Comment 2FZ Re: Been too long


QGIS versus ArcMap


Been too long (Score: 1)

by on 2014-07-12 20:46 (#2FM)

I used Arcview pretty intensively back in 2000-2001 when my work machine was running Win2000 and my home machine Win98. I remember it being pretty intensive on the hardware, overly complex, and I sensed the company was trying desperately to lean the world towards proprietary data formats a la AutoCAD (how could they resist? AutoCAD's format domination is hard to resist). I also didn't learn it well enough to be able to claim any sort of mastery of it.

Shortly after - I was on SUSE Linux by then, and looking around for counterparts to the apps I'd gotten used to using - I discovered QGIS through something like Freshmeat, I think (which is why I'm still nostalgic for that place). I contacted the lead developer and asked to join as a volunteer document writer guy, and they took me on. Then I got too busy to be of much use, and bailed out. I got a sense the project was extremely well-run and headed for greatness, but was going to bump up against the proprietary data formats and jealously guarded import/export routines that most open source programs face.

Nowadays I'm convinced we desperately need open mapping data. When you have famous peoples' homes disappearing off of Google maps, the writing is on the wall for the limits of corporate-owned data.

Re: Been too long (Score: 1, Informative)

by Anonymous Coward on 2014-07-12 22:13 (#2FQ)

ArcGIS does have a proprietary .gdb (geodatabase) format but it really isn't used for data sharing so that doesn't seem to be a huge deal. Shapefiles are an open well documented format and lots of data is shared that way. There are lots of other open ways to share data as well, such as GeoJSON. I really don't feel that proprietary data formats and import/export problems are holding QGIS back. I believe it relies on OGR to do a lot of its data conversions and that can work with just about everything.

If its large amounts of open data you're looking for then head over to They use they're own format that doesn't interact to well with anything else, but it is open.


Re: Been too long (Score: 1)

by on 2014-07-13 00:08 (#2FZ)

The ESRI geodatabase format does add a lot of automatic triggering and linking behaviour that gets lost with shapefiles though... I know that the spatialite format was gaining a lot of traction in the opensource GIS world for a portable geodatabase format and ESRI was resisting implementing it as an import/export format as recently as a year ago (I haven't looked into it more recently than that). I am just glad that the ESRI file geodatabase format is now relatively easy to use with ogr, QGIS, and other open source GIS tools.

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