Introduction to Free/Libre and Open Source GIS v.1.0

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Welcome to the "Introduction to Free/Libre and Open Source Geographic Information Systems" class. This (online) course was designed and taught from UMass Amherst, in the Spring 2007. This course teaches concepts using QGIS, PostgreSQL, PostGIS, PGAdmin, and the GRASS plugin to QGIS.

Important: This page resides on OSGeo's server. But the exercises and other content below reside on a wiki at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. To access them you will be prompted for a userid and password. Use (no quotes) "foss" (UID) and "umass" (PW).

version 1.0.

All content below is provided on this wiki is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.5 License and is being developed as part of the [Open Geospatial Foundation's educational resources effort]. This means that users are free to copy and share this material with others.

But if you do find this material useful or make a new derivative based on this material, we would like to know. Please email us at cschweik AT pubpol DOT umass DOT edu. We hope any new derivatives will be posted back on the OSGeo wiki or whatever collaborative platform we might move to in the future.


Exercise: QGIS Overview

Assignment: Intro to QGIS

Assignment: GIS Literature Review

Exercise: Installing QGIS


Exercise: Web GIS data resources: US and global

Exercise: An example of regional web resources: Massachusetts, USA digital data

Assignment: Searching, downloading and viewing GIS data in QGIS

Exercise: Georeferencing with QGIS

Assignment: Georeferencing practice

Exercise: Online Digitizing and Adding Attribute Data using QGIS

Assignment: On-screen digitizing practice

Exercise: GPS Field exercise (for people with a GPS)

Exercise: Mapping GPS points with QGIS and adding attribute data

Assignment: Mapping GPS points with QGIS and adding attribute data

Extra Credit: Using GPX formatted GPS data


Exercise: Using data layers from Spatial Data Engines (SDE): PostgreSQL and PostGIS

Exercise: Analyzing attribute data with SQL. (part I: SELECT statements)

Exercise: Analyzing attribute data with SQL. (part 2: Joining tables)

Exercise: Integrating spatial and non-spatial data

Assignment: Computing land use change with SQL (select query)

Assignment: Creating a thematic map with QGIS using non-spatial table with statistical data.

Exercise: Installing client software to work with SDE

Exercise: Installing PostgreSQL/PostGIS database


Exercise: Making maps in QGIS

Exercise: Analysis using the QGIS GRASS plug-in. Plug-in basics.

Assignment: GRASS Plug-in basics

Exercise: Site selection 1: Raster Analysis

Exercise: Site selection 2: Vector Analysis

Assignment: Raster analysis practice

Assignment: Vector analysis practice


Module still needs to be written. Anyone from OSGeo interested?


Support for the development of this course was provided by:

The [The Department of Natural Resources Conservation], [The Center for Public Policy and Administration], and [The National Center for Digital Government], all at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.

All datasets use information from [The Massachusetts Office of Geographic and Environmental Information (MassGIS)]

This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant Number NSFIIS 0447623 and generous support from the [IBM Corporation's Academic Initiative]. Any opinions, findings, conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation (NSF) or the units above.