[OSGeo-Edu] Re: [OSGeo-Discuss] Re: Will there be an OSGeo Desktop shootout atFOSS4G 2010?

Helena Mitasova hmitaso at unity.ncsu.edu
Tue Dec 22 17:17:48 PST 2009

Daniel, yes, I am definitely more interested in the educational  
aspect of the comparison than the performance which
I think would be very difficult to measure because accuracy and  
quality of the results (whatever that means)
may be as important as speed, if not more.

I have been promising Charlie to put this under OSGeo Edu svn for a  
long time, but I keep updating
and improving it so it is never finished - I guess it will never be  
so I may as well upload it. I have created
NCSU directory there and we started a coastal lidar data analysis  
tutorial -
(see more about the edu svn here http://wiki.osgeo.org/wiki/ 

I will upload some of the course material and we can try to add a  
MapWindow solution?
We can do two topics for a start, e.g.
Buffers and cost surfaces
Flow routing and watershed analysis
The power point slides for relevant lectures explain the tasks and  
show some example results.
I used plain text for the assignment tasks to make it manageable and  
easy to update
and it seems that the students are OK with it and can follow the GUI  
procedure for ArcGIS.
I use screen capture only where I feel it is absolutely necessary,  
e.g. for visualization with nviz.

I will let you know when I upload it,


On Dec 22, 2009, at 4:49 PM, Daniel Ames wrote:

> Helena, perhaps we should move this discussion to the EDU list,  
> since this side by side comparison you have done could be expanded  
> to include multiple desktop applications and would be fantastic to  
> have as an educational tool. Perhaps we can copy your exercises on  
> a WIKI page and then encourage other teams to post solutions using  
> other desktop apps where they can? Then we'd all have this as a  
> resource to use in classes... - Dan
> On Tue, Dec 22, 2009 at 2:20 PM, Helena Mitasova  
> <hmitaso at unity.ncsu.edu> wrote:
> I have numerous examples of gis  tasks done side-by-side in GRASS  
> and ArcGIS here:
> http://courses.ncsu.edu/mea582/lec/001/GIS_anal_assign/ 
> GIS_Anal_Assignall.html
> The data for the examples are available as GRASS data location and  
> ArcGIS geodatabase
> (links on top of the document)
> as well as in shape and ArcGRID format (I could not get all rasters  
> convert correctly to GeoTIFF
> at the time I was preparing the data) here
> http://www.grassbook.org/data_menu3rd.php
> It certainly does not cover everything (especially vector data and  
> database examples are very limited)
> but there is plenty to show various aspects of GIS from simple  
> display and visualization to complex
> analysis.
> It would be interesting to see some of these examples done in other  
> systems - we tried QGIS but that ended up
> using GRASS plugin too much, so other more independent software  
> would be more interesting.
> I will be updating the material in next few months to capture the  
> latest developments and plan
> to add another course with examples in different software packages  
> in fall.
> I am sure there will be a lot of interest here to see how at least  
> some of the tasks are executed
> in MapWindows of gvSIG and also extension of this material to cover  
> more vector / database
> and image processing material.
> Feel free to use the data, the examples are various modifications  
> of the examples from the GRASbook,
> Helena
> Helena Mitasova
> Associate Professor
> Department of Marine, Earth and Atmospheric Sciences
> North Carolina State University
> 1125 Jordan Hall
> NCSU Box 8208
> Raleigh, NC 27695-8208
> http://skagit.meas.ncsu.edu/~helena/
> email: hmitaso at unity.ncsu.edu
> ph: 919-513-1327 (no voicemail)
> fax 919 515-7802
> On Dec 22, 2009, at 3:19 PM, Stefan Steiniger wrote:
> Hei Dan,
> thanks for the thoughts - I like them too and thats what I see  
> too.. we need not only to bring up the highlights between FOSGIS  
> but even more to convince people to eventually have a look on  
> FOSGIS by comparing it to ESRIs desktop software, since they have  
> set a bit the standards (at least for teaching higher level  
> geography GIS courses).
> But two notes: I doubte that ESRI has 80% because this would mean  
> the utility market is not considered. And I think one talks here  
> more about ESRI in a gegraphical analysis perspective. While I am  
> not sure what the average GIS user actually does (i.e. How many do  
> queries, do editing, do "real" analysis?).
> I like your subquestions - and allow me to add comments :)
> And the three main sub-questions are:
> Can I open the same files?
> well.. on the c-tribe side yes thanks to Gdal/OGR? But i would  
> restrict to core file types (shp, dxf, mif, raster stuff)
> Can I make the same maps?
> uuhmmm - not yet, but...?
> Can I do the same analyses?
> With Sextante probably yes, now.
> Can I teach the same lessons?
> Ahh.. that hits a point. As we need to tell students about "this  
> open source stuff". I actually plan to check out the next days if I  
> can replace some arcgis analysis tools with sextante for a course.
> So maybe we check what is taugth in the GIS core curriculum?
> Something like the MS thesis about GRASS and ArcGIS that was  
> mentioned, but web-based and updated by the various project members.
> Sounds good and its great if you would have even student resources.
> I actually tried to do such comparison already in my second  
> publication on GIS in landscape ecology and in my last talks - my  
> result was: Most of the FOS desktop GIS are on the ArcView level  
> and a bit beyond, but we can not compete with ArcInfo (leave a side  
> the need for an easy map making tool - not sure how good the last  
> QGIS tool is). So by now I see our chance in providing "specialist"  
> tools for target groups that are either too small for ESRI, Pitney  
> Bowes & Intergraph & Co to be ever included in their official  
> distribution or that may be to expensive to be bought as extension  
> for some (I remember a friend who once needed Maplex for labeling  
> but not the rest of ArcGIS ArcInfo analysis features). And we would  
> need to highlight which whose things are.
> here a link to that pub:
> http://www.geo.uzh.ch/~sstein/finalpub/ 
> steiniger_geographic_information_tools_ecoinf2009.pdf
> stefan
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> -- 
> Daniel P. Ames, Ph.D. PE
> Associate Professor, Geosciences
> Idaho State University - Idaho Falls
> amesdani at isu.edu
> geology.isu.edu
> www.hydromap.com
> www.mapwindow.org
> ********************************************************************** 
> ***
> See you at MapWindow GIS 2010!
> Orlando, Florida, USA
> 31 March - 2 April 2010
> http://www.mapwindow.org/conference/2010
> Also at:
> FOSS4G 2009: http://2009.foss4g.org/
> AWRA GIS 2010: http://www.awra.org/meetings/Florida2010/
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