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I'm planning to build a cabin, and I'd like to combine all the GIS data available from my home country with my own measurements for placing and the cabin layout. That is, I need a tool which can:

  • save data in layers,
  • import third-party GIS data for elevation, infrastructure, etc., and
  • import a PDF, SVG or other vector graphics format to get the cabin layout.

Is there any software useful for this available for Linux (at a pinch Windows XP), preferably for free?

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up vote 5 down vote accepted

I think you'll be happier with CAD software than with a GIS.

QGIS has a toolset called CADTools but you'll have difficulties importing any PDF or SVG.

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Thanks, I'll have a look. – l0b0 Feb 9 '11 at 21:16
Agreed, CAD tools is definitely what you want to use. Here is a list of some potential candidates: or – RyanDalton Feb 11 '11 at 20:07

I've never tried it, but here is mention of sketchup on linux.

You can place a sketchup model into google earth.

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You can use GRASS GIS and QGIS.

In GRASS: Import elevation, and calculate solar radiance (to know the best side for the windows, slope(to know the best place for the cabin) and flood risk.

In Qgis: Import OpenStreetMap data, to plan the roads and power lines.

About the SVG... that's a problem. You may need to redraw some basic features in the gis.

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Without ever having tried it: inkscape can open svg and pdf and save to dxf, which can be imported in saga gis. Most likely you will loose most if not all of the formatting of the file, but if you are lucky you could perhaps recover some lines/polygons or points from the drawing.

You would have to georeference those anyway, so I would rather stick to a drawing program like inkscape to keep the information and export those things from gis which you would need.

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