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April General Meeting

City Mapping with Free Software Solutions

Speaker: Roy Brander, Senior Infrastructure Engineer for Water Resources, The City of Calgary

Geographic Information Systems -- software that combines the graphics of CAD with the textual information of databases, allowing programmable map displays that highlight the geographic location of data -- are now a familiar sight everywhere from Google mobile maps to newspaper displays of electoral results. What took a whole mainframe for the simplest maps in the 1960s was a $20,000 Unix workstation when the modern GIS on a single workstation became possible around 1990. For over 20 years, the commercial field has been utterly dominated by the products of one company, ESRI, and GIS was understood to require not just a powerful PC, but a major back-end database, usually Oracle, on a powerful server. Since it was a high-end hardware problem, the software costs were also many thousands and there was very little GIS done personally. Educational institutions taught with ESRI products almost exclusively.

In just the last few years, long projects by advocates of the open-source databases came to fruition with powerful, robust "geodatabase" add-ons for PostgreSQL and MySQL. The add-on for PostgreSQL, called PostGIS, is by far the most popular and supported. The most recent version of PostGIS, 2.0, just released in 2012, makes it an extremely clear and simple matter to combine map linework into a database. Meanwhile, great strides have also been made with open-source mapping client software -- the free product "Quantum GIS" will be demonstrated along with PostGIS, and compared to ESRI products costing many thousands of dollars.

Roy Brander is a CUUG Life Member. He has given a number of presentations on a wide variety of subjects, including the BSDWall project, the MEPIS Linux distribution, the Titanic (the ship, not the movie), management of Calgary's water mains, and the ASUS Eee PC and Moore's Law. At his day job, Roy is the Senior Infrastructure Engineer for Water Resources, The City of Calgary.

The City of Calgary - Water Centre

Bow River Room 2
625 - 25 Ave. S.E.
(25th Avenue S.E. and Spiller Road S.E.)
(link to location on Google Maps)
(link to parking information)

5:00 PM, Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Snacks at 17:00. Presentation begins at 17:30. Please note the earlier start time for this presentation.

Free admission for the general public.