I have been playing around with open source mapping software and utilities. The reason I have been doing this is because I am not able to pay licensing fees in order to experiment with online mapping and because now I can. I can because these tools have become much easier to use and install. Most creators of these tools want to be paid but not until you have a profit making application or you may pay a small monthly fee. I want to emphasize that I am doing this at home as a side project. I have no plans to set this up as our environment at work.

There are many applications to choose from but I have started with QGIS with PostgreSQL/PostGIS as the back-end database. I set up a computer at home with Ubuntu 64 bit Server operating system. I choose Ubuntu because most of the applications I wanted to use had packages designed for installation on Ubuntu. This cut down on the amount of time I would need in order to get everything to work properly. I use QGIS to get the maps into PostgreSQL to be used in conjunction with self created map tiles.

I got a $5 a month account with MapBox for the map tile hosting. MapBox has software called TileMill that creates map tiles. The tiles are the same standard size and placement as the ones that are in use by various online mapping applications.

This LIGIS.org site has a Leaflet application installed that is called Leaflet Maps Marker (What is a site about GIS without a way to display things on maps?). I will be configuring this application over the next couple of weeks. It is still relatively new to me and I have had some limited success so far but I am going to persevere so that I should be able to demo some things at our conference on May 11th.

I will continue to update this article as I make progress with these applications.

by: Michael Naughton

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