shrug-l: Fall Course in Open Source GIS Software now accepted by GIS CI for credit

Gary Watry watry at
Wed Aug 16 11:40:00 EDT 2006

Good Morning

We are getting ready to start the Free Open Source GIS course for the 
Fall of 2006 that will be taught on-line at your own pace.One of the 
changes is that if you take the course and complete it you will get a 
certificate of completion that will in turn be accepted by URISA and The 
GIS Certificate Institute for credit for part of the educational 
requirements for certification or recertification.

If interested, Please go to There is a 
link on the bottom to register for the course.

The course set-up is a little different in that you can choose the 
monitor the course or take the course. If you take the course, you will 
be e-mailed a pdf formated certificate of completion at the end of each 
software package.

All the data used in the lessons will be from the National Atlas or from 
files that will be available at

All the software will be open source and available for down-load over 
the Internet.

The purpose of this course is not to teach the buttonology of a 
commercial software package such as ESRI ArcGis, Autodesk Map, or 
Bentley Microstation. Nor is it intended to teach you the skills needed 
to get a job as a GIS Technician. The concept is to expose you to the 
concepts of GIS in an affordable format. The concepts and theory for the 
use of GIS is the same regardless if you are using a commercial or open 
source software. The idea of this series of lectures is two fold: the 
first is to expose you to the world of GIS, and second to introduce you 
to several software packages that you could access to if you had a need 
for a quick map or chart for a presentation or as part of a research 

Several of the software packages I want to explore this Fall and Spring 

In September

We will take a look at the latest version of uDig - The User-friendly 
Desktop Internet GIS (uDig) is both a GeoSpatial application and a 
platform through which developers can create new, derived applications. 
uDig is a core element in an Internet aware Geographic Information System

In October

SAGA - SAGA is a free geographic information system (GIS), with a 
special 'Application Programming Interface' (API) for geographic data 
processing. This API makes it easy to implement new algorithms. The SAGA 
API supports grid data, vector data, and tables.

In November.

We will once again review MapWindow by Idaho State University as there 
have been significant enhancements. The MapWindow application is a 
ready-to-use spatial data viewer, and a tool that can be modified into a 
new custom application. Customization is done by editing the MapWindow 
Configuration File, and/or a MapWindow Project File. These are the two 
files that control the look and feel of MapWindow. Both are XML-format 
files that can be edited directly through notepad or an XML editor.

In December,

An enhanced new version of Quantum GIS is in the process of release. 
Quantum GIS (QGIS) is a user friendly Open Source Geographic Information 
System (GIS) that runs on Linux, Unix, Mac OSX, and Windows. QGIS 
supports vector, raster, and database formats. QGIS is licensed under 
the GNU Public License. Some of the major features include: 1. Support 
for spatially enabled PostGIS tables 2. Support for shapefiles, ArcInfo 
coverages, Mapinfo, and other formats supported by OGR 3.Raster support 
for a large number of formats 4. Identify features 5. Display attribute 
tables 6. Select features 7. GRASS Digitizing 8. Feature labeling

As an aside, I will also explore

Diva-GIS (a free but not open source program by Lizard Tech, inc and the 
University of California)

DIVA - DIVA-GIS is a free mapping program, sometimes called geographic 
information system (GIS),that can be used for many different purposes. 
It is particularly useful for mapping and analyzing biodiversity data, 
such as the distribution of species, or other 'point-distributions'. 
With DIVA-GIS you can: 1.Make maps of the world or of a very small 
place, integrating, for example, state boundaries, rivers, a satellite 
image, and the locations of sites where an animal species was observed. 
2. Make grid maps of the distribution of biological diversity, to 
identify hot spots and areas that have complementary levels of 
diversity. 3. Map and query climate data. Predict species distributions 
using the BIOCLIM or DOMAIN models. Create ESRI shapefiles, import and 
export grid data, and much more!

Forestry GIS (fGIS™) is a compact but robust shapefile editing program, 
digitizer and GIS data query tool for Windows®. fGIS was designed for 
natural resource managers who are not GIS specialists. It’s easy-to-use 
and simple to install. Many power users also like fGIS because they can 
run it on laptops or home computers without copyright issues, it 
produces data compatible with commercial GIS programs, and fGIS is free. 
Notice! As of November 7, 2005, Forestry GIS (fGIS) updates are no 
longer available for public download. Although Wisconsin DNR continues 
to improve fGIS, a change in the license agreement for the TatukGIS 
Developer Kernel would require payment of royalties to distribute newer 
versions of fGIS outside of DNR programs. A list of updates to fGIS 
since the September 24, 2005 build is available, which might explain 
bugs you encounter in the older version. (You can continue to use and 
freely share versions of fGIS released before November 7, 2005.)


Gary L. Watry

Gary L. Watry
GIS Coordinator
Center for Ocean-Atmospheric Prediction Studies
Johnson Building, RM 215
2035 East Paul Dirac Drive
Tallahassee, Florida 32306-2840

Phone (850) 645-7457

E-Mail: watry at

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