With the attribute data associated with a layer within your map it is possible to ask many questions and have them answered. This can be achieved through the functionality available within desktop GIS. These questions could include relationships between features, also known as objects, within the map layers.
With a paper map you can only view the information that is present on the map at the scale provided. You could take a closer look if you use a magnifying glass if you wanted to look at a specific detail. But apart from that if you wanted additional information you would have to look at more detailed maps of the area of interest.
Prior to the introduction of computer technology the world was explored with the help of hand crafted maps and globes. Within a fairly short period of time, less than forty years, computers have enabled us to better understand our world through the medium of geographical information systems. These systems were initially the province of government departments and very large organisations who could afford mainframe computer systems. Over time, computing power has increased whilst computers have become smaller and more financially viable for even the smallest organisation.
Many local authorities have been using proprietary software such as MapInfo and ArcGIS for many years now. Their level of investment means that the suppliers of this software are keen to retain this valuable market. Perhaps as much as 50% of the UK market is made up of various local and national government agencies who need the power of these desktop software products in their workplace. The fact that both MapInfo and ArcGIS are proven and reliable desktop GIS solutions means that they have a valuable customer base which needs support, training, additional software modules as well as various upgrades over time.
When you close a Map or Browser window in MapInfo you are not necessarily closing the file. This can sometimes be confusing for those starting out with MapInfo as a GIS solution. When you click on the red X button, on the corner of the window in a word processing document or a spreadsheet, you can normally expect that the file is actually closed.
The main thing to remember, with regard to any desktop GIS system, is that if you get the basic set up correct in the first place, you will save a lot of hassle later on. By this, I mean you need to sit down and evaluate what you want to achieve from use of the GIS before attempting to create your project.
As the three major systems, ArcGIS, MapInfo and QGIS, place certain constraints on how you input, display and print data it is important to understand what is feasible and what is not. Remember that you are usually creating a series of layers on top of the base map which contains the foundational information of the project.
ps services are offering introductory Quantum GIS training courses in Oxford in September, October and in London in October and November 2013. These open source GIS training courses will cover all the main features and functionality of QGIS which is a powerful and fully functioning GIS desktop software solution.
One day courses are taking place in Oxford in September and October. Two day courses, which are taking place in London in October and November, will have more time to cover the software in greater depth than the one day Oxford courses.
Both courses also offer 30 day email support to ensure that those attending can build on the training days and effectively use the software to meet their objectives.
jps services will be holding two day introductory training courses in Quantum GIS in London during October and November 2013. These QGIS training courses will take place at Lafone House, The Leathermarket, Weston Street, London SE1 3ER. They will take place on Tuesday 29th and Wednesday 30th October 2013 and Tuesday 26th and Wednesday 27th November 2013.
They will cover all the main features of QGIS including the user interface, file and data management, map navigation and use of drawing tools. During the two training days there will be exercises to create and modify symbols, points, lines, polygons and text. You will also learn how to create and modify labels. There will be opportunities to use selection tools to analyse data as well as to perform simple SQL queries.
During these two day introductory courses there will be exercises covering the creation of thematic maps from data attributes and how to use a layout window to create and print maps. You can find further information about course content here and booking information here.
Motivation is a powerful force if you have the need to achieve a training objective, such as learning how to use a desktop GIS software package. There are now numerous ways to learn how to become effective with the main GIS software solutions like ArcGIS, MapInfo and Quantum GIS.
You can download these GIS solutions and trial them on your pc, laptop or tablet. With proprietary software such as ArcGIS and MapInfo you will have a thirty day to sixty day window in which to appraise the software without cost to see if it meets your requirements. Quantum GIS is open source software and as such there is no cost implication or time limit in checking out its features and functionality.
The speed with which computer technology has moved in the last twenty years has been almost breath taking. The power of today's computers makes the original IBM pc, which played a big part in bringing computing to the masses, seem absolutely minimal. Processing power is now significantly higher and storage capacity no longer an issue that held back many projects in the early days of the personal computer evolution.
Joe Short BSc has been involved with various mapping solutions for over twenty years. If you are considering implementing a GIS or have ArcGIS Pro, MapInfo Pro or QGIS training requirements, jps services would be happy to be of assistance to your organisation.