New Course: Enterprise GIS made easy

If you are a GIS professional struggling with the need to have multiple people accessing your GIS data from multiple locations and multiple platforms you need an Enterprise GIS system.

I understand that many GIS professionals do not come from an IT background. They may be outstanding cartographer and analyst but lack understanding of multi-user computer infrastructure.  Maybe they know that these solutions exist. Perhaps they even got on the phone and called ESRI to ask about pricing for their version of enterprise GIS and were shocked to learn what it would cost.

The good news is that although conceptually very different than single-user, file-based GIS systems it is actually quite easy and inexpensive to implement an enterprise GIS using open source software. You can even view the data in conventional commercial GIS systems, although you can’t edit it in many commercial systems.  That is not a huge problem, however, because you can use QGIS,  a free, open-source desktop GIS for editing and it works very well.  I have been using this system for several years with clients around the world with ZERO problems.

My new course “Enterprise GIS made easy” explains how to get started, and after viewing this course I think you can be up and running in less than an hour, and the only costs are a few dollars per month for hosting your database.

In this course I explain

  • What an enterprise GIS is
  • What client-server architecture is
  • How spatial databases allow multi-user access to your data
  • How to get a hosting account with an instance of PostGIS for $3-$12/month
  • How to create your hosted database and add users to it
  • How to load your spatial data into the database
  • How to set user privileges to control exactly what each user can do with your data
  • How to connect to your database from a variety of clients, including ArcGIS
  • How to create new data and edit spatial features with QGIS
  • How to organize your data for optimum performance
  • Where to go for more information on QGIS, PostGIS, Web GIS, and Mobile applications.

This course is 4 hours long and is available on

Deploying a PostGIS Database Parts 5 and 6 – Performance considerations

In these two videos I discuss performance considerations when choosing a hosting service for your PostGIS database, how to determine if you should invest in higher download speeds on the client side or better performance on the server side, and strategies for mitigating slow response times. Continue reading “Deploying a PostGIS Database Parts 5 and 6 – Performance considerations”

Working with multiple map views in QGIS 3.0

One of the many great new features of QGIS 3.0 is its ability to view and work with multiple map canvases or map views.  You can link the location and scales of these views together so that they are centered in the same place but showing different data at different scales. For instance you can make an overview map showing the location of the main data frame in a larger spatial context or a close-up showing detailed aerial photography. Continue reading “Working with multiple map views in QGIS 3.0”

Getting started with PostGIS

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 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”