commands, notes for open-source geo workflows
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Tile Previews

Getting started

  • Software - Install critical software and links to tutorials.

  • Data - Download OSM and Natural Earth data.

  • Example workflow - Start a project, import data, export data, create tiles.

  • Web mapping = API + tiles - Slippy maps on the web have two parts: images tiles that make up the map, and an API framework that stitches tiles together and handles interactive panning and zooming.

  • Why go open source geo - Read what the community is saying.

  • Map examples - Pretty basemap tiles and compelling interactive maps.


  • PostGIS - Store your geography in a spatial database (kinda the open source version of an Esri GeoDB). Faster than raw SHP files when speed matters. Storage default for OSM data.

  • OGR, GDAL - Reproject, sort, filter and otherwise modify Shapefiles and other vector map data formats. GDAL for raster. These are amazingly powerful.

  • QGIS - The open source alternative to ArcMap, but not as industrial strength. It's a GUI for composing maps and doing simple analysis.

  • Map Styling - Cascadenik, carto since raw Mapnik XML is hellish.

  • Style Hub - Pre-baked stylesheets for drawing OSM and Natural Earth data.

  • TileStache - Cache web map tiles, from Stamen.

  • Dymo - Create beautiful map labels, from Stamen.

  • Geocoding - This is the one hard part about going open source geo.

  • Routing - tk tk tk

  • Shapely - Python library for geometric objects, predicates, and operations without requiring PostGIS.

  • Tiles - Once you're done designing your map, you'll have 10s of thousands of tiny image files, hundreds and thousands of megabytes in size. You'll need to post these online.

  • Map scales/zooms, coordinate systems - Web maps have 20 preset scales, learn these “zoom” levels and their natural scale equivelents.

  • [Generalize your data]( your data) - Seriously. Your maps will look better and load faster.

  • GeoJSON - Make it smaller. Giving your data the precision it's accuracy deserves.

  • MaPublisher - Make maps in Adobe Illustrator.

Unix command line

Project management: