Talk:Free GIS Book

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update: we are waiting for mediawiki to be installed on telascience's server, and then will point to that. At that point, the content will be moved from to the new space.

Proposal: set up a new Wiki for this: ?

Purpose of book

Is this a GIS book that is free?

Or is it a book about Free and Open Source GIS?


The semantics of 'free' (beer/lunch/freedom) are difficult for some people.

The OGC changed its name away from 'Open GIS Consortium' to 'Geospatial'; this is the open source geospatial foundation, not a GIS foundation. This is perhaps because GIS conjurs up imagery of bearded men and mainframes and massive centralised control-oriented systems. What makes this a GIS book?

Is this an OSGeo book now? or a book that OSGeo supports?

There is a great need for a community-based geospatial reference, created and accepted by both educators and professionals. Most of the books out there are based on one academic's or one vendor's point of view.

Would this project may make more sense as a wikipedia than a traditional book? As an educator, I would rather assign a series of encyclopedic articles as readings than book chapters.

The UCGIS GIS&T Body of Knowledge would provide a strong outline to build on.

Potential Audiences

Some of the most insightful comments on the OriginalFreeGISBook were questions about what the audience is. The overview is very broad and also deep. There is a lot to cover in one book. Different contributors will definitely have some idea about the audience they want to reach.

All these different sets of people may have different needs.

  • Programmers who are new to GIS
  • Students who are learning GIS software for the first time
  • Analysts who are used to proprietary GIS software and are interested in open source
  • Educators who are used to proprietary GIS and want to teach and learn open source
  • "Decision makers" on data infrastructure projects
  • Others... ?

Book creation platform

Is mediawiki the best environment for collaborative book production? (Maybe)

The Free GIS Book seems a great candidate for FLOSS Manuals. That group has created Booki, software specifically designed for online, collaborative book writing about libre software. Further, FLOSS Manuals might help run a book sprint event to create the first version of the book in a few days. FLOSS Manuals also has established itself as a hub of libre documentation, has experience with book translation and continuous updating / book version control. I see that there's already an OpenStreetMap book, and another Booki-like platform has just appeared, Booktype. --PatrickGibbs 13:11, 6 April 2012 (PDT)

Why use the main wiki? Rather than setting up a dedicated wiki for the book project - I think this would make it easier to "market", that people might otherwise be put off contributing if it's hard to separate out the content from the rest of the wiki and it may seem like an OSGeo marketing exercise?

I highly agree to but it into a different Wiki Neteler 11:58, 11 July 2006 (CEST)

If mediawiki is good then why not do this on wikibooks which might encourage more contributors?

It could be usefule to keep it close to (for a while?) - think branding, also think that this should become a visible OSGeo project

Drupal has a bunch of extensions which are more oriented towards print-on-demand production and might be more appropriate here.

Are there going to be dedicated editors?

Are there plans to produce a hardcopy output of this book eventually?

Translation issues

Experience keeping wiki content in-sync with translated versions?

A feature like 'purple numbers' (to identify wiki content at a more granular level than page/section, and which mediawiki doesn't support) could help with this

Target non-English languages?

Possible budget for aspects of translation work?