Divestco’s mapping 101

Calgary geoscience data managers society presentation on Esri and other GIS solutions.

Speaking at a recent gathering of the Calgary geoscience data managers society, Divestco GIS guru Terry Steinkey gave a useful 101 presentation on the fundamentals of mapping. Steinkey ran through the essentials of geodetics the relative merits of different projections and datums, along with a plug for the essential work of the EPSG. ‘Issues,’ like 200m plus errors in positioning, can easily result from a misuse of projections.

GIS was invented by Canadian Roger Tomlinson and is today a ‘multi billion dollar’ industry. Popular GIS applications include Esri which can be extended with modules such as Divestco’s own GeoCartaGIS for Arcview, adding G&G functionality. The 101 includes a brief exposé on the different Esri data formats the shapefile and geodatabase.

The free and open source QGIS, ‘less aesthetic and harder to learn than Esri’ is nevertheless a ‘direction that many organizations are taking.’ Google Earth Pro (GEP) is a ‘great starting point’ for web-based mapping. GEP development has now curiously been taken over by Esri and ‘they are not doing a good job!’ Perhaps because Esri has its own ArcGIS Online web mapper with a freeware edition. But this is ‘more for fun than production.’ Serious work needs an upgrade to (a paid) ArcGIS Server.

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