Open Source Geospatial Boot Camp by Schuyler Erle

Holy fast talking presenter, Batman!

Today’s audience poll:
Used open source software: 95%
Comfortable with the command line: 90%
Used open source GIS software: 20%

We ran though some GIS/cartography terms that are handy to know when doing GIS.

Did you know? The Earth is not a sphere. In fact, It’s an irregular ellipsoid. There are many different standards for modelling the Earth. You should use WGS 1984 as your ellipsoid model.

Projection: trade-off between conformal (preserve angle) and equidistant (distance) and equivalent (area). Got it? We have to make trade-offs because we are translating a sphere, er, ellipsoid onto a flat surface.

    There are lots of GIS data formats

  • OS tools help hide this
  • GEOTiff (raster)
  • ESRI Shapefile (vector)
  • GML (XML)

Open source tool: Quantum GIS — useful for browsing GIS data. Looks like PostgreSQL, at least, has good GIS support.

You’d think I’d have gained more information from this talk. Unfortunately, the presenter spent lots of time fiddling with stuff to make it work. This “show you how it is with GIS!” “It’s fun!” Well … I don’t know. I do think that this is how it with GIS. It’s certainly been my experience with my GPS and mapping software. Almost the antithesis of what I like: polished, clean interfaces, adherence to conventions. Makes me think that GIS is not for me.

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