[OSGeo-Discuss] Can I do the same GIS tasks with OS (as with ESRI)?
john.callahan at UDel.Edu
Thu Apr 24 19:49:36 PDT 2008
I've been an ESRI user (AV 3.x, ArcGIS 8/9, ArcIMS, ArcGIS Server,
ArcSDE) for 12+ years and have recently started exploring FOSS
software. And I haven't disagreed with any of the responses so far.
You will definitely need multiple programs to do what a single ESRI
program can do. IMO, this is a good thing. One of the main reasons for
my migration is I'm tired of running large, complicated, expensive
software and all the extra baggage that comes with it to use only 10% of
what the software can do. (see ArcGIS Server.)
You can do all the analysis and more of ArcGIS Desktop and extensions
using GRASS, QGIS, SAGA, GeoTools, GDAL/OGR, PROJ4, or R Statistics
along with a programming language like Python, Java or others. (IMO,
this is a better solution than ESRI.) You can do just about anything
you want on the web server end with MapServer, GeoServer, FeatureServer
(and maybe TileCache or GeoNetwork for metadata) with any of a dozen or
more clients (OpenLayers, ka-Map, MapGuide etc...). And you can do a
lot of database work with Postgres/PostGIS, a much simpler, less costly
solution than ArcSDE+RDBMS. And I wouldn't count out the role of free,
non-open source packages like Google products and Oracle Express (11g
should have Spatial included.)
From my experience (limited in the FOSS world), I have found three
1) Cartography. Whether on the screen, PDF outputs, or print
publications, ArcMap is easy and looks great. (Although R Statistics
produces better looking charts and graphs than ArcGIS.)
2) Versioned editing. This is important for groups with multiple
concurrent editors or that has a particular hierarchical workflow with
their GIS data.
3) Storage and serving of very large (50+ GB) raster datasets. PostGIS
does not support rasters yet; Oracle Spatial does though. I'm still not
sure if storing rasters in a database is a good idea but ArcSDE sure
makes it easy, and with good performance when used in conjunction with
other ESRI products.
In the end, we have decided to move all of our web work to open source.
For spatial analysis, we'll also move to open source. For Desktop,
we'll have a mix of ArcGIS Desktop as well as QGIS, GRASS and maybe SAGA
and/or OSSIM. For storage, we'll be maybe 505/50 with
PostGIS+file-based rasters and ArcSDE/Oracle. Hope this helps. This
sure is a fun and exciting time!
Jennifer Horsman 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?
> Discuss mailing list
> Discuss at lists.osgeo.org
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