The free GIS book

It is perhaps one of the most valuable systematization products of Spanish -speaking environment under geospatial thematic. Not having this document at hand is a crime, as well as ignores this project before reading this Geomate’s article.

It is likely that not in a publishing house will be found such a product in Hispanic environment, I dare to think beyond also; and is because it was created with the idea of ​​being a document related to geospatial topic considering constant evolving and bias risk by a specific software. Definitely an invaluable document prepared by Victor Olaya, with known contacts help in geospatial environment which include Landon Blake, Miguel Luaces, Miguel Montesinos, Ian Turton and Jorge Sanz.

We refer to the Free GIS Book, which may well be a consultation document when writing about a topic, prepare a presentation, build a system, provide lecture or simply learn more about GIS.

It’s not only important because it is free, because it is Hispanic, because it is ours, but because we are in an era where PowerPoint presentations’ spread, learning communities, blogs and websites where information is shared contribute but not consistently strengthen hard documents construction that serve as conventional bibliographic reference. This background and support under which this book was built provide the authority to be taken into account by the community beyond the wonder sense we also recognize on the fly.

It consists of 8 chapters including 37 subjects constructed with a logical sense: the first two chapters focus on theoretical and conceptual aspects, as they move the third and fourth chapters; we realize that many things we thought we know about Geographic Information Systems construction involve multiple disciplines that goes beyond our knowledge background and do nothing but challenge our self-fang. I like introductory stages chronology of each section, based on the thread of what the user expects. Although document’s type does not lend itself for developed examples, does not lose the practical approach.

Chapter 7 closes with specific use cases in ecological, risk management and planning areas. Then in the annexes explains that there is a complete set of data from Baranja hill in Croatia, which can be downloaded for purposes of implementing the subject.


Also in the annexes is synthesized an overview of applied GIS software in present day. Brief analysis is made for both free and proprietary software, referring to desktop clients’ case: ArcMap, Geomedia, Idrisi, PCRaster, Mapinfo, Manifold, Erdas Imagine and Google Earth. In terms of free software is included gvSIG, Grass, Quantum GIS, SAGA, World Wind, Open JUMPY uDig, without leaving out data base management review, metadata, web publishing and bookstores.


I suggest downloading this document as it stands now, which in itself already weighs 65 MB, although it is a project we hope it will continue updating. For finally persuade you, here I summarize the 915 pages’ index that just lacks a good cover.

clip_image003I. The Basics

1. What’s a GIS?

2. GIS History

3. Cartographic and Geodetic Fundamentals

II. The Data

4. With what do I work in a GIS?

5. Models for geographic information

6. Main sources of spatial data

7. The quality of spatial data

clip_image0048 Databases

III. Processes

9. What I can do with a GIS?

10. Basics for spatial analysis

11 Queries and operations with databases

12. Spatial Statistics

13. Creating raster layers

14. Algebra of maps

15. Geomorphometry and terrain analysis

16. Image Processing

17. Creating vector layers

clip_image00518. Geometrical operations with vector data

19. Costs, distances and areas of influence

20. More spatial statistics

21. Multidimensional Analysis

IV. The technology

22. How are GIS applications?

23. Desktop Tools

24. Remote servers and clients. Web Mapping

25. Mobile GIS


V. Display

26. The GIS as visualization tools

27. Basic concepts of visualization and representation

28. The map and cartographic communication

29. The visualization in GIS terms

VI. The organizational factor

30. How is a GIS organized?

31. Spatial data infrastructure

32. Metadata

33. Standards

VII. Applications and practical uses

34. For what can I use a GIS?

35. Analysis and Risk Management

36. Ecology

37. Resource management and planning

VIII. Annexes

A. Data Set

B. Current overview of GIS applications

C. About the preparation of this book

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One thought on “The free GIS book

  1. Good job, you can also download a ArcGIS Manual for ArcView

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