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Great Introductory GIS Tutorial And Screencast Series

The Department of Land Affairs, Eastern Cape, South Africa has created a terrific tutorial series on GIS called “introducing GIS”. PDF worksheets and video screencasts cover topics like vector and raster data, attributes, topology, coordinate systems, map production and spatial analysis in a clear and easy-to-follow fashion. The worksheets are freely distributable under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, while the screencasts are released under Creative Commons. While you can watch the screencasts in your browser, they are a bit small – I would recommend downloading them so that you can open them in a stand-alone video viewer that you can resize to larger dimensions for easier viewing. Right-click on the video link and choose “Save as”. For that matter, if you download all the screencasts and worksheets and put them on a DVD, you have a great educational resource to share and distribute.

The site has a custom Windows installer of the open source GIS Quantum GIS, including the data presented in the tutorials. However, Quantum GIS also runs on Mac and Linux, and they offer the tutorial data as a separate download; find the link at the bottom of the web page. For that matter, the Quantum GIS Windows installer they have is version 1.0.2, while the most recent stable release version for Windows is 1.2.0-1. So even if you have Windows, you may want to download the data separately, and install the most recent version of Quantum GIS using the osgeo4w installer.

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4 Responses to “Great Introductory GIS Tutorial And Screencast Series”

  1. 1 NickMcW

    What an excellent GIS intro this is: probably the best I’ve seen around, with the added bonus of an open source tutorial, with data. Thanks as ever for these posting.

  2. 2 Kesh

    Leszek, thanks for the post. This one immediately called my attention as I’m a total ignorant of GIS and have been looking for plain introduction to the subject. I may have a few notions but chances are they are wrong.

    Now that I see the comment before from Nick, looks like the materia is really good. Is that tutorial good for a complete newbie? Would you recommend it as first introduction? I remember you posted early this year about MapAction (a non-profit) publishing a guide to mapping for disaster situations and you mentioned that guide to being better than “GIS for Dummies”. I still have on my list to go a read those two but wonder if I should just concentrate on these resources from SA.

  3. 3 Leszek Pawlowicz

    If you’re a newbie to GIS, the South African series is an excellent introduction. The MapAction guide is worth reading as well, and is fairly short. Nick is with MapAction, so you see that he’s quite impressed with the SA series.

    I wasn’t very impressed with “GIS For Dummies”; reading it may teach you some basic concepts, but much of the book is a waste of time for a newcomer to GIS.

  4. 4 Kesh

    Thanks to both then! I now have path to follow to grasp the basics.

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