GIS software – described in 1000 words

The recent month of May, it was released version 1.2 of this brief but admirable document that with that name seems to scoff at how complicated it is the software for managing spatial data.

It is written by Stefan Steiniger and Robert Weibel of Calgary University in California and Zurich University respectively. At the end give credits to secondary sources.

After a brief introduction, explaining the basic trends of GIS software application, the document contains 4 main topics:

GIS Software: Concepts

Here is the distinction between the two main ways to represent the data: Raster and Vector.

After they masterfully apply the old principle of “One picture is worth a thousand words” and present the OpenJump screen to express most common sections of a GIS tool:

  • Menu functions
  • Navigation tools
  • The framework layers
  • Editing tools
  • The spatial view map
  • The tabular view of attributes


Basic routines that accompany the GIS Software

In this section is a list of the 9 core functions that a user requires from a tool:

  1. clip_image003Create data
  2. Edit, if the data has changed
  3. Store, after making changes
  4. Display data from other sources
  5. Integrate data from other sources with the existing ones
  6. Consult based on criteria
  7. Analyze data and create results
  8. Manipulate and transform data from analysis
  9. Post output results in map form

This process I had raised before in six steps when I did the Manifold’s manual, in this case expands data construction separating those that are obtained with other tools and analysis, separating the simple query, analysis of results and conversion to new data.

  1. Construction (Create, Display)
  2. Analysis (See, Analyze, Handle)
  3. Publishing
  4. Edition
  5. Administration (Store)
  6. Exchange (Integration)

GIS Software Categories

In this section are separated 7 different categories depending on the specialty, including:

  1. Desktop GIS (Desktop)
  2. Spatial Data Manager
  3. Web map server
  4. GIS Server
  5. GIS Web Client
    Lightweight (like Google Maps)
    Heavy (like Google Earth)
  6. GIS for mobiles (Mobile GIS)
  7. GIS libraries and extensions

Apart from a graph it includes a comparison chart where the 9 previous features are cross with software specialty categories.


Manufacturers and GIS Software Projects

In this we mention the main trends in software manufacturing, trade and the free.

Among the commercial refers to AutoDesk, Bentley, ESRI, GE (Small World), and Pitney Bowes (Mapinfo)

And between free software is mention MapServer, GeoServer, PostGIS, Quantum GIS and gvSIG.


My respects, one day I would like to write as well.

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