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Introduction to Geospatial

The Open Source Method

Alex Mandel. University of California, Davis. Nov 2011

Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.


You and your computer

buy software

That's not what I expected

That's not a bug, that's a feature Our Engineers can't repeat the error

It's not broken, must be you We might fix that in next 'years' version

If it was open source...

1 & 2 Chat @ Conference

I need xY

I need Yz

If we collaborate, then we both have xYz

I wonder who else might find this useful and add to it?

1 & 2 Chat @ Conference

z Y

Thanks for xYz, Mind if I add Q? and give it to all my friends?

Wherever you work in the future, you'll have access to tools.

Open Licenses, Open Standards

OpenSourceInitiative Creative Commons Scientific Commons Free Software Foundation (FSF) Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF)

Open Geospatial Consortium

kml, gml, wfs (vector) wms, wcs (raster) csw (metadata)


Keep it Simple - Copyright

Do whatever you want, the part I give you stays open. Same, give me attribution for my part. Do whatever you want, if you change the part I give you, you have to share that too. If you change anything, the license applies to your code too. (CopyLeft)

Sound Familiar?

Firefox LibreOffice/OpenOffice Thunderbird Filezilla Inkscape GIMP Audacity Python R Linux

Google Amazon Facebook IBM Hulu 499 of the top 500 supercomputers run Linux/Unix/BSD Nov 2011

It's about choice

Our clients like open source because it keeps costs down. We like open source because it gives us the freedom to innovate and build the best possible solutions. -

Spend $ on OR

Competition is good for innovation

40+ mpg cars Tabbed Browsing Smartphones for $0

It's never been a one man band.

ERDAS ENVI MapInfo Bentley Map/MicroStation Autodesk various... SmallWorld Manifold IDRISI

Is it one or many?
ArcMap Geoprocessing Spatial Analyst 3D Analyst Geodatabase ArcSDE ArcGIS Server Flex,JS or Java API GPS Analyst Imagery Analyst (ERDAS) Geoportal1, Metadata Catalog Geostatisticl Analyst .Net, Python scripting QGIS, OpenJump, Udig, GvSIG Ftools Plugin, GRASS, SAGA GRASS, SAGA GRASS, OSSIM Spatialite PostGIS QGIS Server, Geoserver, Mapserver, Deegree, 52N OpenLayers, Geomoose, Modest Maps Time Manager Plugin, EVIS Plugin Orfeo, Opticks, ILWIS Geonetwork, Geonode R Python, Java, Php, C, C++, .Net, JS

1. ESRI Geoportal was release under an open source license. 2. Many packages in R address spatial statistics

OSGeo Live

Tough Choices

It's not an either/or question, you can mix proprietary and open source solutions.

You do need to pay a little attention to file formats.

Example: ArcGIS project mxd is not openable by any other software, but shapefiles are.

Flexibility to choose the right tool for each job No one piece of software is ever going to do everything you need. For Scientists open data and repeatability is important. Enable development of local skills & knowledge.

Use Case

Links you should have - Community - Wiki Map of World - DIY Remote Sensing

Map Knitter, online georegistration - Push maps to web - Desktop GIS - News - Forums - Free data for pretty maps

Interesting Companies

Development Seed ( ) FortiusOne ( ) OpenGeo ( aka Open Planning Project) Stamen Designs ( ) Refractions Research ( ) Cloudmade ( ) Geofabrik ( ) Sourcepole ( ) etc...

Quantum GIS

Part II

Quantum GIS (QGIS)

Tim Sutton

Sometimes GIS feels like home.

Projection on the Fly



Projections don't always Fly



Demo Madness

Lots of cool plugins, written by users

OpenStreetMap in Crisis Response

Haiti, Jan 12 Earthquake


After (2 days later)

Source: Jonathan Gray, Jan 15, 2010 Open Street Map community responds to Haiti crisis Open Knowledge Foundation Blog

Data set in use

Image from


Michele Tobias airphotos Tim Sutton QGIS data Bill Kendrick processing tips LDA 150 students who did the Extra Credit right