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I have a specific use-case that I cannot seem to find any solutions for online, so any and all advice would be most welcome. Some basic details:

I am part of a small academic organization (a research lab), and our research leans heavily on GIS. We are all field scientists who specialize in our particular discipline, NOT computer scientists, so while we are all competent at the analytical side of desktop GIS, as soon as we get into the weeds of database programs, web maps, online servers, etc. we are lost. Because we are a bunch of broke academics, we mostly use QGIS (currently 2.18 but switching to 3.x as soon as there's an LTR) and I'd like to keep it that way.

Our research requires us to be offline (or with only tenuous and expensive internet access) for MONTHS at a time. Most GIS multi-user solutions seem to presume that people are coming back to the office and syncing their data every night. For us, this is not realistic.

As such, currently I spend about a week after every field campaign manually integrating 3 or 4 updated/edited versions of the same shapefile to reflect everyone's changes. We also have an absurd proliferation of shapefiles that I need to get under control.

It looks like Spatialite and GeoPackage both allow multiple geometries to live in the same file/database, so that is very appealing for dealing with the second problem (shapefile proliferation). However, how do these file formats handle data syncronization?

Is there a way for us to work with a single, simple database of features (e.g. Spatialite) while in our home GIS lab, then take 3 or 4 local copies of that database to our field sites and make a few hundred edits per user, and then sync all of those edited versions back together at the end of the field season?

  • Do the spatial extents of the field sites overlap? That is, can each researcher work with an extracted portion of the main database/shapefile? – mkennedy Aug 23 '18 at 19:48
  • They don't overlap. That sounds like a good idea--would it present the same issue with synchronization that we currently have? – LAT Aug 23 '18 at 19:57
  • QField? qfield.org/docs/index.html – Mapperz Aug 23 '18 at 20:42
  • QField is great for collecting data on e.g. a smartphone, but we need something that will allow us to do this on our computers. – LAT Aug 23 '18 at 20:54
  • Unless there's something I don't know about QField! Which is definitely possible... – LAT Aug 23 '18 at 20:54

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