Jo Cook of Oxford Archaeology has created a portable suite of Windows’ GIS applications that can be run from a thumb drive on any Windows XP/Vista system, or from your local hard drive, with no installation required. Applications include:
- GRASS, a powerful but complicated GIS
- Quantum GIS (version 10), a simpler GIS viewer/editor that incorporates some GRASS functionality
- gvSIG, a full-blown GIS viewer/editor
- GeoServer, a open-source map server
- PostGreSQL with the PostGIS extensions, a relational database server (and Xampp, a portable version of the Apache server, to run it on)
- FWTools, a full suite of command-line utilities for manipulating raster and vector data, along with the OpenEV raster image application (note: I’ve been unable to get this one to work, but Jo thinks this may be a DLL conflict with an already-installed version of FWTools)
Download the Portable GIS zipped file here (warning: close to 500 MB even in zipped format). A few notes:
– You can run this from your hard drive as well as from a thumb drive, but you need to unzip it to a root hard drive directory, e.g. C:; unzip it to a subdirectory and it will have problems finding files.
– If you’re going to put it on a thumb drive, I’d recommend unzipping it first to a hard drive, then copying the files to the root directory of the thumb drive. Regardless, with about 20K files, it will take several hours to copy them over.
– In the current version (1.2), Portable GIS will only fit on a 2 GB or larger thumb drive in its default configuration. But with a bit of work, you can get it to fit onto a 1 GB thumb drive, and even have 250 MB of free space:
- Right-click on the thumb drive’s icon, choose “Format”, and select the NTFS file system and Quick Format.
- Once formatting is complete, close the Format window, right-click on the drive icon, and choose “Properties”
- Check the box marked “Compress this drive to save disk space”, then click OK.
- Unzip the Portable GIS files to your hard drive
- Copy the files and directories over to the thumb drive, but in groups, not all at once; if you try it all at once, you’ll get a message saying there’s not enough room.
You’ll wind up with all the files you need to use Portable GIS, as well as extra space.
– For the thumb drive, double-click on the thumb drive icon; you’ll get a tray icon that clicking on will pop-up menu items for program configuration and running. If you’re running it from a hard drive, run the “PortableGISMenu.exe” app to create the tray icon.
– Before running GRASS, FWTools, or the Apache server using Xampp, run the appropriate setup program for each app to set system variables.
– Use the tray icon menu items to start up all the programs; use the same menu to shut down the GeoServer, Xampp and PostGreSQL applications (just closing the program windows may not work). GRASS, gvSIG and Quantum GIS can be shutdown normally.