Keep an Open Mind - Considering Open Source GIS Options

February 11, 2021

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Open source has great appeal for its collaborative development and price point. Whether you’re learning software or just staying on top of the latest trends, keep an open mind for the benefits of open source GIS options. Open source software, data and curriculum may offer unique perspectives. Most open source options give opportunities for contributing to the development and enrichment of the solution without being a developer or employee. 

 My dad used to remind me that a myriad of tools was necessary. You need the right tool for the job or project of the moment. An open source option might be the right tool. 

 How do you educate yourself? Where do you start? 

  1.  Listen to the DirectionsMag co-hosted podcast with URISA, “Why should you take a closer look at Open Source GIS?” Tom Armitage shared his excitement for blend modes in QGIS. Sara Yurman shares her experience with the Time Manager plugin. 
  2. Explore a collection of articles by Gretchen Petersen, QGIS Compared, that examines cartography, analysis, visualization, and editing data. 
  3. Penn State has done a nice job of comparing open source GIS options, too. 
  4. Read about how open source is making a difference. There is an interesting collection of articles at about GIS and maps. 
  5. Collaborate with others. Even if you’re an avid ArcGIS fan, there’s a community of resources available, including data, tools and more available from Esri
  6. Curriculum and instruction can be open source too! Adam Dastrup shared his work with us last year. 
  7. It’s a topic to explore at DirectionsMag’s Open Source page as well. 

Reposted from The DirectionsMag Geospatial Community Blog, an extension of Directions Magazine. Visit us for daily geospatial news, exclusive articles, geospatial webinars, and podcasts. If you are interested in contributing, please email


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