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Life after ArcView 3.3 … GvSIG

TRANSLATION NOTES: Please read some comments at the end of this post

clip_image002I had finished teaching the first module of GvSIG, to an institution that apart than implementing a system for municipalities use, expects to also provide training on free GIS. This institution had developed an application on Avenue but when thinking about migrating it to ArcGIS 9 have given me the opportunity to show them free alternatives and finally the issue has walked on well. From 8 students just one knew ArcGIS 9 consistently, resulting easily to adapt to gvSIG and although they are aware that ESRI is a more known technology and of a brand better positioned they also have reached the conclusion that they haven’t enough money to invest in 10 GisDesktop licenses, 2 for ArcEditor, 1 for GisServer and other three extensiones… ah! and 36 licenses for its pilot project customers.

Here I’ll tell you how it was.

The students

8 users of ArcView 3.3, albeit a rather old technology is well distributed by many institutions … appreciated for its simplicity and the number of technicians that dominate it.

Stands out of all the students a boy programmer that handles Java quite well and has already begun to work on the construction of extensions for GvSIG although he worked more on NetBeans and seemed to him it’s rather strange (*) to do with Eclipse. There is also one who knows programming in Avenue, two more developers involved in web design with good management of MySQL/PHP. Others are technical experts in getting useless (**) an apr.

The teams

One of the teams was with Linux Ubuntu there everything was wonderful.

5 teams have XP, there was no problem

2 teams have Windows Vista; there were several incidents of Java Runtime errors, precisely because the installation that had been done was of a GvSIG portable version. The best way to do this is to install connected to the web, because the system searches the Java Runtime Environment version that is best suited to the system. Errors usually occurred at the load of a raster or when making a query with sql builder.

But in general it was quite well the performance although one of the equipments was probably loaded with the ‘install and uninstall’ way or because low space disk. These felt a little slow the program operation… among them was my laptop that is already asking for renewal after having been subjected to various simulations of the Golgotha.

The disadvantages of GvSIG regarding ArcView 3x

By doing a comparative review among them who felt the lack of ArcView, these were their findings:

  • In the tables, can not change the order of the columns with a simple drag
  • When importing data from a csv file, requires that the symbol that separates the list should be a semicolon (;) which means having to change the regional settings in Windows so that when exporting in Excel go this way… and if the files are converted it is a problem (***). To this was added that Excel 2007 can not export to dbf.
  • The styles of lines and points seem quite limited compared to ArcView’s… at… I guess more styles are brought somewhere on the web but manual does not bring this indicated.
  • Options to change fields’ layout in the tables is a bit limited
  • It was not possible to bring a grid on maps, such as the geographical grid coordinates

The advantages

Although this first module was limited to handling views, tables and maps, this is what they liked most:

  • The color choices when theming
  • Creating transparency
  • The layer properties for choosing minimum and maximum zoom
  • Cutting window as georeferenced image
  • The option to go to specific coordinates
  • The grouping of layers and the tree choice with a plus sign (+)
  • The ability to add projection to the views and not just the project
  • The correct interpretation of special characters such as accents and ñ
  • Importing from a csv
  • The choice of language
  • Options to define where are the source data
  • The ability to develop, knowing virtually any GvSIG functionality as a component in Java
  • Exporting to PDF
  • The creation of frames as a marker in the views

In a couple of weeks I have to held the second module, which involves the data construction, extensions integration, SEXTANTE and later would be the third one in which we would train the OGC service creation theme. For while they have been left making migration from their apr to gvp and integrating features that were not with ArcView.


(*) tirado de los cabellos: an idiom that means that something is rather out of normality, perhaps something a bit crazy

(**) destrompar: useless

(***) es una lata: an idiom that means that something is rather annoying

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