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Best Laptop Computer for Cartography/GIS?


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#1
Speerdm

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Hi all,
I'm a soon to be graduate in Geospatial Sciences, and I'm going to be entering the workforce soon, but not without a new computer. I was wondering what type of laptops are most conducive for running cartography software? If you could, tell me what brand you like, optimum processor speed, size of RAM/hardrive and whatever else you think is important. I'm looking to not spend for than $1000.

Thanks!

Dave

#2
David Medeiros

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For me there is no substitute for a Mac when it comes to running graphics software and doing desktop publishing. The Dell's I use on my day job make me what to cry. That said, if your going to be working with GIS software you'll find PCs have greater support. I can't recommend a specific laptop but I'd imagine you'll need more than $1000 to prepare a laptop for doing serious graphics production work. When it comes to big files full of lines, type and raster images you need a lot of memory so load up, max out memory for whatever computer you get. The biggest screen you can get will help as well.

Is there some particular reason you need a laptop and not a desktop? Laptops in my experience do not make very good cartographic platforms for full time production. Displays are small, keyboards awkward.

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#3
Speerdm

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For me there is no substitute for a Mac when it comes to running graphics software and doing desktop publishing. The Dell's I use on my day job make me what to cry. That said, if your going to be working with GIS software you'll find PCs have greater support. I can't recommend a specific laptop but I'd imagine you'll need more than $1000 to prepare a laptop for doing serious graphics production work. When it comes to big files full of lines, type and raster images you need a lot of memory so load up, max out memory for whatever computer you get. The biggest screen you can get will help as well.

Is there some particular reason you need a laptop and not a desktop? Laptops in my experience do not make very good cartographic platforms for full time production. Displays are small, keyboards awkward.



I'm anticipating a job thats still somewhat fieldwork intensive. This often involves staying at a hotel, so I'm looking for a computer that I can take with me (not necessarily into the field) but something that I can download my data at the end of the day. So far, I've been looking for a computer with more than or equal to 4gb of memory, pentium core 2 duo processor, and 500gb hard drive. Currently looking at this HP on cnet: http://reviews.cnet....?tag=mncol;psum

#4
Hans van der Maarel

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Consider a MacBook Pro with 4 or 8 Gb of ram. If you install Windows in a Virtual Machine or through Bootcamp you essentially have 2 computers and will get the best of both worlds.
Hans van der Maarel - Cartotalk Editor
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#5
MapMedia

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I use a Dell workstation and a laptop for the road.

Nothing wrong with Macs - just consider if you will be using ESRI or other PC software - Mac OS Bootcamp may be an option.

#6
josie

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I also use a macbook pro and I run windows in parallels. There are a couple of issues which may come up. One is you need to split memory between different partitions so you will need a fair bit in order to assign enough to windows. Also, I use Manifold but they say they do not support the software when it is running in parallels. I also run ArcGIS in parallels and this is also ok but very slow.

Overall however, I would not change. There are many things that are advantageous in a mac such as the easy image cropping and saving to various formats. They also never get viruses. They are great for presentations and general graphical tasks.

#7
Derek Tonn

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I seriously, SERIOUSLY hate the whole Mac vs. PC debate...as well as questions like "what is the best _____________" unless it is requesting information on a highly specific question. It's kind of like asking people what car is the best to purchase...or what toppings you should get on a pizza. Some people will say "Oh man, you've GOT to buy a Toyota!" or "Pepperoni is the only way to go." Other people will say that VW or Volvo is what you really need...as "they won't end up at the mechanic as much"...or that you're CRAZY if you don't get sausage and mushrooms on your pizza. :)

What it really boils down to in the end, in 2009, is:

1. What type of computer/OS do you prefer to work on? Mac apologists will scold you if you give into The Man and buy a PC, and will also try and scare you with talk of viruses or blue screens of death. Truth is, I've used both platforms (Mac and PC) for years...and post-Windows 98/ME, I haven't had any more problems with viruses or crashes with my PCs than I have working on Macs. It's also a fallacy to think that Mac = safe from viruses. We don't need to scare anybody unnecessarily, but Macs can be compromised as easily as Windows PCs can. The reason they're not...or that you at least don't hear about it as much? Because 90% of the world is using Windows-based PCs. Nine-times as many people clicking things they shouldn't or not really understanding how to operate their machine.

2. What software programs you will want/need to run. I generally work on a PC that runs Windows...but I like Macs just as well! The reason I decided to go with PC/Windows though is because many, many of the software programs I use (Corel Draw, various image optimization tools, etc.) are Windows/DOS only apps. I could run an emulator on a Mac...but for me, the benefits of being on a Mac platform did not necessitate that type of set-up.

3. What type of budget do you have to work with? Almost invariably, Macs will be a bit more expensive to purchase than PCs. It's Business/Marketing 101 with Macs as a result: In order to charge "premium pricing" for your product or service, you either need superior quality or need the perception of superior quality in the marketplace. Mac users will cite superior quality because they NEED to in order to justify the hundreds of additional dollars for those computers. In some respects, they're right! In many other respects though, they're kind of Right-Wing Republicans telling you that Hillary Clinton still has a bunch of incriminating legal documents in the trunk of her car from her days in Arkansas...or that Barack Obama forged his birth certificate and is actually NOT an American citizen. Caveat emptor in the Advice Department. ;)

Seriously. Look at both options, figure out what design tools and other programs you will need/want to run (and what platform(s) they support), then make the decision that is best for you. Don't let any of us force you to think/work the way that we prefer to.
Derek Tonn
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mapformation, LLC

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http://www.mapformation.com

#8
geo_will

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I seriously, SERIOUSLY hate the whole Mac vs. PC debate...as well as questions like "what is the best _____________" unless it is requesting information on a highly specific question. It's kind of like asking people what car is the best to purchase...or what toppings you should get on a pizza. Some people will say "Oh man, you've GOT to buy a Toyota!" or "Pepperoni is the only way to go." Other people will say that VW or Volvo is what you really need...as "they won't end up at the mechanic as much"...or that you're CRAZY if you don't get sausage and mushrooms on your pizza. :)

What it really boils down to in the end, in 2009, is:

1. What type of computer/OS do you prefer to work on? Mac apologists will scold you if you give into The Man and buy a PC, and will also try and scare you with talk of viruses or blue screens of death. Truth is, I've used both platforms (Mac and PC) for years...and post-Windows 98/ME, I haven't had any more problems with viruses or crashes with my PCs than I have working on Macs. It's also a fallacy to think that Mac = safe from viruses. We don't need to scare anybody unnecessarily, but Macs can be compromised as easily as Windows PCs can. The reason they're not...or that you at least don't hear about it as much? Because 90% of the world is using Windows-based PCs. Nine-times as many people clicking things they shouldn't or not really understanding how to operate their machine.

2. What software programs you will want/need to run. I generally work on a PC that runs Windows...but I like Macs just as well! The reason I decided to go with PC/Windows though is because many, many of the software programs I use (Corel Draw, various image optimization tools, etc.) are Windows/DOS only apps. I could run an emulator on a Mac...but for me, the benefits of being on a Mac platform did not necessitate that type of set-up.

3. What type of budget do you have to work with? Almost invariably, Macs will be a bit more expensive to purchase than PCs. It's Business/Marketing 101 with Macs as a result: In order to charge "premium pricing" for your product or service, you either need superior quality or need the perception of superior quality in the marketplace. Mac users will cite superior quality because they NEED to in order to justify the hundreds of additional dollars for those computers. In some respects, they're right! In many other respects though, they're kind of Right-Wing Republicans telling you that Hillary Clinton still has a bunch of incriminating legal documents in the trunk of her car from her days in Arkansas...or that Barack Obama forged his birth certificate and is actually NOT an American citizen. Caveat emptor in the Advice Department. ;)

Seriously. Look at both options, figure out what design tools and other programs you will need/want to run (and what platform(s) they support), then make the decision that is best for you. Don't let any of us force you to think/work the way that we prefer to.


This is the correct information. I use both Mac's and PC's for cartography and my photography business. They are the exact same thing in a different package. Same processors, same parts, etc... Mac's have a more intuitive interface in my opinion and look great. PC's are much more flexible though. Its really your preference.
Will
Geomatics Specialist & Cartographer

http://gisnode.com

#9
James Hines

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Check out this site: http://www.dell.com/

Even if you are not looking to buy a dell this may give you some insight of the components & the prices that are involved to buy a computer.

"There is much beauty that we fail to see through our own eyes teeming with life forms that give us that perception of our reality.  Leaves on the trees blowing gently in the wind, or scarily, the waves pounding through high surf, or lightly on a warm summer’s day; that opportunity to sit or swim in the water on a white beach.   That comfort to shout, “The universal conscious do you hear me?  I am alive, guide me dear logos towards the path of rightnesses.”  Earned what has been kept, no longer to be absorbed into a life filled with cold damn winds and  that stubborn fog clouding  my vision with nothing but darkness."


#10
kevinpaulscarrott

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Listening to the following will help enormously with the old PC/Mac problem:

pc or mac?

Best wishes to all as usual,
Kevin Paul
Stavanger Guide Maps Norway

#11
Claude

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Kevin, that was so great to hear i listened to it about 6 times in a row.
Platts, a div. of McGraw-Hill
www.maps.platts.com





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