GIS workstation setup tips

From OSGeo
Revision as of 19:11, 2 November 2008 by Wiki-Nikos (talk | contribs) (New page: = Page is under heavy construction... = A page to collect ''best practice tips'' for setting up a GIS workstation ---- == Operating System == Are there any advantages to choose a specif...)
(diff) ← Older revision | Latest revision (diff) | Newer revision → (diff)
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Page is under heavy construction...

A page to collect best practice tips for setting up a GIS workstation

Operating System

Are there any advantages to choose a specific operating system (OS)?


Tips at a glance:

  • One separate partition for the OS
  • On GNU/Linux OSes an extra swap partition is required. Recommended size is equal to or double as much as the system's available RAM.
  • At least one separate partition for data storage
  • If a second (directly attached to the motherboard) or a fast external hard disk drive is available, then data can be stored on it (not the one that carries the OS) to protect system resources from being consumed 100% when the computer executes heavy GIS processing tasks which will slow down the system and prohibit the use of other programs.
  • In case of multi-user access on projects, easy data exporting/sharing and can be achieved using for example the NFS network filesystem protocol


Before even installing an operating system on a computer, the hard disk drive needs to be partitioned. For practical as well as for data safety/security reasons it is recommended to divide the hard disk's available space into (at least) two or more partitions. One partition to carry the operating system itself and another partition to store data. The size of the partition that will carry the operating system depends on the requirements of the operating system that is to be installed. The size of the data partition(s) depends on the users needs.

  • Which disk filesystem type?

There are several disk filesystem types which often are OS relevant/specific. More information can be found at wikipedia:

More about partitions on GNU/Linux

  • Which filesystem is better(=safer/faster)?

Among the most famous disk filesystems used on GNU/Linux OSes, are the ext3 and the XFS. Although the ext3 filesystem type seems to be faster than other types in several fields. On the other hand the XFS, although used mainly on servers, seems to perform the best overall highscore. [Sources:, ]

  • What about Linux' swap?

In addition, on a GNU/Linux operating system one needs to define a swap partition. It is suggested to give as much space as the computer's available Random Access Memory (RAM) or, even better, the double. To exemplify, if a system features 1GB RAM then the swap partition should be sized between 1 and 2GB. [ More details at ]

Backing up data

How often should one back up data?

How should one back up data?

  • simple method: tar cjvf
  • syncing method: using rsync

Other important issues