What is PostGIS?

PostGIS is developed by Refractions Research Inc, as a spatial database technology research project. Refractions is a GIS and database consulting company in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada, specializing in data integration and custom software development. We plan on supporting and developing PostGIS to support a range of important GIS functionality, including full OpenGIS support, advanced topological constructs (coverages, surfaces, networks), desktop user interface tools for viewing and editing GIS data, and web-based access tools.

What tools work with data in a PostGIS database?

There are now several open source tools which work with PostGIS. The uDig project is working on a full read/write desktop environment that can work with PostGIS directly. For internet mapping, the University of Minnesota Mapserver can use PostGIS as a data source. The GeoTools Java GIS toolkit has PostGIS support, as does the GeoServer Web Feature Server. GRASS supports PostGIS as a data source. The JUMP Java desktop GIS viewer has a simple plugin for reading PostGIS data, and the QGIS desktop has good PostGIS support. PostGIS data can be exported to several output GIS formats using the OGR C++ library and commandline tools (and of cource with the bundled Shape file dumper). And of course any language which can work with PostgreSQL can work with PostGIS -- the list includes Perl, PHP, Python, TCL, C, C++, Java, and more.

Are there going to be more tools?

More every day! FreeGIS is an excellent compendium of ongoing open source GIS development. In addition, more commercial viewing and editing software is becoming available all the time. For example, the Feature Manipulation Engine from Safe Software has support for PostGIS reading and writing. The Red Spider web service portal from Ionic can serve PostGIS data. And CadCorp SIS provides desktop read/write support for PostGIS.