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#1
johnnyh

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Hi all! ;)

Has anyone experimented with an open source freeware? I am going to be attempting many of the methods described here with Scribus and GIMP. I thought I would check if anyone had any knowledge or experience with this.

I'm hoping it works out. The quality of these (and other) OS freeware programs is amazing. They really are catching up to the quality of historic industry leaders rapidly. Since I switched to GIMP, I have found that almost everything that can be done in photoshop can be replicated if you are persistent.

Another benefit being I can run them portably of my USB drive on almost any computer in the world. Anyone who works with more than one computer I strongly suggest you check out portable applications. It has changed my life! I would be happy to answer any questions and/or provide a sample .zip of my USB drive so you could check out its functionality.

JohnnyH

http://www.gimp.org/
http://www.scribus.net/
http://portableapps.com/
http://www.portablef...are.com/faq.php

#2
benbakelaar

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I've worked with GIMP in the past, never Scribus. I didn't realize that the programs didn't have to be installed on the computer.. is that true? I'm definitely game for trying open source solutions out, for me its always a matter of convenience. Have you experimented with any open source GIS software also? I don't think they are quite as close to industry leaders as is the case with GIMP and Scribus, but maybe I'm wrong.

#3
Martin Gamache

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I'm currently working with the stats package R which is an Open Source version of S-plus and is quite powerful and mostly stable and as good as S-plus....and FREE!

This is my first Open Source experience and I must say I am impressed. And I did have the choice since I could of gotten a licensed version of S-Plus....

I will probably never move to an Open Source drawing or Image manipulation program unless they are better....How to quantify better is tricky...but I'll know it when I see it. There is no compromise there for me, Adobe or Corel products will always be better in my mind if they allow for a better transition from hand to image via the interface. So although I encourage people to develop OS alternative...I'm not holding my breath that any will surpass the commercial productthey are competing against.

#4
johnnyh

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I've worked with GIMP in the past, never Scribus. I didn't realize that the programs didn't have to be installed on the computer.. is that true? I'm definitely game for trying open source solutions out, for me its always a matter of convenience. Have you experimented with any open source GIS software also? I don't think they are quite as close to industry leaders as is the case with GIMP and Scribus, but maybe I'm wrong.


I agree with you, open source GIS has a long way to go. But some are trying. There used to be a decent one put out by Wisconsin NRD that got closed down because some of it's source code (TatukGIS) went commercial. Here's a os free GIS that looks like it might have potential (screenshots show some familiar features)
http://grass.itc.it/

I would say its not a question of if open source will surpass commercial, but when. Might take some time, but [IMO] 10,000 dedicated developers working together will eventually surpass even the best of development teams. I remember when Firefox was new, and I actually defended IExploder. Kept an open mind now I couldn't live without the Fox!

For portable applications, they don't have to be installed on the computer you use them on. Simply unzip the package into your USB drive, then they work anywhere you're plugged in. Even across different O/S versions and platforms! You don't even need any Windows admin rights to do it (which is great if you need a program and have to deal with an IT dept. to get one installed).

Mine autoruns a launcher when plugged in. Then I have access to all the programs you see (and some you don't) in the thumbnail :D

Attached File  USBdrive.JPG   29.57KB   165 downloads

#5
CGIS

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As for GRASS I'd say that is miles above (in terms of capability) ArcView, and damn close to ArcInfo. The interface is a hurdle for most people, as is the data management architecture. But all in all, it's a hell of a program that has bailed me out numerous times. The developers and users are very active and involved inteh community, and it's extremely easy to get help with your issues.

As for capability...
Raster
http://grass.itc.it/...ser/raster.html
3D Raster
http://grass.itc.it/...r/raster3D.html
Vector
http://grass.itc.it/...ser/vector.html
Remote Sensing
http://grass.itc.it/...er/imagery.html
The Rest
http://grass.itc.it/...ls/html63_user/

I'm currently looking at the use of InkScape in place of Illy, but I'm seeing that there are several deficiencies that stand out right away.

#6
mdsumner

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Check out R's 'sp' and 'rgdal' and 'GRASS' packages.

I don't use Grass, but sp and rgdal is totally awesome with R.

R Spatial page: http://sal.uiuc.edu/csiss/Rgeo/

#7
Matthew Hampton

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I just ran across an Open Source GIS alternative that shows some promise. It's called User-friendly Desktop Internet GIS (uDig) and it's cross platform.

I haven't had time to play with it extensively - however it looks like it can export vectors (PDF).

Check the link above or here. I'm interesting in hearing what you think about it.

co-cartographic creator of boringmaps.com


#8
A. Fenix

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In terms of OS GIS there are a number of strong platforms out there. I have experimented with many of them, but stick to what what I'm most comfortable with (er rather, invested the most blood, sweat, and tears) ArcInfo. However, if skill and time are available and budgets are tight OS GIS is strong enough to solve most spatial riddles.
Check out this article which does a good job of listing the whys and hows of OS GIS:
http://www.gisdevelo...techgis_004.htm

Here's a list that was passed on to me of OS options for specific tasks :
1) To do geospatial analysis with raster data : SAGA :
http://www.saga-gis..../html/index.php
2) Viewing, and Mapping tools for Internet maps, GIS files and database :
User-friendly Desktop Internet GIS : udig.refractions.net/ or Quantum GIS :www.qgis.org
3) For a GIS as an ArcView "version" type having interface in Spanish/Valencian/English... : gvSIG :
http://www.gvsig.gva.es/framesesp.htm
4) For any GIS database management system like ArcSDE or Oracle : PostGIS :
http://postgis.refractions.net/
5) For Image Processing and Remote Sensing : OSSIM Project :
http://www.ossim.org/tiki-index.php
6) To publish Map on the Web : MapServer (http://mapserver.gis.umn.edu/) or Alov (http://www.alov.org/index.html).

And wikipedia has a great list of OS GIS applications that are available:
http://en.wikipedia....ormation_system

OS is a powerful force to be reckoned with, and I'm very excited to see the creative solutions that will keep coming from OS developers. What I find also very interesting is the greater philosophical conversation around Open Source vs. Proprietary (closed source) applications. The fact that OS software is based off of an open development philosophy (programmers share their code in the hopes that it can become stronger and more resilient as others add to it) compared to a proprietary philosophy is a fascinating one. Regardless, I'm relieved that there are options available for those many, many people/organizations/communities who can not afford applications such as ArcGIS ($10,000) and Illustrator (<=$500).

Analisa
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#9
frax

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Matt, did you crash the uDig homepage... !? (it is broken when I tested now)

I am all for using open source/public domain software, not only for the price, but also for the easy access - download and try it. I am not so concerned about the rights/democratic aspects though.

...but for me time is also money, and if things take longer time to do, or require more training, in another piece of software, then I would have to choose the most competent one. (but there are limits there too of course)
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#10
Sky Schemer

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I've tried a number of OS GIS products and have been underwhelmed so far. uDig has the most promise, but it's feature editing capabilities are still very primitive, and this is functionality that I depend on.

To be honest, with Manifold still at US $245 (or $295 if you want better database connectivity), it's really hard for me to justify spending a lot of time with uDig, or any other OS product for that matter. But I think people looking for a way to generate quick maps, particularly thematic ones, would find it very useful.

#11
Matthew Hampton

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Matt, did you crash the uDig homepage... !?


Perhaps there was a sudden spike in their server activity from the thousands of Cartotalkers that immediately clicked on the link. :lol:

Not sure what was wrong and I have no affiliation with them - but I just checked a second ago and things looked ok...

I like Analisa's list of OS options (with the notable absence of GRASS) and would like to think that sometime in the future these initiatives will produce more viable options for working cartographers.

co-cartographic creator of boringmaps.com


#12
Andrew Patterson

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Maybe it's just me, but Scribus seems more like an analogue to InDesign than Illustrator, though I suppose the two have some things in common. I can't say I've ever tried it though.

I have tried the GIMP though. The GIMP is powerful, but it's UI is something akin to one of the lower circles of Hell. Or it was when I last tried it. Since they seemed pretty fanatical about that aspect back in the day, I don't imagine that's changed much.
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#13
Hans van der Maarel

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Maybe it's just me, but Scribus seems more like an analogue to InDesign than Illustrator, though I suppose the two have some things in common. I can't say I've ever tried it though.

I have tried the GIMP though. The GIMP is powerful, but it's UI is something akin to one of the lower circles of Hell. Or it was when I last tried it. Since they seemed pretty fanatical about that aspect back in the day, I don't imagine that's changed much.


IIRC, there's an alternative UI for The Gimp, to make it look like Photoshop.

I looked at Inkscape somewhere last year, wasn't really impressed with it though. Besides, using MAPublisher implies that I have to use Illustrator as well.
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#14
Andrew

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Gimp Shop UI

#15
MostlyHarmless

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QGIS (Quantum GIS) isn't bad open source GIS software. Still lightyears away from Arc though.




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