For many years I had been hearing about spatial databases. I knew that some of the frustrating issues I was dealing with as the GIS specialist for small environmental consulting companies could be addressed with the technology. But consulting is all about billable hours and its really hard to convince your boss to give you the unbillable time needed to figure it all out. And its really hard and probably unethical to expect a client to let you figure it all out on their dime. So until a few years ago I kept chugging away with single-user file-based data storage and wasted an enormous amount of time managing data and people to prevent conflicts that could have easily been prevented with a spatial database. Continue reading “Getting started with PostGIS”
The short answer is no. But it will help you more than you can imagine. The GIS world doesn’t need everyone to be coders. Most GIS software is sufficiently complex that one could easily spend their entire careers working with one program and never use all of it, let alone have to improve on it. It would certainly be possible to specialize in a specific aspect of GIS or a specific type of analysis and never learn to write your own code. If the thought of programming sends tremors of fear down your spine, fear not. You will always be needed. Continue reading “Do I need to know how to code to be a GIS professional?”
What is web GIS?
When most people think about web GIS, they think about publishing a map or a data set for the world to see. That’s certainly part of it, but only a small part. For many years when I would try to sell my employers on the concept of web GIS they would reply “We don’t want everyone to see our proprietary information.” After digging in and learning more on my own I began to realize that there was much more to web GIS than publishing content. Continue reading “Why your organization needs a web GIS strategy.”
QGIS is an open source desk-top GIS program. It plays the same role as ArcMap in the ESRI ecosystem. QGIS even comes with QGIS Browser, which is similar in function to ArcCatalog. Most GIS analysts in the US learn ArcGIS in college and work for companies that have ArcGIS available. Many people are under the impression that if they have access to ArcGIS, there is no advantage to their company for them to learn QGIS.
I felt the same way for over a decade. Over the past several years I have come to believe that QGIS has many advantages over ArcGIS. This is true even for companies that already own ArcGIS licenses. There are some things QGIS does much better. Some things it does much cheaper. And admittedly, there are some things that ArcGIS does better. The important thing is to understand the differences and when to use QGIS and when to use ArcGIS. Continue reading “Why QGIS should be part of everyone’s GIS toolbox”
This is a loaded question as there is probably not one single answer for everyone. There are important considerations, however, that do apply to all. I have earned a living for the past 14 years as a GIS/Database specialist for a number of small but growing environmental consulting firms. This post is specific to my experience but I suspect that at least some aspects of it are common to small consulting firms in other fields and possibly small non-profits as well. I will focus specifically on optimizing the GIS data storage of large datasets in a single-user environment with this post, but I will follow shortly with a second post dealing with moving from single user desktop GIS to multi-user enterprise level systems.