[OSGeo-Discuss] Introduction - hi; gis based wychwood work; pointers on how to enter "GIS" world?

Frank Warmerdam warmerdam at pobox.com
Mon Mar 13 07:14:20 PST 2006

M.Blackmore wrote:
> So ... for a COMPLETE gis newbie ... where do I start? How does one
> begin to educate oneself in this new field? 
> Recommendations for books, online courses, tutorials, what sort of
> software we should be looking into, examples where others may have
> already done this sort of thing, and so forth, will be gladly received!


Hopefully others will provide some good suggestions for materials.  I
would recommend "Web Mapping Illustrated" by Tyler Mitchell as a useful
read.   It reviews a variety of tools though it is by no means
comprehensive.  It should be especially useful for the portion of your
project which would be presenting the mapping information on the web
once collected.

I think the biggest challenges for your work will be:
  o Getting appropriate background map data (imagery and vector) for
    context when you are trying to collect and display your old/new
    forest polygons.

  o Managing collaberative editing of the datasets by a variety of

I couple items of interest with regard to collaberative editing.

  o MapBuilder: It is a client web mapping environment, but Cameron
    Shorter (one of the key players in the projects) wishes to use it
    for cooperative collection of bike routes in Australia.  I imagine
    he can provide advice.


  o OpenStreetMap: Something similar for cooperative collection of
    streetmap data.  Might be applicable to your work as well.

For data, you might be able to harvest good imagery from Google maps.
Otherwise it may get expensive.

Ideally you would be able to use something like MapBuilder for web
based collection of data, and keep the polygon data in a PostGIS
database providing a good degree of managability.

However, if that proves difficult to realize, you may have to fallback
on more primitive approaches.  Basically proividing background imagery
and vector data for people to digitize polygon data on in a desktop
GIS software like QGIS, GRASS, or OpenEV.  Then re-integrate submitted
datasets on the backend using scripts (perhaps Python scripts based on OGR).

It gets much more challenging when folks want to submit changes to
existing data, and when several people might have "the dataset" off
in the field, working on different parts.  This is a classic problem,
and not one well addressed by "canned" open source solutions.

With some trepadation I am cc:ing this back to the discuss list since
though I'm sure it will expose my ignorance of lots of options.

PS. I just read a book about a fellow hiking down the 2degree meridian
in England, and some of the names are quite familiar.  I can almost
imagine your area from his descriptions in the book.

Best regards,,
I set the clouds in motion - turn up   | Frank Warmerdam, warmerdam at pobox.com
light and sound - activate the windows | http://pobox.com/~warmerdam
and watch the world go round - Rush    | President OSGF, http://osgeo.org

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