Monday, February 23, 2009

GIS software recommendations needed.

A friend of a friend wants to do some GIS work involving health stats -- cause of death -- in a medium-sized town, with ability to map cause of death, and zipcode, and probably overlay them. I'm not sure of the details, and not very GIS-savvy. He's wondering what software's best. I know of ArcGIS. Any other recommendations? Feel free to ask questions, I'll answer if I can, and provide the asker links to this discussion.

(The poster is about potato blight. This is not related to cause of death.)


davetoo said...

I'm a self-trained hobbyist but I've been darn happy with Manifold for Windows. I haven't used any of the analytical functions; I use it mainly to map wildfires during fire season, and make other maps.

Judielaine said...

I've been collecting links to software for GIS at There are some interesting things there, like the online map rectification tool. Which is cool to have available like that compared woith having to get an additional module for ArcGIS IIRC.

I liked ArcGIS, but it's pricy and came with a surprising learning curve.

UDig and QGIS are opensource solutions. I haven't played with them yet in depth. At one point in time, when i was fresh from really knowing how to use ArcGIS i found them lacking, but time has passed and they continue to be developed.

Babboo said...

Here's another vote for Manifold. There is also another one called MapWindows which is free and reasonably decent.

map_maker said...

A vote for QGIS. Version 1.0 just came out a month ago, it's seems to run fairly well on Windows and it's free. The learning curve doesn't seem to be as high as with ArcGIS and there is huge support from the community on it. (like me!) The user's mailing list is daily busy with complicated and very basic questions.
That's my recommendation.

funjon said...

In a previous life, I used MapInfo a lot. It depends on what kind of data you're using, what format it comes in, etc.

earlycj5 said...

Wow! I umm am surprised to see my poster in someone else's blog, thanks!

I used R, Diva, and ArcGIS for that poster. That said, I'd echo what others said, if you're getting started, I'd take a look at uDig and QGIS to start with.