I’ve posted about MapWindow in earlier posts on Shape2Earth (a shapefile to KML converter), and on reprojecting shapefiles from one coordinate system to another. So I figured it was time to take a longer look at some of MapWindow’s GIS capabilities, since it’s one of the best open source shapefile viewers and editors out there, and has many other useful functions. In addition, GIS novices might find this series useful as a general introduction to GIS programs, since it covers some of the basic operations applicable to other GIS programs as well.
I’m also going to try an experiment with these posts on MapWindow. Maps are a visual medium, and GIS software is an active visual medium, and often a written post can’t describe them adequately, even with graphics. So I’m going to experiment with screencasts, videos of software in action, with descriptions by an inimitable narrator, me. Because I’m still getting up to speed, the first ones have some minor glitches and quirks, but future ones should look (and sound) a lot better. Let me know what you think of the screencast idea, and what I could be doing better.
For these first screencasts, the basic blogposts will only have a general verbal description of some of MapWindow’s functions, and the screencasts will fill in the details. There’s too much to cover in MapWindow in just one set of screencasts, so there will be at least three more sets of episodes coming up (though they should be shorter than this first 12-minute opus set).
The first screencasts will cover basic shapefile viewing operations in MapWindow, including:>
- Opening a shapefile
- Moving layers in the display stack
- Zooming and panning
- Changing generic shapefile display parameters
- Changing display parameters for a shapefile based on attribute data
- Setting dynamic extents for shapefile data
Oh, and before I forget, I make one huge mistake in the first video – I credit the University of Idaho for MapWindow, when it’s actually put out by Idaho State University. My bad -go Bengals!
Note: If a video doesn’t load up properly, try doing a page reload.