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FOSS GIS learning resources

I quite often get requests for my training materials and learning materials for FOSSGIS in general. Last week I was sent an email from The University of Nottingham, UK, who have been setting up a portal to collate FOSS GIS learning resources. The portal is here I haven't gone through the portal in depth, but my quick scan through it looks like it has some interesting and useful resources.

ELOGeo Website

FOSS GIS presentation at Cape Tech

Things have been busy – I just back from training course in Tanzania, and last week I was giving a lecture and practical at the Cape Peninsula University of Technology. Lecturer Kevin Musungu from the Civil Engineering and Surveying Department at Cape Technikon asked us to give a presentation on open source GIS after meeting Tim at the QGIS workshop earlier this year. We were happy to introduce them to open source GIS and QGIS as they had currently had no exposure to this side and relied heavily on propriety GIS software. The Head of Department also came to sit in the lecture and had some good questions regarding open source as an alternative.

The class were third-year BTech surveying students that were doing a course in GIS. Some of them are already involved in the working environment, such as the SA governmental Department of Rural Development and Land Affairs. Another visiting attendee was planning to put GIS into a practical, live project to assist his community.

The lecture started off with an introduction to the FOSS movement, with some background on how it started. We then went onto open source GIS, along with a few case studies of open source GIS. This included the Department of Land Affair's Introduction to GIS resources, mention of theOpenModeller project and AFIS project. Then I went onto QGIS, introducing the software and some of the features, along with a demo.

Talking about free & open source GIS

Later that week, we followed up with a practical using QGIS and showing how it could achieve the same results that they did their practical test in ArcGIS. Added to that the students were all given discs to take home (thank you to Kevin for organising this) and will be able to use QGIS at home.

I explained to them the different ways on how to get help: through the user manuals, wiki's, forums, IRC and mailing lists. Feedback from the class was good One of the students commented on the user friendliness of the interface and another was interested in doing an internship on open source GIS technology.

Students using QGIS:


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Some maps from trainees in our workshop in Dar es Salaam

Here is what our course attendees were producing after a day on our course.

A map by Msafiri Mwaikusa

And here is what attendee Nyarobi Makuru produced today...

A map by Nyarobi Makuru

Tomorrow is openModeller day. More to follow...

QGIS & openModeller Training in Dar es Salaam

I'm back in Dar es Salaam for a training workshop (2 days QGIS, 1 day openModeller). Sam Lee Pan and Chris Yesson have joined me to help with presentation. Sam introduced herself in an earlier blog post and Chris is an ex-colleague from my time working for the University of Reading, UK. Chris has excellent knowledge of ecological niche modelling and its a real pleasure to have him joining us to share his knowledge with the course attendees.

Street scene in Dar es Salaam

The course is being held at the Dar es Salaam University's Institute of Technology. We have around 30 attendees who come from academia and state parastatals.

Chris Yesson (Left), Tim Sutton (Center) and Sam Lee Pan (Right) outside the University of Dar es Salaam institute of technology.

It's always refreshing to present QGIS courses and see how well received the software is and how easy it is for new users to  pick up and get running with quickly.

Sam showing one of our trainees the ropes!

During the course of the day we covered loading vector data, symbolisation, labelling and basic digitising.

Chris explaining the intricacies of QGIS to one of the course attendees.

The training course is part of the final stages of the work we have been doing for GBIF. Our work adds several new tools (non spatial table support, raster calculator, CSW client overhaul, darwin core data provider, openModeller plugin) - some of which have been added into the core of QGIS and will be in the upcoming QGIS 1.6 release.

We ended the day with a free form 'map a beautiful map' session and I was really impressed with the quality of work the attendees produced - all of them created nice neat projects with several layers, labels, customised symbology and so on.  I'm going to try to take some screenshots of a few of the better ones tomorrow and post them here for the world to see ... until then, happy QGIS'sing!

Introduction to PostGIS

Horst and I are spending the week up in Johannesburg at the Satellite Applications Center in Hartebeeshoek. We are doing yet another week long training course (I hope I'm not working the poor guy too hard :-P ). This time we are doing:

- Two days QGIS (with a little GRASS)
- One day PostGIS
- Two days geospatial programming with Bash, Python and QGIS

Tomorrow we start with the PostGIS component. Horst and I have been compiling some course notes for the PostGIS module which we are making available to the world as per usual. The pdf still has some rendering issues - we are aware of that. The document tries to walk the reader through the basics of using SQL and then some basic activities with PostGIS and working with geometries.

I hope some of you out there find it useful - let us know if you do! Also if you have any improvements to make, we'd love to hear from you.

Here is a quick pic or two from the course:


GeoDjango 3 Day Course

This week I conducted a 3 Day GeoDjango course. We had 11 particpants consisting of SITA (South African State Information Technology Agency) employees and interns, and other non-SITA employees. The course was given free in order to promote skills development in Open Source GIS, and the lab facilities were donated by SITA, Perseus Park, Pretoria, South Africa.

It was really great to meet the attendees and I hope the course sowed a seed of interested in them that will prompt them to go off and make beautiful open source web sites powered by GeoDjango!

GeoDjango 3 day course 7-9 Dec 2009

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