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Butterfly.

Tutorial

An Introduction to Open Source GIS
Schuyler Erle, MetaCarta
Rich Gibson, Locative Technology

Track: Emerging Technology Tutorial
Date: Monday, February 09
Time: 8:30am - 12:00pm
Location: California Ballroom B

Human beings are born storytellers. A common element in nearly every story we tell, about ourselves or about the world, is the idea of location -- when things happen, they always happen somewhere. Recent advances in wireless networking and mobile computing demand new tools for querying and analyzing the ever-expanding sources of geographic data. We will start our tutorial with an introduction to basic cartography, and to the idea of geographic information systems (GIS). We will discuss basic spherical trigonometry, coordinate systems, reference datums, extents, and layers, and compare raster and vector data.

Often, communities who have stories to tell that would benefit from the application of geographic tools lack the substantial sums of money ordinarily required to invest in contemporary commercial geographic information systems, and it is for this reason we turn to open source software and freely available data as means by which communities can develop applications and freely benefit from each other's. We will consider government sources of data, contrasting the US versus Europe, and delve into building your own sources of data. We will review GPS technology in depth, and discuss making maps from your own GPS tracks.

Next, we will turn to web services and the open standards for GIS data exchange, including those promoted by the OpenGIS consortium. We will consider RDF ontologies as another way of exchanging geoannotated information.

Finally, we'll talk about applications, and tools for building them. We'll provide a general introduction to GRASS (itself a tutorial subject all on its own). We'll talk about web-based map services, from consuming them to setting them up. We'll show how to build a online geocoder. We'll talk about mapping the wireless revolution, and we'll wrap up with a review of recent efforts to add a locative component to social software.

Throughout, we will seek to focus on how you can get started using the available open source tools to build the geographic application of your dreams. Bring your ideas, and let's discuss them.



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