Frank Ch. Eigler: in praise of qgis

Some days, many days, my bosom swells with pride at the accomplishments of the free software community. (Let’s not talk today about the other days.) Today’s reason: GPS. So many devices can record gps traces, and some of it is interesting to archive long-term. But maybe you’re like I am, and are worried about the privacy / big-brother implications of uploading your .kml/.gpx files to random proprietary borg computers (lookin’ at you, big G). I don’t want to use someone else’s computer to draw maps of my private affairs.

So, what to do? Find free software to do it on your own workstation, of course. But what? The Fedora wiki lists approximately half a gajillion of projects, many of them dead, some of them doing only a part of the basic “superimpose this KML track on a map”. After a bit of searching though, I came across the big jack-of-all-trades tool QGIS. The project is alive and well, is packaged for Fedora, and can do the job.

Be sure to install both the qgis and python2-qgis packages, to get access to the numerous plugins. The OpenLayers plugin gets access to OpenStreetmap, Bing, Google, and other vector & raster data sources. Layering it all together is easy peasy, like a paint program … except that nature & civilization are doing the painting. It looks far better than if I did it!

So, here’s the final result. It looks like any other map you’d find online … but this one’s running here, works offline or on, and no big brother computer gets to track it:

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Original article title: Frank Ch. Eigler: in praise of qgis.
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