Edu Data Package

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An easily distributable mini-package for tutorial purposes. This is much like the data packages used in MapServer workshops, for example. The goal is not to produce an extremely useful or applicable package, but one that is good enough for demonstration the abilities of OSGeo software/tools.

An Example for a MapServer workshop

For example, in a typical MapServer workshop we'd have a simple set of data including:

  • Global raster backdrop
    • e.g. bluemarble resampled to 0.033 degree pixel size
    • keeping file size to < 60mb was the goal
  • Country boundaries from freegis/vmap files
    • possibly using the simplified version for quicker access
  • Major city locations (I forgot where from)
  • Some OWS/OGC accessible layers, though they are not dependable from many workshop venues
  • Any custom/specific datasets for the particular workshop
    • For the MapServer Vector Data Access workshops we've led we included several datasets from around the world at varying scales, but in specific formats. e.g. one tile of TIGER/US data, a MapInfo file, DGN CAD file, etc.
    • These files are meant only to show off capabilities of MapServer/OGR multi-format access.

An Example for a GIS workshop

In a GIS workshop, a local or regional dataset will be most appropriate. US data sources provide a wealth of data. However, they need to be collected and re-organized for didactical purposes. The well known Spearfish dataset of the GRASS project should be replicated in a modern way with new data and in another place.

  • New GIS data set (North Carolina) now available at [1], additional info and links: related wiki

Hopes and Dreams

Having a similar, common, set of sample datasets could help all OSGeo projects. The ultimate goal would be to have a set of data that many projects can use (and re-use and improve) for doing certain types of demonstrations.

For example, to show how to build a web mapping application, you don't need to have high quality orthophotos or street-level data - just some different types of data: raster, vector, OWS. Similarly, if you want to show off the features of some geoprocessing application (e.g. buffering lines, merging polygons) you can use country boundaries or some sort of coarse road linework. Of course there are tools that are meant for showing off image analysis/rectification processes - these usually require more detailed datasets. Likewise, for demostration high quality cartographic output from a project, larger scale data may be desired.

A tutorial data package could be created at both a global and a couple local scales, to meet the needs of the above. Ideally, in the mid to long-term, we'd have scripts or tools for dynamically packaging data as required and on-demand.

Moving Forward