[Thuban-list] New to GIS

Bernhard Reiter bernhard at intevation.de
Wed Jul 30 17:00:56 CEST 2003

Hi August,

On Tue, Jul 22, 2003 at 08:33:40AM -0700, August Zajonc wrote:
> I'm new to GIS, but have checked out many of the GIS sites that are
> available and think I understand some of the basic principles. Here's
> the gist of what I'd love to be able to do, and any pointers much
> appreciated. 

Usually this list is not the place for general GIS questions.
Probably comp.infosystems.gis or the FreeGIS.org mailinglist are
better places to ask. 
The latter only if you want to do it with Free Software. :)

> Some open source projects have maps of developers locations, this is
> what I'm shooting for.
> I'd love to start with a map of the earth and/or US that looks something
> like this:
> http://www.fourmilab.ch/cgi-bin/uncgi/Earth/action?opt=-p&img=learth.evi
> f
> Then I would like to plot a series of points on this map, using a
> command line driven program under Linux. These points would likely be
> defined by lat/long coordinates.

That you can do nicely with GMT.
It can use a raster background image or even included
nice world wide coat lines which are sufficient to make a world
background map. Its documentation examples probably guides you through.

> Finally, I'd like to convert addresses into lat/long coordinates. 
> The challenges I haven't gotten a clear answer to are:
> Is there a good, freely available database that can convert locations
> (zip/postal codes for example) into Lat/Long for the US, or the US +
> other locations? 

For the US you might eventually get one based on census data,
but for most countries of the world the answer is no.

> Is there a good image of the US / World in the manner of the living
> earth image above that is freely available?

Yes and several resources to create those.
Check out xrmap sunclock and its background images.

> I was thinking of using thuban for plotting the locations on the image,
> but if there is some other standard that is good at handling things in a
> batch manner (ie, no GUI) happy to hear of it. 

Thuban is geared toward interactive use,
so the other mentioned applications probably are more suited
to your task.

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