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Open Source Software for GIS

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An overview of the open source movement, what it means for geographers, and finally a practical on using QGIS, a flagship open source mapping program.

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Open Source Software for GIS

  1. 1. Open source software for GIS + Case study using QGIS for investigating supermarket location Robin Lovelace University of Leeds November 2013 university-logo Robin Lovelace (University of Leeds) Open source software for GIS School of Geography 1 / 23
  2. 2. Outline 1 Introduction What is Open Source? The problem Solutions 2 OS Applications Data analysis Data presentation 3 OS Data 4 OS Publications 5 The open source movement and geography QGIS tutorial Robin Lovelace (University of Leeds) Open source software for GIS university-logo School of Geography 2 / 23
  3. 3. What is Open Source? Open source means different things to different people. Software An approach to data access and information A political movement A philosphy This talk is mostly about open source software, focussing on QGIS. Aims: to introduce the concept and provide a headstart in new developments in Geographical software. Why open source? Many reasons: most importantly for you, it’s getting BIG. See Paul Ramsay’s talk: http://vimeo.com/76365035 — Being an open source citizen university-logo Robin Lovelace (University of Leeds) Open source software for GIS School of Geography 3 / 23
  4. 4. Definitions Open Source software Proprietary software You are free to: Not owned by you — granted Download permission to use, based on end-user Modify licence agreement (EULA). E.g: “I certify that I am currently an employee of UofL, ("USER"). I understand that I am only authorized to use this software (1) while I am an employee and (2) in accordance with the provisions outlined below, the ESRI license agreement (99U1335) between UofL and ESRI and the associated attachments (which includes...” “protected by U.S. copyright laws” Copy Re-distribute* Legally defined: copy left — GPL or permissive (BSD, MIT licenses) Copyrighted Profits from services (OpenGeo) Profit motive — money generated through software sale Volunteers Centralized decision making Robin Lovelace (University of Leeds) Open source software for GIS “Many hands make university-logo light work” School of Geography 4 / 23
  5. 5. The problem 1: Software — “Your trial period is over” Access to information is unequal Not only do they want your money They want everyone’s money! => Less £££ for Health Education Sustainable dev. And it doesn’t even work! (that well) university-logo Robin Lovelace (University of Leeds) Open source software for GIS School of Geography 5 / 23
  6. 6. The problem 2 Proprietary data and articles “researchers, especially in smaller UK universities, do not have access to the publications they need.” If people in Universities find it hard to get the right info... What about when you leave University? What about those who never went? university-logo Robin Lovelace (University of Leeds) Open source software for GIS School of Geography 6 / 23
  7. 7. Solutions Unequal access to up-to-date computing: Greater investment in third world computing Or use cheaper programs Unequal access to data Greater research budgets for buying confidential data Or encourage researchers to make data available Difficult to access journal articles More investment for library subscriptions Or move towards open source publishing model Shift in thinking, not just licences. university-logo Robin Lovelace (University of Leeds) Open source software for GIS School of Geography 7 / 23
  8. 8. R: for data analysis and modelling university-logo R within the user friendly environment RStudio Robin Lovelace (University of Leeds) Open source software for GIS School of Geography 8 / 23
  9. 9. R: reproducibility Your results can be replicated by anyone, anywhere. Regardless of expensive software Regardless (up to a point) of computing power Regardless of software updates (stability) However... steep learning curve. university-logo Robin Lovelace (University of Leeds) Open source software for GIS School of Geography 9 / 23
  10. 10. R: as a GIS university-logo Spatial interaction model mapped in R Robin Lovelace (University of Leeds) Open source software for GIS School of Geography 10 / 23
  11. 11. A LTEX: hypertext markup language for publishing: benefits Thesis class Journals use it Very flexible, from presentations to books! Automatic referencing, contents, list of figures etc. Allows you to get on with the real work Excellent for maths e(t) = max{min[e(t − δt) + ∆(t), eM )], 0}. (1) university-logo Robin Lovelace (University of Leeds) Open source software for GIS School of Geography 11 / 23
  12. 12. ggplot2 Age Constraint Mode Constraint 3000 Simulated Variable type 3000 2500 Age/sex 2000 2000 Distance 1500 Mode 1000 1000 NS−SEC 500 1000 2000 3000 1000 Distance Constraint 3000 NS−SEC Constraint 3000 3000 Simulated 2000 2500 2000 2000 1500 1000 1000 500 1000 2000 3000 1000 Census 2000 Census 3000 High quality university-logo graphics (ggplot2) Robin Lovelace (University of Leeds) Open source software for GIS School of Geography 12 / 23
  13. 13. Office programs university-logo Microsoft Office equivalent, better in some ways, worse in others Robin Lovelace (University of Leeds) Open source software for GIS School of Geography 13 / 23
  14. 14. Ubuntu — this computer’s running on it* university-logo *Other operating systems are available Robin Lovelace (University of Leeds) Open source software for GIS School of Geography 14 / 23
  15. 15. Open data: Driven by the “open government” initiative Huge potential for scientific research (Uhlir & Schroder 2007)university-logo Robin Lovelace (University of Leeds) Open source software for GIS School of Geography 15 / 23
  16. 16. Crowd-sourced data OSM, Twitter, Wikipedia, http://harassmap.org/, cyclestreets.net university-logo etc Robin Lovelace (University of Leeds) Open source software for GIS School of Geography 16 / 23
  17. 17. Open Source publication model: rival to status quo? “Academic publishers make Murdoch look like a socialist” (Monbiot, 2012) Backlash, with institutional support. 3 directions this is going: Green: completely open source Gold: proprietary model with “open source” option (£3000 per paper!) Status quo: proprietary model but preprints become more widely available Costs and benefits of each university-logo Robin Lovelace (University of Leeds) Open source software for GIS School of Geography 17 / 23
  18. 18. Completely open source According to the Directory of Open Source Journals, 101 journals belonging to Geography subject area. Open source hardware Can everything be open source? Yes, according to Sam Muirhead university-logo Robin Lovelace (University of Leeds) Open source software for GIS School of Geography 18 / 23
  19. 19. Open source and geography Closer links with physical sciences (Ince et al. 2012) Contrasts with Geography’s elitist undertones Geography can be about breaking down barriers university-logo About making information about the world available Robin Lovelace (University of Leeds) Open source software for GIS School of Geography 19 / 23
  20. 20. Open source GIS packages Wide range of options available (Steiniger & Bocher 2009) Desktop GIS options UDig GVSIG and GVSIG “Batovi” QGIS — becoming ‘industry standard’ Geodatabases PostgreSQL PostGIS — Competitive with Oracle Spatial Web mapping GeoServer OpenLayers — see crime heat map geojson.io and TileMill by MapBox Robin Lovelace (University of Leeds) Open source software for GIS university-logo School of Geography 20 / 23
  21. 21. QGIS + an introductory session university-logo Next stage: test drive QGIS for yourself - download tutorial from here: https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/15008199/osm-challenge-public.zip Robin Lovelace (University of Leeds) Open source software for GIS School of Geography 21 / 23
  22. 22. References Ince, D. C., Hatton, L., & Graham-Cumming, J. (2012). The case for open computer programs. Nature, 482(7386), doi:10.1038/nature10836 Monbiot, G. (2011). Academic publishers make Murdoch look like a socialist. The Guardian Steiniger, S., & Bocher, E. (2009). An overview on current free and open source desktop GIS developments. International Journal of Geographical Information Science, 23(10). doi:10.1080/13658810802634956 Uhlir, P., & Schroder, P. (2007). Open data for global science. Data Science Journal university-logo Robin Lovelace (University of Leeds) Open source software for GIS School of Geography 22 / 23
  23. 23. Further links POST (2012) Open Source and Open Standards - POST Note. Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology Cadwalladr, C. (2012). Do online courses spell the end for the traditional university? The Guardian Information into the potential for community mapping using geojson.io: http://robinlovelace.net/software/2013/11/16/mapping-for-themasses.html university-logo Robin Lovelace (University of Leeds) Open source software for GIS School of Geography 23 / 23

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