GIS Tech News (#41)6 Aug, 2007 By: Andrew G. Roe,P.E.
Open-Source Software Gains FootholdUsers can tailor applications to fit their needs.
The landscape of open-source GIS software has changed significantly in the past couple of years, and the implications of those changes are still unfolding. Recent offerings from big-name players such as Autodesk and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) apparently are lending credibility to open-source efforts worldwide and opening doors for more end users to participate in software development.
In general, software is considered open source if the source code is made available to the general public for modification and/or redistribution. The GIS arena has proven popular for open-source development as public domain data sources have grown and GIS has gained popularity across a wider spectrum of users.
One of the first open-source GIS applications to emerge was Geographic Resources Analysis Support System (GRASS), a tool originally developed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for military land management and environmental planning. After the Corps stopped development of GRASS, it was picked up by the academic community in the late 1990s and has been enhanced as an open-source application by a variety of developers. It is used in both the private and public sector for data management, image processing, graphics production, spatial modeling, and visualization. More than one million lines of ANSI-C code are fully available for downloading.
MapServer, originally developed by the University of Minnesota in cooperation with NASA and the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, also has gained recognition as an open-source application. It is maintained by approximately 20 developers around the world and is used primarily for rendering maps, images, and vector data on the Web. Read more>>
By Ron LaFon
The current generation of laptop computers offers enough power, expandability, and battery life to let their users take even resource-hungry CAD applications on the road. Although the performance might not be quite as high as a desktop system, you may find that the beefiest new laptops actually fall into the category of mobile workstations, allowing you to be as productive with them despite being away from your familiar CAD seat. Read more>>
UPCOMING GIS EVENTS
August 20-23, 2007
Washington , DC
URISA 2007, themed "Sharing Technological Inspiration: Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow," will begin with twelve preconference workshops offering education and take-home workbook materials. More than 200 speakers from around the world will present at URISA 2007. Read more>>
Cadalyst's complete list of upcoming events is always available on our Web site. Cadalyst's sister publication, Geospatial Solutions, also offers a full calendar of GIS-related events.