[OSGeo-Discuss] Can I do the same GIS tasks with OS (as with ESRI)?

Josh Livni josh at livniconsulting.com
Thu Apr 24 15:41:16 PDT 2008

If you want nice cartographic output, ArcMap on a totally different 
level than ArcView.  I think I paid about 1k a few years ago for my copy 
(no extensions) through some reseller, which I really don't think is 
outlandish at all for what you get.

That said, I rarely do paper-based cartography anymore, and one thing to 
consider when starting out a new venture is those moving goalposts.  For 
example, there's tons of demand (as far as I can tell) for putting stuff 
on the web.  One spot I see lots of work for is somewhere just above 
what the average google map hobbyists can offer (eg the 
postgis/mapserver/openlayers wrapped in a decent web framework or CMS 
kind of a thing).  Or do you prefer to focus on modeling?   
cartography?  I think if you have an idea of the kinds of projects you 
want to work on, that might help you decide which of the many open 
source gis software stacks might be the best to start studying.

Without knowing more, my .02 is you just can't go wrong spending a 
little time learning PostGIS, and if you do want to put stuff on the 
web, you may as well start by playing around with OpenLayers.



Paul Ramsey wrote:
> I'd buck up for a copy of ArcView (much cheaper than ArcGIS), and use
> GRASS / PostGIS / etc tools for things like analysis. You can use
> ArcView to generate the paper and do some quick low-end analytics and
> the other tools for more involved stuff.
> My general synopsis: for server-side, for scriptability, for
> automation, for web-based, open source wins for most use cases, given
> a technically savvy user; for ad hoc, for cartographic production, for
> a user who is used to a point-n-click experience end to end,
> proprietary still wins.
> This equation hasn't changed much in the 10 years I've been running
> it. The goal posts have moved, open source is better at adhoc now than
> before, but still not at the level of ESRI, and ESRI is better at the
> server stuff now, but still not at the level of open source.
> P.
> On Thu, Apr 24, 2008 at 12:41 PM, Jennifer Horsman <jen at jencarta.com> wrote:
>> The thread that was started today with the subject "Your open source career"
>> got me thinking about asking a question that has been rolling around in my
>> head. This is pointed at those people who have experience with ESRI products
>> as well as OS GIS products.
>>  I have been a long-time user of ESRI products, but I want to start my own
>> contract business and will not be able to afford the license for
>> ArcGIS/ArcInfo. So I recently set up a Linux box with GRASS installed, but
>> it has been over 10 years since I have used GRASS (it has probably changed
>> since then too!)
>>  Does GRASS have the same analysis and display capabilities as ArcGIS? I
>> know this is a very general question, so perhaps another question would be
>> where does GRASS fall short and where does it excel in comparison to the
>> ESRI products?
>>  Thanks,
>>  Jennifer
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