Open source Geographic Information Systems
I personally favor Open Source Software, and lucky enough to work for an Open Source based company. In the past year, I've worked with a large veriety of open source GIS tools (mainly PostgreSQL, PostGIS, QGis. Ubuntu, Lighttpd and Python), and I favor them over any propietry tool in the market. Anyway, here's my 50 cents:
- Easy to start with. If you're starting a small company, a private venture, or even a project within a large company, you'll appreciate the ability to be able to freely experiment with technologies without paying any royalties.
- Community support. Perhaps the greatest FOSS advantage. There's virtually no question regardinga popular open source project that haven't got a profound answer in the web. For the undocumented questions, you'll probably get an answer within 24 hours in a professional forum.
- Scalability. See DavidF's answer.
- Trying before implementing. If you wnat to convert a software component to a different infrastructure, technology or environment, you can have a free sandbox to play with before converting, and you can always go back. This allowes priceless experience with cutting-edge technologies without the financial risks involved with trying new pricy products.
- Easy to port.. When your data is kept in open formats, translating from one data stype to another is straight forward, and there is probably a piece of software that does exactly that. Figuring out closed format is a truely dantesque experience.
- Maximal Control. Open source software allowes extensive configurability, which means that you can fine-tune the product to your exact needs. For niche demands, hiring a software developer to change the product will be considerably cheaper than paying a software company for changing the product (and they probably JUST DON'T DO this kind of things).
- Attracts better developers. Without starting a flame war, I think that in general, Open Source software developers seem to better perform, be more indpependent, productive and curious than developers under propietry software infrastructure.
- Great web tools. There's a plethora of web-oriented open source tools: mapping, tiles, databases...
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Where does the best college with a degree of Geographical Information Systems in the state of Texas?
Texas State University located in San Macros has been consistently billed as having the top Geography dept in the state. ChaCha!
How many years to get a GIS(Geographic Information System) degree?
And how much math is required for this degree? Good colleges, universities for it?
It depends on the school, if it is a Bachelor's program then 4 years and if it is a Masters then a minimum of 5-6 years. The best schools are those with strong geography programs such as Penn State. Not much math is required for the actual degree, most universities classify GIS as a science. Strong computer skills are required: database, programming, analysis are all important. GIS, simply put, is the bringing to life of databases and tables in a spatial mapping format.