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There are many types and sources of geospatial data. And there are many tools you can use to manipulate and display spatial data.

If you’re new to the world of geospatial data, you’ll probably appreciate some ‘busting’ the jargon of geospatial data.

  1. Start by reading this blog post on Finding and Making Sense of Geospatial Data on the Internet which explains some basic geospatial data file formats and concepts.
  2. Browse down this blog post Using Open Source GIS tools for spatial data – QGIS, GDAL and Python which talks about open source tools for manipulating geospatial data.

Ready to get hands on?

You can try one of the tools below without having to download software. Do one, or do all and compare the results.

Option 1: 13 Free GIS Software Options: Map the World in Open Source

Browse through this site for ideas for free, open source geospatial software. The descriptions often include discipline specific advice. Download one and try your hand at mapping.

Option 2: Spatial data visualisation with R

For those who have done the R modules in Software or Data Carpentry, this might be a good activity to flex your R muscles (note you need to scroll down page 5 of the PDF to get to the tutorial).

Option 3: Create a map using Google Fusion Tables

This offers lots of features, but you need a google account. The excellent Google Fusion tutorial uses butterfly data to show you how to import data, map the data and customise your map.

Consider: the data world is hungry for Geospatial tools and metadata and there is growing demand for people with these skills. How can these skills be encouraged in your institution?

in Skills