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#1
Sab

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In the economic downturn time, cost will be a key to many companies and government sectors. Our existence will bring a lot more flexibility and cost-effective solutions for more users.  :)

So how easy would it be for those organizations who have integrated ArcGIS into their day to day operations to move everything over to SuperGIS? There is, of course, the sunk cost that many larger organizations have already have that m ay prevent them from moving to SuperGIS or any other GIS system, regardless of the licencing costs and functionality.

Why on earth you want to pay for software license? There are already several Free and Open Source software available. Check QGIS, no extra work you need to do...user-friendly and extremely flexible. I has seveal plugins for doing any GIS task. The idea that Open Source Software doesn't work comes from likes of ESRI to be able to sell software...it's free so at least you can give it a try!

#2
Hans van der Maarel

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Why on earth you want to pay for software license? There are already several Free and Open Source software available. Check QGIS, no extra work you need to do...user-friendly and extremely flexible. I has seveal plugins for doing any GIS task. The idea that Open Source Software doesn't work comes from likes of ESRI to be able to sell software...it's free so at least you can give it a try!


Note before I start: I do make part of my income from selling and supporting commercial software, so I guess you could say I'm biased :)

User-friendly is a rather vague term. I tried GRASS several times, but never could get it to work since the Mac version seemed to depend on several external libraries, which were lost in the mists of cyberspace. Even the "just one download, we really mean it" installer failed because it needed extra libraries :) Then again, it does get worse, there was the infamous OpenStreetmap-to-Postgis script that was delivered as a binary executable without any documentation whatsoever about the database access details it expected... or back in the BeOS days there was a word processor that wasn't quite finished yet, any command more complex than making text bold or italics popped up a message telling me to open up somefile.cpp and start programming at line so and so :rolleyes:

I do like QGis, but I use it "just" as a way of viewing GIS files on Mac. I know it can do more, but I have other tools covering those parts already.

I think a lot of it is market driven. Sometimes clients send me Shapefiles and MXD files, so I have to have ArcGIS to be able to use them. I can opt not to get ArcGIS, but that would mean I lose business and/or can't offer the support to my clients that I'm supposed to be giving them. Using Geodatabases pretty much means I have to have Arc around as well (I have PostGIS as well, but a Geodatabase is easier to migrate to customers). Free and Open Source Software certainly has a place and I use a fair bit of it in my daily work (OpenOffice, Firefox, Thunderbird, Apache/MySQL). I do think it hasn't yet reached the critical mass and professional credibility in the GIS market.
Hans van der Maarel - Cartotalk Editor
Red Geographics
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#3
Sab

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I do think it hasn't yet reached the critical mass and professional credibility in the GIS market.

You mean OpenLayers, GeoServer, PostGIS are not credible enough? Maybe we should tell ESRI, Google, Oracle to stop wasting money on sponsoring stuff like FOSS4G:
http://2011.foss4g.org/

If you are talking only about Desktop GIS, you should probably looking in to the latest trends of Mapinfo, Manifold, etc. Have you ever asked on a forum or mailing list how to install GRASS:
http://www.kyngchaos.../software/grass

#4
Hans van der Maarel

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I do think it hasn't yet reached the critical mass and professional credibility in the GIS market.

You mean OpenLayers, GeoServer, PostGIS are not credible enough? Maybe we should tell ESRI, Google, Oracle to stop wasting money on sponsoring stuff like FOSS4G:
http://2011.foss4g.org/


The GIS market is more than just that of course. I was in fact mainly referring to desktop GIS.

If you are talking only about Desktop GIS, you should probably looking in to the latest trends of Mapinfo, Manifold, etc. Have you ever asked on a forum or mailing list how to install GRASS:
http://www.kyngchaos.../software/grass


I feel that when it's necessary to ask for support on how to install a product, it's not user-friendly. It could be me of course, but I managed to get ArcGIS installed without any problems (and believe me, I'm absolutely no ESRI-fan). The particular GRASS installer I was referring to actually came from that site.

I'm splitting off this part of the discussion, as it has nothing at all to do with the comparison between Manifold and SuperGIS.
Hans van der Maarel - Cartotalk Editor
Red Geographics
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#5
dsl

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If you are talking only about Desktop GIS, you should probably looking in to the latest trends of Mapinfo, Manifold, etc. Have you ever asked on a forum or mailing list how to install GRASS:
http://www.kyngchaos.../software/grass


I think support is usually the number one argument a corporation makes against open source software. They want to be able to pick up the phone and say, "this didn't install on my mac," not wade through endless mail lists trying to find a solution to their problem. OSGeo seems to be making a lot of efforts in this area, though. Especially in the areas you listed. Seems server side is where Open Source has always made its mark. It will be interesting where ESRI takes their ArcGIS online initiative though.

#6
SaultDon

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I think if the software or program does what you need it to, then use it.
With that in mind, I can't really compare open source to commercial GIS software. I believe they are complementary and should be used as such. They all have their share of bugs, strengths in specific tasks or are restricted to proprietary data storage formats for example.

I have never worked or used a GIS where one piece of software was used to make it function for whatever it was made to do; there was always a couple things going on with both Open Source and Proprietary in the mix.

I choose my software because of usability. I am familiar with it, I know where the functions are that I want. Sometimes speed differences can be seen on a similar function that's available in different programs, and these have their caveats so it helps to read the readmes and help docs.

Honestly though, because I understand the fundamentals of a GIS, I am now able to pick up any "GIS" software and get it to do the most rudimentary of tasks immediately. The more advanced stuff can be found in the documentation easily because I know the keywords to enter. Its just a matter of learning that software's specific workflow to manage the data and get the result you want.

Both OpSrc. and Prop. software have good support communities through forums, websites, blogs, mailing lists, telephone, email, so help is never difficult to get.

And I do have the option to support OS GIS software either financially through donations or actual development/programming contributions but that is entirely up to me.

#7
Adam Wilbert

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Why on earth you want to pay for software license? There are already several Free and Open Source software available.


For me, it's even easier a question than weighing support vs functionality vs plugins etc. It's really easy math. The cost of software licenses isn't really all that prohibitive when its at the core of your business. I know chefs that spend more on knives than I do on software.

Until the opportunity cost of adopting open source software comes WAY down, then it just doesn't make economic sense for me to spend the time on it. To save a $1000 license fee, I would have to spend less than 20 hours A YEAR to make the transition. I don't think I could install GRASS and get it up to speed learning it in less than 20 hours. Anything more than 20 hours spent getting up-and-running/troubleshooting/relearning over the course of a year, then I'm losing money on the deal.

Thats not to say I won't dabble with it in my down time. And eventually it may become easy enough to make that switch worth while. But at the moment, the incentive just isn't there.

Adam Wilbert
CartoGaia.com & AdamWilbert.com
Lynda.com author of "Up and Running with ArcGIS"


#8
Igor Brejc

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Why on earth you want to pay for software license? There are already several Free and Open Source software available. Check QGIS, no extra work you need to do...user-friendly and extremely flexible. I has seveal plugins for doing any GIS task. The idea that Open Source Software doesn't work comes from likes of ESRI to be able to sell software...it's free so at least you can give it a try!


Note before I start: I do make part of my income from selling and supporting commercial software, so I guess you could say I'm biased :)


I think a similar disclaimer could have been made by Sab too, based on what can be read on his profile page ;)
Igor Brejc
author of Maperitive, an OSM-based mapmaking software

#9
GISRox

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Why on earth you want to pay for software license?


Plenty of reasons!

1. 3rd party vendor support.
2. Integration with current and future enterprise applications.
3. Excellent technical support.
4. Really good user confences, including domain specific groups(PUG).
5. Development tools that are second to none. ModelBuilder, ArcObjects, etc.
6. World class training from ESRI or 3rd party vendors.
7. Toolset that is applicable to many jobs and domains.


I will state that I like using OpenSource products. It is part of my toolset, but it has a long way to go before I would consider replacing my commercial software.



#10
Wombat

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I have been trained and have used proprietary products for some time now. While I think that there are some good proprietary products out there (namely Manifold and ArcGIS Desktop) I think that open source products are much better than people give them credit for. In fact, when ESRI products seem to always produce problems I/we have repeatedly found better solutions with open source alternatives. This is especially true with server, web, and database products. I recently set up a production editing environment using a PostGIS database and Quantum GIS desktop and found the only issues I had was rendering huge data sets (no surprise) and interacting with ESRI SDE data (in SQL Server). What is the solution to this conundrum you might ask? Drop SDE and rely on open source products made to work together that follow OGC standards. The ability to modify the product it self, email developers directly, and get instant feedback from mailing lists is invaluable. In my experience this level of support is always faster and better than what I get from ESRI only without the price tag.

For a better idea of how open source products are becoming much more useful for geospatial professionals see this video from the last FOSS4G conference.

http://www.fosslc.or...business-models

#11
Sab

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If you do have ArcGIS (and want to use that) - learn how to do it there instead of trying other pieces of software! (unless you are hampered by license restriction or time!)


Learning GRASS and QGIS will liberate you from license restriction...and performance-wise..different leagues.

#12
Hans van der Maarel

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If you do have ArcGIS (and want to use that) - learn how to do it there instead of trying other pieces of software! (unless you are hampered by license restriction or time!)


Learning GRASS and QGIS will liberate you from license restriction...and performance-wise..different leagues.


While that may be true (I've never been able to get my head around GRASS, even importing a simple shapefile stumps me...), you do have to remember that not everybody is in a position to just install whatever software they want on their machine. Many organisations put restrictions on that.
Hans van der Maarel - Cartotalk Editor
Red Geographics
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#13
Robert2009

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Exactly Hans ! I agreed with you. Most organzations are not allowed a non-licnese on their machine, so we are only allowed to purchase them on our machine. If you are self-employed, they can installed as many as they can.

Robert

#14
Sab

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Exactly Hans ! I agreed with you. Most organzations are not allowed a non-licnese on their machine, so we are only allowed to purchase them on our machine. If you are self-employed, they can installed as many as they can.

Robert


By non-licnese [sic] you mean unauthorised? The software packages I was talking about do have license, and it is GPL




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