Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Learning GIS - Digital Cartography, Neogeograpy and Neocartography

I thought it would be worthwhile to review some of the free tutorials, software programs, geodata and shapefiles, and other resources available to those of you who want to learn GIS and create your own digital maps.

If GIS (Geographic Information System) is new to you, visit: What is GIS and how does it work? For a list of GIS and related tutorials visit this Free GIS page from my Learn2Map Free GIS Tutorial and Atlas. Note that this tutorial is based on an older version of ArcExplorer which may or may not work on your computer. If not, the latest version of ArcExplorer is available here. I plan on updating the tutorial soon.

ArcExplorer is a free GIS viewer. With it can view your GIS layers, alter the order in which they appear, change the theme properties and do some queries, but it is not a full-blow GIS programs. In the past, the only way to get a full-blown GIS program was to pay many hundreds, sometimes thousands of dollars for the sotware. This has all changed.

There are many free and open source GIS programs out there that give you the capability to do most everything some of the very expensive commercial programs do. My listing of free GIS programs includes many of these. Some of the newest and best include:

My listings of Free GIS Software also includes many tools and resources that will be useful to you as you advance in your understanding of GIS. Most all GIS, both free and commercial, use the defacto standard shapefile format. The number of free shapefiles available to you is growing daily in most any category you can think of. For example:

This is just a sampling of what is out there and available to you. I add more to my list of free GIS shapefiles each day.

MapCruzin.com has been online since 1996 providing free GIS software, geodata and shapefiles, tutorials and resources. New items are added on a daily basis and most are announced on the MapCruzin Blog. You can also, follow me on Twitter.

If you'd like updates by email, please sign up at the top of the blog or on any MapCruzin.com page.

Thanks so much and good luck,

Mike Meuser

P.S. Know of any free GIS software, maps, shapefiles, tutorials or resources that should be listed on MapCruzin.com? If you do, please post here. Thnx.

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