Evaluating Open Source GIS for Libraries

I’ve hit a couple of milestones this month.

I had my first peer-reviewed journal article published, Evaluating open source GIS for libraries. After my initial exploration of open source GIS that I documented on this blog over a year and a half ago, I took a systematic approach to evaluating a number of software packages for thematic mapping. This article documents the tests and results and provides the requisite background on open source software, GIS, and how both are manifest in academic libraries. Given the lengthy process of academic publishing (the whole process began in Dec 2008 with my first test and ended in March 2010 with publication), some of my observations of individual software packages have changed with the release of bug fixes, new features, and new versions. Generally, individual software packages and open source GIS as a whole have improved during this short span of time, but my primary observations and the big picture still hold.

Title: Evaluating open source GIS for libraries
Author(s): Francis P. Donnelly
Journal: Library Hi Tech
Year: 2010 Volume: 28 Issue: 1 Page: 131 – 151
ISSN: 0737-8831
DOI: 10.1108/07378831011026742
Publisher: Emerald Group Publishing Limited

I’ve previously mentioned Steiniger and Bocher’s excellent article, An overview on current free open source desktop GIS developments in the International Journal of Geographic Information Science, which Steiniger has posted on his website. I recently discovered he’s written a second article with Hay entitled Free and Open Source Geographic Information Tools for Landscape Ecology in Ecological Informatics, which is also available there. The second article provides an in-depth look and great summary tables of landscape analysis applications for eight different open source GIS apps, focusing on advanced tools for researchers. In contrast, my article focuses on basic mapping capabilities for novice to intermediate users.

The other milestone is this blog – I just noticed that we’ve passed the two year mark. While there have only been a few public comments here and there, I have received a number of emails over the years with questions and comments and the number of visitors to the site has grown consistently from month to month. I’m glad that it’s been useful to so many people; it’s certainly been useful to me (as an extension to my feeble brain) and I’ll endeavor to keep it going. Thanks to everyone for your comments and feedback. Best – frank

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