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This blog covers a wide range of free (and cheap) tools for handling geographic data, including GIS, GPS, Google Earth and Maps, neogeography, free data resources, and whatever else I feel like talking about. The range of post topics will be wide because my interests cover a wide range as well. I welcome any and all comments concerning this blog and the topics it covers, as well as your suggestions for what you’d like to see.

There’s no adequate and complete substitute for a good commercial GIS program like those from ESRI or MapInfo, especially in the hands of a well-trained user. But COTS GIS software can be expensive and cumbersome, and requires someone with extensive (and expensive) training to use it to its full advantage. There’s a lot of GIS work that doesn’t require such an expensive solution, and for those simpler tasks, it makes sense to use free tools that can do the job. One analogy is that if all you want to do is tighten some screws, you don’t need a fully-stocked machine shop with a highly-trained machinist, just a screwdriver; this blog covers free screwdrivers.

Leszek Pawlowicz

Photo by Tom Bean

My name is Leszek Pawlowicz (pronounced leh-sheck pah-vloe-vitch), and I’m the blogmaster of the site. I’ve lived in New York, Brazil, Connecticut, Massachusetts, California, and Arizona, and currently make my home in Flagstaff, Arizona. I have a bachelors in physics and astronomy from Wesleyan University, and an MIT Ph.D. in materials science and engineering, neither of which sees much use in my current job as a computer consultant and shovel bum. Interests include hiking, mountain biking, skiing, geology, paleontology, and archaeology of the American Southwest, with a special interest in rock art. Oh yeah, maps and geography, too.

In my not-so-secret alternate super-identity as Quiz Show Boy, I have appeared on the following TV quiz shows:

  • Jeopardy! – October 1991 – 5-day winner (maximum allowed at the time) (YouTube clip from my first episode)
  • Jeopardy! 1992 Tournament Of Champions – November 1992 – winner (YouTube clip of the finale)
  • Win Ben Stein’s money – August 1999 – winner of all of Ben Stein’s money
  • Who Wants To Be A Millionaire? – August 1999 and February 2000 – no winnings (d’oh!)
  • ABC’s 20/20 news magazine – January 2001 – segment on game show champs
  • HistoryIQ – May, June 2001 – second place in Tournament Edition.
  • Jeopardy! Ultimate Tournament Of Champions – February 2005 – lost in the first round.
  • Grand Slam – August 2007 – Quarterfinalist (won my first round, lost the second)

To contact me by email, click here to reveal my email address.