The case for open-source GIS

Logos of Open-source GIS projects

I have nothing against ESRI, they have been innovators in the geospatial software world from the beginning. I got into GIS from a natural resources background and I know that they have supported the conservation community for decades through their conservation grants program and many other ways. Jack Dangermond’s recent donation of $165 million to the Nature Conservancy to purchase one of the last large undeveloped parcels of southern California coastline stirred my heart and made me well up in tears with pride in the GIS community. I am not opposed to companies selling GIS software for profit. I believe in capitalism. I believe that entrepreneurs should be rewarded financially for producing high quality products at a fair price. Continue reading “The case for open-source GIS”

New Course: QGIS 3.0 for GIS Professionals

It’s a great time to be a GIS Professional. The industry is booming, ArcGIS Pro is a complete overhaul of ESRI’s desktop GIS product. Radian Studio is busy rewriting GIS algorithms to take advantage of massively parallel processing in modern computer architectures that can make short work of computer intensive spatial operations. Meanwhile in the open source world, the community of QGIS users is very close to releasing a major new version in QGIS 3.0. Continue reading “New Course: QGIS 3.0 for GIS Professionals”

Exploring the graphical modeler in QGIS 3.0

This video provides an introduction to the QGIS graphical modeler. It was created using a pre-release version of QGIS 3.0 (scheduled to be released Dec 8, 2017). My understanding is that many of the actual algorithms have been reworked under the surface to increase performance, but there are only very minor changes to the graphical modeler user interface. If you are using QGIS 2.xx you should have no problems following this video, although I believe that any models created in 2.xx will need to be redone in 3.xx. Continue reading “Exploring the graphical modeler in QGIS 3.0”

Why QGIS should be part of everyone’s GIS toolbox

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”