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GIS Free/open source GIS program?

ddomin4360

Cyburbian
Messages
187
Points
7
I'm just starting GIS classes and the course is providing us with one year of free ArcGIS. Apparently this quite the pricey program, so I won't be shelling out personal cash to extend the license, but I wonder if there are any decent free GIS programs? Mostly just to fool around and get a feel for GIS outside of what I need to do for classes.

I saw some online, but I'm unsure as to how good they actually are.
 

Hink

OH....IO
Staff member
Moderator
Messages
15,541
Points
48
Most, if not all, are horrible. ESRI has a bear hug on the market... one that Hacksaw Jim Duggan couldn't get out of.

Open street map is pretty interesting, but I haven't looked into it much...

http://www.openstreetmap.org/

The concept is good though. So who knows, hopefully someone will break the market, and ESRI will stop thinking it is acceptable to charge $1.5k for maintenance :r:
 

ddomin4360

Cyburbian
Messages
187
Points
7
Most, if not all, are horrible. ESRI has a bear hug on the market... one that Hacksaw Jim Duggan couldn't get out of.

Open street map is pretty interesting, but I haven't looked into it much...

http://www.openstreetmap.org/

The concept is good though. So who knows, hopefully someone will break the market, and ESRI will stop thinking it is acceptable to charge $1.5k for maintenance :r:
One of the guys in my planning program works for a company that is trying to make a free/opensource gis program, but they're still in the construction stage.

Yes, apparently my professor said the program was basically a $6k program and my head exploded.

I'll take a look at what you sent. Thanks!
 

ColoGI

Cyburbian
Messages
2,568
Points
18
One of the guys in my planning program works for a company that is trying to make a free/opensource gis program, but they're still in the construction stage.

Yes, apparently my professor said the program was basically a $6k program and my head exploded.

I'll take a look at what you sent. Thanks!
IIRC I've seen this discussion several times on this board. I also seem to recall alternatives in those threads. I have an older version that I still use for some things on an old PC.
 

pjhooker

Cyburbian
Messages
35
Points
2
I used ESRI products for several years and now I choose the open source world for reasons of power, sometimes unspoken, of these.
I am waiting fact that these are expressed, and meanwhile I've found that QGis, can completely replace, the ESRI ArcMap, for Land Use Planning in simple and advanced mode.
I found many benefits compared to the product of ESRI and in particular the complete connection to PostGIS / Postgres which follows the development of interfaces with PHP and OpenStreetMap / OpenLayers.

Very interesting and simple.
 

Cardinal

Cyburbian
Messages
10,081
Points
34
The basic version of ArcGIS will run $1,500. Extensions vary in price up to $7,500 (if I remember correctly). The basic version will allow you to create maps and perfom a number of functions. But you will likely find you want extensions like network analyst or spatial analyst. I wonder if they offer a student license?
 

reimaginethis

Cyburbian
Messages
105
Points
6
The basic version of ArcGIS will run $1,500. Extensions vary in price up to $7,500 (if I remember correctly). The basic version will allow you to create maps and perfom a number of functions. But you will likely find you want extensions like network analyst or spatial analyst. I wonder if they offer a student license?
Yes, they do! I'm running it right now. It's definitely lacking in extensions, but if all you need is mapmaking capability without more complex analyses, the student version is A-OK. The license is good for one year. I would encourage students to check with their departments (or the engineering or geography departments -- or their IT department) for the free disk and license.
 

ddomin4360

Cyburbian
Messages
187
Points
7
Thank you guys, this is fantastic stuff.

I've opted to splurge a bit and update my home system for the gis and design work I'll be doing soon. I look forward to this.
 

kpf

Cyburbian
Messages
40
Points
2
Lots of good suggestions here. I’ll throw in FW Tools because it provides easy, command line access to a bunch of tools for manipulating vector and raster data. If you’re interested in databases, I’ll second Postgres/Postgis. I’ll also suggest SQL Server Express which is free and supports spatial data. Another +1 for qgis, and you may want to look at udig gis, too. Google around, and you can find lots of info, including some good tutorials.

originally posted by Hink
Most, if not all, are horrible....
I agree to a point. On the plus side, I’ve played with this stuff on and off over the last couple of years, and the programs seem to keep improving, and becoming more accessible.
 

monika_upm

Cyburbian
Messages
27
Points
2
Ilwis - another option of a free GIS

Hello,

besides qGIS also Ilwis is a nice GIS package for free - it comes also with a spatial multicriteria evaluation tool, which is nice for land use planning etc. Ilwis can be downloade for free http://52north.org/communities/ilwis

Best,
Monika
 

vmgillen

Member
Messages
5
Points
0
qgis.org: Wroclaw, version 1.7.

VERY user friendly - especially the "free" part. Except it isn't really free - everyone contributes to the evolotion of the program. Classic "from each according... to each according..."
 

ScipioA

Member
Messages
1
Points
0
Another recommendation for QGIS here. It's very versatile and has an active community. If the base program can't do what you need to do you can usually install a plugin to do it in a few clicks. And if there isn't a plugin yet someone likely has posted some python code you can paste and run into the built-in console. My cheap-ass school taught us GIS on Quantum, but I was quickly able to learn ArcMap when I encountered it in a professional setting.
 
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