GIS/Mapping

Another interest, though certainly not an area of expertise, is Geographic Information Systems and digital mapping.

I had an old copy of DeLorme StreetAtlas for Macintosh, which only ran as a “classic” application. I also had GPSy for the Macintosh, which also has not been released for OS X yet, and hasn’t been updated in a long time.

I’d like to learn the GRASS GIS application once I have time to get it configured. GRASS is a very powerful, open source GIS package, comparable to ESRI ArcInfo in terms of features and capabilities. It can run on either my FreeBSD or Linux machines or on Mac OS X.

I have also used ESRI ArcExplorer, a lightweight GIS data viewer developed by ESRI. This freely available software offers an easy way to perform basic GIS functions to display, query, as well as data retrieval. It supports a wide variety of standard data sources, and is available as a Java application on a variety of platforms. I have had it running it on both Mac OS X and FreeBSD (Using the Linux installer).

I still have an old Garmin GPS III receiver that I used when off-roading, camping and hiking. It has built-in maps with sufficient detail for highway driving, and creates its own “bread crumb” trail to follow back when off-highway. There is also a serial interface that can connect the GPS to a computer (with a string of adapters) so that mapping software can read the coordinates from the receiver.

National Geographic has released a version of Topo! that is Mac OS X compatible.

I also use Google Maps and Google Earth quite a bit.