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[vox] GIS
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[vox] GIS

>From adh@ice.ucdavis.edu Thu Nov 15 16:19:18 2001
Date: Thu, 15 Nov 2001 15:59:33 -0800
From: Allan Hollander <adh@ice.ucdavis.edu>
Reply-To: adh@rachel.des.ucdavis.edu
To: vox@franz.mother.com
Subject: Re: [vox] is this too much? [GIS mapping]

I'm a geographer who tries to work mostly with open source GIS tools
though it's hard to avoid ESRI (makers of Arcinfo) altogether.

Briefly: the best catalogue of open source GIS resources is the FreeGIS
site, http://www.freegis.org/.  As you would see, there's been a lot of
activity, though many of these tools are small and specialized.

Some of the highlights include:

GRASS --- by now quite venerable, but still an excellent system to use if
your focus is raster modelling.  (It's thus more useful for academic
research than, say, keeping track of a county's land parcels.)  I've used
it quite a bit lately, actually.  It's under active development, but the
code base is huge, so things move slowly in the GRASS world.

MapServer --- this is a CGI application for plotting map data on the web.
The equivalent in the ESRI world is ArcIMS.  Compared to ArcIMS MapServer
seems fleet-of-foot, lightweight but powerful, but alas ESRI
has all the marketing mindshare...

PostGIS --- a young but quite exciting project.  Basically this is an
extension to PostgreSQL that spatially enables the database (i.e. it
allows one to store geographic features and to express spatial queries
in SQL such as those concerning distance, inclusion, or adjacency

-- Allan Hollander, adh@ice.ucdavis.edu

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