Praise for Learning QGIS 2.0

I’m garbage at desktop GIS.

I don’t know what happened. I was once an idiot savant at desktop GIS. I wrote data maintenance and analysis apps in AML (painful), ODE (excruciating), Avenue (we don’t talk about Avenue), and ArcObjects (once, on a dare), and a number of them worked some of the time. I could tell you how long I could spend at the gym while a geoprocessing task ran with ±5 minute accuracy. I could make a map that wouldn’t make Gretchen stick pencils through her retinas. Probably.

Not anymore. Most of my time is making web toys, and my analysis needs are usually covered by some SQL/PostGIS machinations. When I do have pull up a desktop GIS, I suck pretty hard.

Being garbage at desktop GIS isn’t a normal thing for a GIS person. For 99% of GIS people, desktop GIS is GIS. Combining that secret shame with a long-standing desire to dig into QGIS, I picked up Anita Graser’s Learning QGIS 2.0.

'QGIS: The Good Parts'

If you have any interest in QGIS, you should get this book. It sits in that sweet spot between a voluminous tomb that gives you too much and a tiny pamphlet that gives you too little. You will get everything you need to get proficient and ready to do real work with QGIS in a few hours. Just 15 minutes into the Data Creation and Editing chapter I totally groked the interface for the first time and my editing experience improved 100% from my usual sporadic fumblings. Learning the inns and outs of spatial analysis and map creation after that was gravy.

All of which is a long way of saying (1) QGIS is a legitimate ArcGIS Desktop replacement and (2) Learning QGIS 2.0 is a great way to get started. Big thanks to Anita Graser for helping me not suck at desktop GIS.