I was wondering for a while now, what should be the hierarchy of my GIS knowledge or better to say, learning curve in domain of open source GIS.

Should I start with Geoserver and PostGIS then transition to OpenLayers and finally wrap things up with GeoEXT or other way around?

To be fair, I started with OpenLayers (2.12) using books from Edin Hazzard and Antonio Perez Santiago, but now, as time progress I'm not so sure after all about my learning path, should I picked Geoserver or PostGIS first ?

( I know it's a dumb question but I need some insights about that topic )

Forgot to mention it that I have fair amount of knowledge in desktop softwares such as AutoCAD Map3D and ArcMap 10.x (recently started with QGIS)

  • All of them at once. And, you forgot Python, Javascript, D3.js :D. Seriously, though, it depends what you want to be. Are you more interested in web development and visualization or number crunching and data analysis. Sure, it is good to get a grounding in all three of the technologies you mention, but in my experience at least, you can't possibly master web development, databases, server admin all at once. – John Powell Nov 27 '14 at 13:24
  • I'd deviate a little bit and learn Leaflet for your javascript library instead. It's more widely used and easier. And GeoEXT is dated, in my view. Bootstrap does a whole lot of awesome stuff and is probably better as a UI library. – Alex Leith Nov 28 '14 at 3:42
  • @alexgleith. Agreed on GeoEXT. OL3 would be a fairly brutal way to start with Javascript, it is true. But I would ultimately aim for OL over Leaflet, precisely because you can do more with it. OL2 is a spectacularly well put together library, but, I don't think I would recommend anyone starting with that, given OL3's existence. – John Powell Nov 28 '14 at 8:02
  • So, you think that I should reconsider about OL2 and focus more on OL3 instead, or even Leaflet. What's the synergy between leaflet, geoserver and PostGIS? – Svinjica Nov 28 '14 at 11:17
  • Definitely go OL3 over OL2. I have some examples of using Leaflet with GeoServer here: github.com/gccgisteam/maps-website and there's a nice, but pretty complex template here made by Bryan McBride: github.com/bmcbride/bootleaf and here's the start of a generic geoserver leaflet mapping tool made by me from Bryan's template: alexgleith.github.io/bootleaf_gs. (Note that my methods require CORS and JSONP enabled on your webserver and GeoServer). – Alex Leith Nov 29 '14 at 9:10

I can see that this question is similar to How to Start Web Mapping?, but it is slightly different since the OP has zeroed in on a Stack; Hence I think it merits an proper answer.

All of the softwares that you mentioned, work with each other, and truly understand them, you should learn them simultaneously.

I'll recommend that you start with this Penn State course:

After that you should complete each of the workshops present on the Boundless site, here.

Boundless packages all of the required softwares in an easy to install package, and calls it the OpenGeo Suite. I'll definitely recommend the use of this package for a beginner. You can download the suite, and use it for free.

Once you are comfortable with this, then you can branch out, and install the required softwares one by one, so that you understand how the stack interacts and can be implemented on a deployment system.

  • Thank you! What do you think? Should I go in Leaflet or OL3 direction? – Svinjica Nov 28 '14 at 11:31
  • While many people will tell you to go with Leaflet, I feel that it is rather limited in Functionality, and hence I'll recommend that you go with OpenLayers. Coming to the question of OL2 or OL3, I find the documentation on OL3 very sparse; I've read that a few OL3 book are on the horizon, and should be out in early 2015; Only then will I recommend that you with OL3; For Now just go with OL2. – Devdatta Tengshe Nov 28 '14 at 11:37
  • Thank you, I was thinking the same. Already preordered OpenLayers 3 Beginner’s Guide! What do you think about Heron App? heron-mc.org/lib/Heron/jst/App.html is this something that one should reconsinder if he plans to profile himself towards web applications or is it dated as well? – Svinjica Nov 28 '14 at 12:01
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    @Neven, it is unreasonable to expect people to look at other answers, when you haven't even accepted this one. Also, as you haven't put up a full working sample in jsfiddle, as I suggested, it is unlikely anyone will be able to help you. – John Powell Nov 28 '14 at 15:46
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    @Neven, thanks for taking it well :D I thought about answering this question for a while, and ultimately, I agree with Devdatta, learn them all at once (but specialize in the one that you enjoy most, whether that by client side javascript or database programming or something else). – John Powell Nov 29 '14 at 17:53

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