Experiences Teaching Gis With Open Source Software


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Experiences Teaching Gis With Open Source Software

  1. 1. Experiences Teaching GIS with Open Source Software<br />Ian Turton,<br />John A. Dutton e-Education Institute<br />EES Building<br />Pennsylvania State University<br />University Park<br />PA 16802<br />USA<br />Email:ijt1@psu.edu<br />
  2. 2. Summary<br />The course<br />The software<br />The students<br />The problems<br />The benefits<br />
  3. 3. The Course<br />GEOG585 - Open Web Mapping <br />http://www.e-education.psu.edu/geog585<br />Part of the Penn State MGIS Program<br />http://gis.e-education.psu.edu/mgis<br />Online course designed for experienced practitioners who aspire to leadership in the geographic information systems profession, but who are only able to study part-time and at a distance.<br />
  4. 4. What is Open?<br />Open Source<br />All the software required for the course is FOSS<br />Open Standards<br />All the methods in the course are based on open standards (OGC)<br />Open Courseware<br />All the course materials are openly available on the web for review and reuse (CC-BY-NC-SA)<br />
  5. 5. Course Outline<br />A 10 week tour through open web mapping using open standards and open source software<br />Web Map Servers (WMS)<br />Pictures of maps sent to client<br />Web Feature Servers (WFS)<br />Actual data sent to client (includes GML)<br />Styled Layer Description (SLD)<br />Styling web maps<br />
  6. 6. Assessment<br />A mid term paper discussing a plan for a full web map project<br />A final project which produces a complete web mapping project from data acquisition, setting up a web map server and building a custom thin map client. <br />http://webmapping.mgis.psu.edu/geoserver/www<br />
  7. 7. Web Map Servers<br />MapServer <br />Open source C based <br />Easy to install on Linux, harder on windows and mac’s<br />GeoServer<br />Open source Java based<br />Easy to install on most OS (harder on Vista due to security)<br />Deegree<br />Open source Java based<br />Easy to install on most OS (harder on Vista due to security)<br />ArcGIS Server<br />Closed source <br />Easyish to install once you’ve paid for it windows, costs more for Linux, no mac support.<br />
  8. 8. Web Mapping Clients<br />OpenLayers<br />Open source <br />JavaScript <br />WebKit and OpenScales<br />Open source<br />Flex/Flash<br />ArcGIS server client<br />Closed source<br />.Net/Java <br />No Internet 8 support until 9.3 (java -&gt; 9.4)<br />
  9. 9. Thick (Desktop) Clients<br />UDig<br />Open source java<br />Drag and drop WMS, WFS support<br />QGIS<br />Open Source python<br />Full OGC support<br />ArcMap<br />Closed source - windows<br />Can do WMS import and simple WFS<br />Full WFS – paid add on.<br />
  10. 10. The Students<br />Knowledgeable Students<br />Less Knowledgeable Students<br />Clueless Students<br />Sharers<br />Hoarders <br />
  11. 11. The Knowledgeable Students <br />These are the students who understand how their machine connects to the Internet. <br />They tend to ask questions about their LAMP box in basement that they plan to start their new consulting business on. <br />Strong programmers<br />
  12. 12. Less Knowledgeable Students<br />These are the students that know how to install software, they mostly get on with the projects but can become completely stumped if their machine is not like the example in any way. <br />Have never programmed anything harder than ArcObjects.<br />
  13. 13. Clueless Students<br />These are the students who are completely stumped at all times.<br />They have never installed anything on machine since it arrived new. <br />Don’t really understand how the internet works.<br />Have never programmed anything (including the video recorder)<br />Often younger <br />
  14. 14. Hoarders/Sharers<br />Hoarders<br />Ask a lot of questions by email and on forums<br />Never report back as to what worked<br />Never answer other’s questions<br />Sharers<br />Will often research the answer to their problem<br />Will then share knowledge to help others on the forums<br />
  15. 15. The Problems<br />Install the program<br />Which version?<br />Who’s this administrator guy?<br />But I’ve got Vista!<br />Run the program<br />It won’t run! It doesn’t start! It’s broken!<br />Where did my data go? <br />
  16. 16. More Problems<br />Write a program<br />What is JavaScript?<br />It doesn’t work! <br />In Internet Explorer<br />Except in Internet Explorer<br />I didn’t know ,/; was important!<br />Cross Domain Requests<br />Debugger?<br />Philosophical objection to Firefox<br />
  17. 17. The Benefits<br />Open software<br />No license fees<br />Free to redistribute<br />Open Standards<br />Can interoperate with ESRI software<br />Easier to teach techniques not technology<br />Open Courseware<br />Easy for students to determine if they can cope with course <br />Supports teaching at other institutions<br />Supports open software developers<br />
  18. 18. Why Bother?<br />Programming is a key GeoComputation/ Geography skill <br />Someone has to encourage students to do this sort of stuff<br />
  19. 19. Conclusions<br />Open is good!<br />Teaching an online course with closed source software is<br />Harder <br />License management<br />Cost to student<br />Limited supported platforms<br />Easier <br />Some else does support<br />