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Thread: Personal GIS files

  1. #1
    Cyburbian
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    Personal GIS files

    I have been using ESRI GIS/ ArcMap to make personal maps at school that I want to keep editing after I leave school. I do not have very much money on me; the maps are, of course, in .mxd files as well as .shp shapefiles. What to do about this?

  2. #2
    Cyburbian
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    Good news, bad news:

    The bad news is you will lose your .mxd files without access to ArcGis. The good news is a variety of non-ESRI programs can work with shapefiles (.shp). So, you may lose your maps, but at least you can keep the underlying data. You can always export your mxdís to an image format (jpeg, tiff etc) so you can at least see them, or show them to other people (like potential employers)

    The free source/open source options are pretty limited. If you google open source gis, youíll get a good idea of whatís out there. Iíve used QGis before with limited success. It provides basic editing and (very basic) display of data (including shapefiles). My experience with it was several releases ago; maybe things have improved. QGis also works with postgresql, an open source RDBMS which is a very powerful tool in itís own right.

    You could look at some less expensive commercial software (in the hundreds of dollars, not thousands like Arc). Two that come to mind are Manifold GIS, and Global Mapper. Both will work with shapefiles. I have not tried either of these programs, but I have looked at them as a low cost alternative to ESRI products so I can work on maps at home, or if I find myself without access to ArcGis.

    Another option might be to look for authorized resellers, and try to pick up a used copy of ArcGis, or maybe even 3.x.

    Hope that helps

  3. #3
    Cyburbian Cardinal's avatar
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    As for continuing to edit them, about the only thing I can think of is saving the files and manipulating them with Arc Reader. I'm no GIS expert though. One thing I do find helpful is to make .jpg files of all of the maps I produce. They are far more accessible to people without GIS, and easier to insert into documents.
    Anyone want to adopt a dog?

  4. #4
    Cyburbian beach_bum's avatar
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    mxd and shp files are huge and hard to store on email or even on a thumb drive (especially alot of them!). I did my master's thesis with GIS and had to store large files and did it on an external hard drive. Depending on how large your files are you can get a smaller one about 160 GB for about $100 if you watch the sales. If anyone has a cheaper solution...most emails can't attach files that big. Maybe an FTP site?
    "Never invest in any idea you can't illustrate with a crayon." ~Peter Lynch

  5. #5
    Member
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    There are plenty of Open Source software packages, but you will not be able to edit MXD.
    Accuglobe would be an alternative that is cheap if not free.

  6. #6
    Dan Staley's avatar
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    .mxd and .shp files are not something that you can open in any old file and start manipulating. You'll have to wait until you are able to obtain ArcGIS utilities, unless something has happened since the last time I checked (but then you wouldn't be here, presumably). Save them on an external hard drive as mentioned above, as thumb drives won't do it unless they are small file sets. Welcome to another example of 'technology is your friend, sometimes'.

  7. #7
    Cyburbian
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    Why doesn't anyone appear to have developed freeware or shareware on this problem? There ought to be freeware or shareware available; I am tired of anything that costs $1400 per annum. Maybe converting the files to .KML or .KMZ might help..... that would be Google Earth.
    Last edited by Rickyrab; 18 Jul 2008 at 4:16 PM.

  8. #8
    Cyburbian
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    I think I have a solution: export the .mxd file to a .kml/kmz and use any one of a bunch of possible .kml/kmz editors (Google Earth happens to be more widely known those days than ArcMap among the general public, so more developers for Google Earth).

  9. #9
    Cyburbian
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    I think I have a solution: export the .mxd file to a .kml/kmz and use any one of a bunch of possible .kml/kmz editors (Google Earth happens to be more widely known those days than ArcMap among the general public, so more developers for Google Earth).
    Iíd be curious to know if this will work for you. Google Earth (and the kml/kmz formats) are not something Iíve ever had the chance to work with. So, if what youíre proposing works as a lower cost way to make or edit maps, and manipulate data, Iíd be pretty interested.

    Iíve been in a similar situation, looking for ways to do gis and cartographic work without using ArcGis. It seems like its hard to avoid purchasing at least one expensive piece of software, though. You either end up paying on the gis end, or you end up paying on the graphic/cartographic side of things.

    Anyway, Iíll refer you to my previous post (which was off limbo, awaiting moderator approval) for some other suggestions.

  10. #10
    BANNED
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    We never can work with .mxd files into other open sources as its a proprietary extention of ESRI ..................

    Used to store them internally within ArcGIS products

    One of the best option would be using Quantum GIS or GRASS both open source products.

    1. QGIS[Quantum GIS] may not be hit, but its a gud replacement to ArcGIS.
    It works on python, which is as easy to program, hence can be modified according
    to our workout, if someone is really want to customize
    2. GRASS is another gud option , but figuring out how to install it, is the toughest challenge it puts infront of user before its starts using it. It has all functionalities as well as supports .shp file extensions.
    3. The third option i wuld rather consider, is to upload all this information on Web Based GIS using ASP.net or MapServer and PostGRE SQL as database to retrieve

    I have worked on routing algorithms for CASE 3



    hope it helps

  11. #11
    Cyburbian pjhooker's avatar
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    Hello city planners, the idea of open source software is very interesting, but my experience leaves much to be passed directly from ArcGis to QGis and such, because they are structurally different.
    My project of urban planning is based on a model similar to SimCity, with software GRASS and QGIS with an interface in PHP with a database based on PostgreSQL / PostGIS. I'm doing a lot of research and I'm experimenting with different techniques, but there are few examples, it seems to me to surf the scientific encyclopedias, but only in rare cases return interfaces similar to the legendary SimCity, clear and understandable. Someone is following this path. See you soon!

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