Over the years, I’ve been stumbling across a fair number of free (or cheap) geographical information tools for GIS and GPS applications. These range from full-blown GIS apps to simple utilities, and websites with both data and data services. Some of these are fairly well-known, others less so, and I’ve gotten a lot of good use out of them. Now I’ve decided to start regurgitating some of what I’ve picked up over the years, and start posting reviews, information and how-tos on this blog about where to get these tools, what they can do, and (sometimes) specific examples of how to use them.
While the websites will be OS-independent, the software I’ll be talking about will most often run only on Windows XP (though I’ll try to note if there are versions for other OSes as well). I’m not an OS snob, and if I were I wouldn’t be running Windows XP. But there are good reasons for concentrating on Windows applications:
- I have a Windows XP machine (several of them)
- I don’t have a Mac (but am willing to accept any donations).
- Every few years, I install the latest and hottest version of Linux on one of my systems, to see if it’s really ready to be my main desktop system; so far, the answer has been no. Ubuntu is getting close, though …
- There’s far more software available for Windows than there is for Mac and Linux; that’s not a comment on the quality of the OSes, just a fact of life.
Finally, some of the programs will be FOSS (free and open source), but a lot of them won’t be. If a program does a good job, I’m not going to discriminate against it just because it isn’t ideologically pure, especially if it doesn’t cost anything.
I welcome any and all comments, suggestions, recommendations, etc.. In particular, if there’s some GIS/GPS task that you’ve been looking for a solution for, let me know; I may know just what you’re looking for.
Great Blog. I just started my own GIS consulting company on Jan 1 and appreciate your willingness to share your insights on tools. I will keep reading to see what tools you are using. Good post on Google Earth Plus.
You started a very nice blog, congratulations! I appreciate your comments on google earth plus. Myself I have the feeling that the increased speed is helping me, since I am very impatient.
I am very curious about what is going to come up. Especially your reviews on free GIS tools. I am looking for some where I can display very easily simple satistical data, like it was once possible in MS-Excel for free but not anymore.
Thanks for your comments. If there are any specific kinds of tools you’re looking for, please let me know.
Askan – What specific kinds of statistical data are you interested in displaying?