I supplied him the cadaster map of Perlis state in .tab format and he went straight to convert a .shp file using QGIS which was already active at that time. The results of the rendering comparision test were ran at least twice so ensure consistency of result which are as follow. Care was also taken to ensure no other applications were opened at that time:

QGIS 2.0 software using .shp file - 2 seconds
QGIS 2.0 software using .tab file - 4 seconds

MapInfo 11.0 software using .tab file - 4 seconds

ArcGIS 10.1 software using .shp file - 4 seconds

  1. It appears QGIS 2.0 using .shp files are doubly fast, rendering speed faster than QGIS 2.0 using .tab files but don't ask me why?;
  2. It appears QGIS 2.0 using .tab files have the same rendering speed as MapInfo 11.0 and ArcGIS 10.1;
  3. It looks like QGIS for a free GIS software is impressive as it offers rendering speed equal or faster than close GIS software.
The comparison test was carried out using the same desktop computer. Well , you don't have to believe me, you can always do it yourself. I did this test because I wanted to know first hand and with someone neutral to concur the findings along with me and without being prejudice to QGIS whatever the results maybe. But for what it's worth, QGIS is pretty remarkable for a free GIS software rubbing shoulders with the likes of well established proprietary GIS software.

At the end of the day, you may still not prefer QGIS but you cannot deny the fact that QGIS is something to be reckon with and granted it may not deliver somethings a proprietary GIS software can, it still can do many things a proprietary GIS software can ...and for free that's a lot to be said for a GIS software especially when you need to multiply that a number of users.