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

M.Blackmore mblackmore at oxlug.org
Mon Mar 13 09:20:04 PST 2006

On Mon, 2006-03-13 at 10:14 -0500, Frank Warmerdam wrote:
> M.Blackmore wrote:
> > So ... for a COMPLETE gis newbie ... where do I start?

<top post begging of forgiveness> Thanks for the suggestions thus far,
folks! The level of my ignorance is profound as I didn't understand most
of what Frank was saying, the terminology being utterly unfamiliar
(polygons? Wossat? A dead parrot?) but I could take some guesses...

So I'll try and rustle out a few books and such like. I can also play
with mapinfo of which they have data from people like Thames Water and
the County Council made available. Trouble is - and this is the trouble
with expensive proprietary software - the only licenced copy they've got
is on the director's PC so I have to fit in when he's not using the
machine, i.e. for an hour or so Friday morning when my 3yr old is in

Such restrictions (machine licences, not 3 year olds...) are amongst the
reason why, if the functionality can be created using open source, there
would be a lot of support for a move into OS, thus allowing widespread

Data source restrictions are of course another issue!
> 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
>     volunteers.
> 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.
>     http://docs.codehaus.org/display/MAP/Home/
>   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,,

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