It’s been more than a year now since we launched Whitebox Geospatial Inc. and our list of products and services has grown quite substantially in that time. It’s been a busy year for us. We’ve expanded the Whitebox Platform far beyond WhiteboxTools, which was our starting place. Given this, there has understandably been some confusion among the user community about the role and place of the various components of the Whitebox Platform. And so, I decided to write this blog to try to define and clarify each of these parts of the larger Whitebox Platform.
What is WhiteboxTools (WbTOC)?
WbT is software for performing advanced geospatial analysis on raster, vector, and LiDAR data. WbT is the open core, or open-source foundation, of the Whitebox Platform. We refer to it internally as WhiteboxTools Open Core (WbTOC), although most people simply call it WhiteboxTools. There are numerous front-ends for WbTOC, some of which we maintain and other we do not. These include front-ends for QGIS, ArcGIS, R and Python, and several specialized software package that depend on WbTOC, like the Open Lidar Toolbox.
What is the Whitebox Platform?
The Whitebox Platform is composed of the WbTOC foundation and the closed-source products that are built upon it. These include four Whitebox extension products and Whitebox Workflows for Python geoprocessing software.
What are the Whitebox extension products?
The Whitebox extension products are a collection of commercial plugin extensions for the WbTOC. These include the Lidar & Remote Sensing Extension, the DEM & Spatial Hydrology Extension, the Agriculture Extension, and the General Toolset Extension (GTE), which includes all the tools within the other three extension products. At present, there are more than 60 tools for advanced geospatial analysis in the extensions, each aimed at enterprise and research environments.
What is Whitebox Workflows for Python (WbW)?
WbW is a Python library for advanced geoprocessing that is based on the WbTOC codebase. While it contains the same geospatial analysis tools as the open-core, WbW enables you to write more powerful geoprocessing scripts than possible with WbTOC, by providing better Whitebox-Python interaction. Like the Whitebox extensions, WbW is also commercial and closed source.
What is Whitebox Geospatial?
Whitebox Geospatial Inc. is the name of the private company founded to support the ongoing development of the Whitebox collection of geospatial software products, both open-source and commercial, and to support the community of users that have grown around this software platform. Whitebox Geospatial carries out its founding mandate of supporting the development of the open-source WbTOC by selling the extension products and WbW, as well as through various service contracts.