91 Find GIS Knoppix on the Map

Find GIS Knoppix on the Map

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Cartographers of the world unite! Use GIS Knoppix to view, edit, and create maps using free GIS software.

GIS Knoppix (http://www.sourcepole.com/sources/software/gis-knoppix/) from Sourcepole is a Knoppix derivative with a focus on Geographic Information Systems (GIS). On the surface, GIS Knoppix looks and acts like a regular Knoppix disc with many of the same utilities, but GIS Knoppix includes loads of free GIS software, such as:


A raster/vector GIS, image-processing system, and graphics-production system. GRASS was originally developed by the U.S. Army Construction Engineering Research Laboratories (a branch of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers) for military use, but has since branched out and is also used academically and commercially.


An open source development environment for creating web-based GIS applications.


A suite of web-based Java tools that let you view, create, and edit MapServer files.


Another Sourcepole project (http://www.sourcepole.com/sources/software/mapdesk), MapDesk is a map editor and viewer for MapServer.


A geographic data viewer that can use both vector- and raster-based data.


A GUI workbench for viewing and processing spatial data.

GPS applications

GPSdrive, GPSman, and support for GPS peripherals.

To get a sense of what GIS Knoppix can do, try one of the demos included on the disk. Click the GIS folder on the desktop, and then click MapLab. In the Mozilla window that appears, click File MenuOpen Map . . . and select the tutorial (see Figure).

MapLab tutorial map

You can toggle which information MapLab displays from the toolbar on the left, including roads, cities, and national boundaries. You can also use MapLab to create your own map data from scratch. To open the MapLab editor, click the icon that looks like a pencil drawing on the earth, which is in the upper-left corner of the page.

The fact that all of this software is included on a live CD means that you can take your GIS data out to the field with a GPS and a laptop, boot GIS Knoppix, and get to work.

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