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Download Your Open Source GIS Tools

This section provides step-by-step instructions on downloading and installing the major GIS tools used in this project.  The download instructions are for Windows PCs.   Participants all had Windows machines installed and available at their offices for use in this project.  The download/installation screens as they appear on a Windows 7 PC were used to illustrate the process.  The process is identical on Windows Vista and Windows XP machines, although the appearance of the dialogue boxes may vary with the operating system.

The major desktop tools such as QGIS and uDig can be downloaded and installed individually from their respective websites.  However, many open source tools share "dependencies."  They have software modules and files in common that are required to run these products.  Individual installation usually results in multiple instances of these common modules being installed on the same machine at different locations.

The same applies to open source web mapping tools.

To avoid this problem, and to ensure that the most recent versions of various open source geospatial software modules are installed on the PC at any given time, this project has encouraged the installation of software from the Open Source Geospatial Foundation (OSGeo). OSGeo maintains a Windows installation package (OSGeo4W Installer) for just about all the open source geospatial software projects it supports.

Using this installer, one can choose which open source GIS/web map software to install. Running the installer periodically serves to update the already-installed software to the latest version, should a new version be available.  (This happens more frequently in the open source world than in the commercial software world.) 

We will be using this installer to install QGIS, uDig, QGIS Server, Apache web server, and GDAL/OGR command-line utilities.  (GRASS GIS also gets installed as a module for QGIS.)  This will install the components necessary to do desktop GIS tasks on participants' PCs.

Installing the Apache web server also allows the participant to develop and test, on his/her PC, some basic web maps and Google/Bing mashups.  These basic web maps and mashups can then be uploaded to the web server of the township Internet Service Provider (ISP) so that they can be served from, and made available through, their township websites.

We can also use another software installer from OpenGeo  to install GeoServer and its ancillary programs (“OpenGeo Suite”) that comprise a “complete open source mapping stack,” as the OpenGeo folks call it. Installing this package is only necessary if GeoServer-based web mapping is planned.

The OpenGeo Suite comes in two flavors: the enterprise edition and the community edition.  The enterprise edition is the version that is fully supported by the staff OpenGeo, with the level of telephone and on-site support depending on which annual support package is purchased.  The fully functional community edition is available as a free download, but user support is available only via on-line community forums.  The instructions below are for installing the community edition.

Again, each of the components can be downloaded from their respective open source projects individually, but using the installer ensures that a fully-integrated web mapping environment is seamlessly installed.

Instructions for Using the OSGeo4w Installer for Windows

As noted earlier, this procedure will install QGIS, QGIS Server, uDig, Apache web server, PHP, GDAL/OGR, and various modules (like GRASS).

View the procedure as a slideshow:  CLICK HERE  or on the figure at right. (When the slide show appears, press the "pause" button [two vertical bars] between the left and right arrows.  This will stop the overly fast automatic display of the slides.  Then use the arrow keys to view the slides one at a time. )

For independent installation of QGIS, go to QGIS Stand-alone Installer.  QGIS is available for Windows. Mac OS, and various flavors of Linux.

For independent installation of uDig, go to Refractions.  uDig is available for Windows, Mac OS, and Linux.

For independent installation of Apache Server, the easiest is to install it as part of an AMP (Apache-MySQL-PHP) installation.  A good one is XAMP.  XAMP is available for Windows, Mac OS, Linux, and Solaris.


Instructions for Using the OpenGeo GeoServer Installer for Windows

This procedure installs the OpenGeo Suite on your PC.  Again, this is NOT NECESSARY unless you are planning on making web maps that use the GeoServer map server software.  The slides are for installation on a Windows 7 machine.

View the procedure as a slideshow:  CLICK HERE  or on the figure at left. (When the slide show appears, press the "pause" button [two vertical bars] between the left and right arrows.  This will stop the overly fast automatic display of the slides.  Then use the arrow keys to view the slides one at a time. )

The stand-alone Windows installer for GeoServer is available from the GeoServer website.  A Mac OS installer is also available.


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