Monthly Archives: May 2011

New GIS Job !

After working as Geologist/GIS Specialist for a few years, I will be starting a new job as GIS Analyst for an oil/gas company in a few weeks. I am very excited and look forward to countless new GIS challenges, lessons, and adventures. While my GIS learning curve will porbably start spiraling into hyperspace, we will have to see how this career change will affect the blogging output. Stay tuned.


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When/Who/Why ArcSDE?

I read a lot of GIS postings that include ArcSDE in the list of preferred skills or experience, and I have been asked about ArcSDE experience in job interviews myself. But I haven’t used it yet. So I’m asking myself: what’s up with ArcSDE?

What is ArcSDE ? What does it do ?

So, basically, I understand ArcSDE acts middleware to help ArcGIS connect to a variety of RDBMS. Using ArcSDE, you could store ArcGIS geodatabases in, for example, PostGIS.

I imagine that there are  many ArcGIS users who don’t need to store their GIS data in an RDBMS because they never edit/change it, not to mention have multiple users editing data at the same time. I understand those to be some of the benefits touted by ESRI for using ArcSDE.

So, is ArcSDE really worth it ? This 3 year old thread is essential reading to answer that question. I’ve been reading a bit about connecting to spatial databases using Python (Python Geospatial Development), and the more you read about Open Source GIS, you wonder if there are ways around using something like ArcSDE.

The question arises: are there alternatives to ArcSDE if you would like to work with ArcMap (because you’re used to it) but have your data stored in, say, postGIS. The link above included a mention of zigGIS, which sounds cool, an ArcMap tool to connect directly to PostGIS. There is something I need to look at. Finally, a good reason to dig into the latest addition to my GIS library (“PostGIS in Action“.

I guess the age old conflict continues. You use ESRI software because most people do, and at the same time you hope that the Open Source community catches up so you can save your money.

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Book: Python Geospatial Development

Everywhere on the web, you find people developing new GIS tools for/in Python. But I’ve never really come across a book that ties all this together. All the standard Open Source GIS books and manuals (paper and online) have chapters about Python.

All the major packages have Python support, e.g. Mapserver (Python Mapscript) or the Quantum GIS Python Cookbook for QGIS. There a numerous other projects and packages.

So when I saw this new title: Python Geospatial Development, I got excited. It covers everything from basic GIS concepts to sources of geospatial/GIS data and imagery. It covers MySQL, PostGIS, and Spatialite, mapnik, and finally even setting up a Geodjango application.

This is probably not the kind of book to read from cover to cover if you’ve already worked with some of these projects, but it covers a wide range of available tools and is packed with online resources and links to even more tools and resources. I will try to remember to elaborate once I’ve read a little more.


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