Selling open source GIS to the users

Gotta pay someoneSteve Citron-Pousty wonders if there are too many barriers to using open source GIS for the average user, especially those already knee deep in the ESRI suite. Steve’s got some good points that I’ve heard from some of our clients when we’ve proposed open source solutions (well some, I’ve gotten a couple hooked on FWTools).

I’ll play devils advocate here and say that if someone really wanted to go open source, they could just take their ESRI maintenance costs and apply that to a consultant who could help them deploy open source correctly. Technically that is the same as paying ESRI for maintenance/support. Rather than calling up Redlands, you’d just call up Canada.

**Update – **Steve wrote up a response to some of the discussion

AutoDesk/Google Bundle for Government Users

adsk_logo.gifBoth Adena and Jason hit the big points about this bundle release, but I thought I’d chime in. From the press release:

“Incorporating Google Earth Pro into our Autodesk Government Geospatial Solution creates a complete workflow for government agencies,” said Dave Rhodes, vice president of Autodesk Government. “The powerful combination enables professional GIS staff to more easily share complex, precision data with a wide audience of non-technical colleagues and partners that need to leverage that data in a variety of geospatially-enabled business projects.”

Kinda sounds like Autodesk is answering ArcGIS 9.2 (specifically ArcGIS Server and ArcGIS Explorer) and at a cheaper price. I wonder how long until this bundle is available for non-governmental organizations.

Oh and check out that press release, Autodesk has been working on the Web 2.0 lingo. – Flickr + Google Maps

Zooomr has a nice geotagging feature, but Flickr alas doesn’t (at least an official one, yet). But that hasn’t stopped people from geotagging their Flickr photos. On the heals of his Localize Bookmark for Flickr, Aemkei has released using the Google Map and Flickr APIs. If you use his Localize Bookmark tool, your photos will appear almost instantly in the viewer. I think this is the best geotag browser so far.




We had a little rain last night so I figured I’d spend my morning looking for ways to bring Doppler radar imagery into ArcMap. There are of course a ton of ways (and at 9.2 you’ll have even more), but one simple ArcScript caught my eye. NOAA/NWS WEATHER FOR ArcGIS 9.X gives ArcMap users access some some nice NOAA/NWS radar imagery. Simplicity I think is what caught my eye (Of course I’d rather just add a WMS service, but that will have to wait) and sometimes that is the best way to be productive.

click for larger view