154
votes
48answers
36k views

What Makes a Map Beautiful?

Often times when we make maps it is based on our subjective interpretation of what is aesthetically pleasing. I would like if people posted examples of beautiful maps, displaying any phenomena in any ...
128
votes
56answers
10k views

What free programs should every GIS user have installed?

Note: This question is specifically about installed, desktop software. There is another question specifically about free cloud-based software and services. I'm not necessarily referring to ESRI ...
125
votes
12answers
28k views
119
votes
16answers
43k views

How do various JavaScript mapping libraries compare?

I am working on a web-based mapping system and I'm trying to figure out the best/most appropriate library to use. There are a few of them about and they each have pros and cons. Even after trying a ...
75
votes
4answers
45k views

How to measure the accuracy of latitude and longitude?

I am very new to GPS stuff. Suppose I have latitude and longitude as 19.0649070739746 and 73.1308670043945 respectively. In this case both coordinates are 13 decimal places long, but sometimes I also ...
73
votes
34answers
4k views

What books, journals, and electronic resources are most valuable for expanding knowledge of GIS?

What books, journals, and/or electronic resources have you found most valuable for expanding your knowledge in the GI field? To which of them you come back most often? One item per post please, and ...
68
votes
5answers
11k views

Accessing ArcObjects from Python?

I would like to be able to script some things that are not exposed via arcgisscripting or ArcPy. How do I access ArcObjects from Python? I'm working with ArcGIS Desktop 9.3.1 right now, but will be ...
66
votes
12answers
3k views

How to account for Colour Blindness when designing maps?

Depending on what you read, 7 to 15% of the general population has some form of colour blindness. That's a significant amount of people. Do you try to account for this in your map designs? If so, how? ...
64
votes
14answers
14k views

What Makes a Map be classed as Badly Designed?

A poorly designed map can not only look visually unappealing, but can convey the wrong message, which could lead to bad decisions being made. I would like to ask people to post examples (that are in ...
59
votes
19answers
45k views

How to convert between KML and Esri's shapefile (SHP) format?

My users are sending me point data that were digitized using GoogleEarth. How can I convert their KML to a shapefile?
58
votes
15answers
19k views

What are Definition, Algorithms and Practical Solutions for Concave Hull?

Convex Hull A convex hull of a shape is defined as: In mathematics, the convex hull or convex envelope for a set of points X in a real vector space V is the minimal convex set containing X ...
57
votes
17answers
43k views

List of GIS applications for Android Tablets

I know that ArcGIS will someday be available for Android, but does anyone know of any other GIS apps that are available for Android tablets?
56
votes
16answers
8k views

How to Start Web Mapping?

I want to start working on a web map at work to map some of our statistics by city. I have an idea, but I'm not exactly sure where to start. Are there any definitive resources that provide step ...
56
votes
14answers
7k views

How much math does a GIS Analyst need to know?

For someone studying to pursue a career as a GIS Analyst, what math courses should he/she take? Update Here's a long list of free Math courses from MIT to serve as a frame of reference. Which are ...
55
votes
19answers
4k views

How do I explain what GIS is for the 11 year old kid?

Well, since it was one of the highest rated proposed questions, hasn't been asked yet, and I would love to know the answer, I thought I'd ask it. How do I explain what GIS is for the 11 year old kid? ...
54
votes
3answers
29k views

File Geodatabase (*.gdb) support in QGIS?

Following questions: Open Source Tool capable of reading Esri File Geodatabase (.gdb)? How to access file geodatabase in Qgis? How to get FGDB support in GDAL 1.9 without compiling? I have spent ...
52
votes
5answers
19k views

How to build effective heat-maps?

Using ArcGIS, QuantumGIS, Grass, and/or GVSIG What are some of the tools and processes involved in building effective heat maps? What are the plugins involved? What are the major data requirements? ...
52
votes
8answers
4k views

How do I get started with PostGis

I have been reading a lot about it, but I am struggling to find a good beginner's guide. Which tutorials/books do you recommend? My past experience involves python and arcgis. But I have never worked ...
52
votes
7answers
4k views

What are some best practices for managing large amounts of geospatial data?

How do you manage your geospatial data? I have terabytes of data spread out over hundreds of datasets, and have an ad-hoc solution using symbolic links within projects which link back to an ...
50
votes
14answers
2k views

The GIS of War - Tracking Conflicts and Their Effects

I was idly speculating on the many sorts of things people are keeping track of these days with GIS - natural/human catastrophes, demographic and economic patterns, climate change, etc. In that vein, I ...
48
votes
5answers
3k views

How to calculate most efficient route passing through all the houses in the world?

I'm new to GIS. I need some help in determining the best or most efficient route, using a flying sleigh, through all the houses in the world. One of my coworkers told me that this site would be the ...
47
votes
11answers
3k views

Best practices for visualizing speed

Imagine you're tracking, for example, vehicle or animal movement and receive regular GPS position updates. How would you visualize speed of movement on a static (= printable) map? I've been coloring ...
47
votes
6answers
1k views

Are there any attempts to replace the shapefile?

Recently I've been spending a lot of time converting perfectly good field names like "Percent of citizens age 25 and over with a bachelor's degree or higher" into things like "edbchogtr" to meet the ...
45
votes
6answers
3k views

When to use ModelBuilder over Python scripting and vice versa?

I am new to Python scripting in ArcGIS but not new to ModelBuilder. I would like to know the benefits of Python vs ModelBuilder. When should we write Python script for GIS automation rather than ...
45
votes
8answers
2k views

One dimensional map of the world?

Bit of a strange question but hope this is OK to ask here. Has anyone heard of a '1-dimensional' projection of the world map - that is mapping all the points on the globe to a single line? I was ...
44
votes
13answers
10k views

Resources for learning Python programming with generic GIS goals in mind?

In your opinion, what is the best book/site to learn Python with GIS goals in mind? By "best", I mean: not very long (book) easy to understand (book/site) good practical examples (book/site) For ...
43
votes
20answers
8k views

What are some Free and Open Source GIS Desktop packages

Can someone please give me a list of free and open source GIS desktop packages?
43
votes
10answers
3k views

Alternatives to using Arcpy

I seem to use ESRI's Arcpy site package for virtually all of my python geoprocessing. To ESRI's credit, these are an incredible suite of tools that can help accomplish a great deal. However, I would ...
43
votes
15answers
22k views

Interview questions for hiring a GIS Analyst

What are the best interview questions for candidates for a GIS Analyst position? I am looking for techniques for interviewing analysts at varied experience levels (we are currently looking at hiring ...
43
votes
8answers
8k views

How to create Vector Polygons at the same amazing speeds GISCloud is able to render them?

EDIT (outlining new bounty added): I have added the largest bounty possible to this question in hope of getting a very detailed answer. Your solution should outline a step-by-step guide utilizing open ...
43
votes
3answers
10k views

Openlayers Animation Examples and Algorithms

i wonder for a long time if people in this community uses openlayers for animation needs. we have know this that animating on browser is a little bit exhausting for it but when a map meets with ...
42
votes
35answers
4k views

What is the most annoying fact about the GIS market/industry?

What are the most annoying facts about our industry/market? What makes you angry? Is there anything that you can't stand it?
42
votes
7answers
3k views

What strategies, criteria, or rules to use for selecting coordinate systems?

What strategies, criteria, or rules do you use for selecting coordinate systems for (a) storing, (b) analyzing, and (c) displaying GIS data? (I humbly offer my reply to a related question ...
42
votes
12answers
1k views

In GIScience, is there a generally agreed list of top tier conferences?

In many fields, such as computer sciences, it seems to be quite clear which conferences are top tier and how a paper accepted to those conferences compares to journal publications in the same field. ...
40
votes
20answers
15k views

Why do you use ArcGIS for Desktop?

I'm new to GIS, having only dabbled with ArcGIS for Desktop for about 4 weeks in 2007. The business I am at wants to target writing complete solutions that involve GIS as it would benefit their ...
40
votes
15answers
6k views

Where can I find QGIS tutorials and resources?

After several recommendations, I thought I'd familiarize myself with the capabilities of QGIS. I downloaded the program, but apart from basic loading of data, I got lost (the help file wasn't much ...
40
votes
3answers
11k views

Spatial clustering with PostGIS

I'm looking for spatial clustering algorithm for using it within PostGIS-enabled database for point features. I'm going to write plpgsql function that takes distance between points within the same ...
39
votes
10answers
5k views

What is the most useful spatial R trick?

R is becoming pretty strong tool for handling and analyzing spatial data. I learned some useful things through questions like these at SO and thought it might be useful to have something simmilar, but ...
38
votes
4answers
5k views

Why has Web Mercator (auxiliary sphere) become the web map standard?

I understand what the difference is between the Web Mercator projection and Web Mercator Auxiliary Sphere (WMAS). I also understand that both Google and Esri have adopted this projection as their ...
37
votes
5answers
7k views

Why is the 'straight line' path across continent so curved?

This is the result of mapping the straight line path from a point in US to Poland using Distance Measurement Tool. Also, planes from Asia to US would travel almost over North Pole. Why is the path ...
37
votes
20answers
38k views

Are there any free administrative boundaries available as shapefiles?

After learning about the US Census's TIGERLines datasets I'm addicted to GIS :) I've working with the following layers, from the USA data Country boundaries State boundaries County boundaries City ...
37
votes
4answers
2k views

What are the FOSS equivalents to these ArcGIS products?

I'm a long-term user of ESRI software, and I now have a need to use free and open source software. I've been reading about Open Layers, PostgreSQL, PostGIS, GeoServer and MapServer but I can't find ...
37
votes
7answers
10k views

Creating drive time polygons using open source tools

Is anyone using open source tools and/or data to generate drive time polygons that radiate out from a given location? For example, I have used ESRI products like Network Analyst and Business Analyst ...
36
votes
7answers
33k views

What is the difference between DEM, DSM and DTM?

I am listing some of the acronyms used in our work and had to stop to think about whether to list these together or separately. In some circles they are synonymous, in others they have distinct ...
36
votes
10answers
22k views

How to install GDAL with Python on windows?

Can anyone please explain to me in step by step instructions how to install GDAL/OGR with Python on Windows. I have Windows Vista and I have tried following the information on the website and it does ...
36
votes
6answers
8k views

What are Esri's new “ArcGIS for Professionals” and “ArcGIS Pro”?

After looking through all the stuff that was released or talked about at the Esri UC I am still genuinely confused by what ArcGIS for Professionals is. I will admit that it looks pretty cool, and has ...
36
votes
7answers
3k views

Best practices for PostGIS production environments?

What PostGIS documentation have you come across that has been helpful when tuning PostGIS for a production environment? I would like to get together with my DBA to setup a Postgresql/PostGIS ...
36
votes
3answers
12k views

What is the current Web Mercator projection code?

The web mercator projection, popularised by Google Maps, seems to be given a new EPSG code every couple of years. EPSG:900913 (Google in calculator text) was an unofficial code EPSG:3785 - is the ...
36
votes
6answers
7k views

Free GIS workshops, tutorials, and applied learning material

Note 1: Please enter answers separately or feel free to edit this post directly Note 2: Please report on any broken links so they can be removed This thread lists free as in $0 workshops in GIS and ...
35
votes
3answers
6k views

Are there newer routing algorithms (than Dijkstra, A*) in GIS databases?

There are works like Reach for A* from Microsoft researchers and Highway Hierarchies by Sanders and Schtolz (if I spell the name correctly) from Karlsruhe Uni. Both of them reduce the calculations ...

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