Exploring Your World with Open Source GIS, GPS, and Google Maps

Presented at HOPE Number Six (2006), July 23, 2006, 1 p.m. (60 minutes)

Digital mapping is the ideal information sharing medium for urban explorers, war walkers, and travelers alike. Powerful open source geographical information system (GIS) software such as GRASS exists for users of all computer platforms to explore, analyze, and digitize custom maps. A brief overview of mapping will be given and then GRASS will be used to demonstrate how to make an annotated bike trip map around New York City. The Google Maps API for making customized maps will also be explained and demonstrated.


  • Paul Suda
    Paul Suda has been an independent consultant in the Chicago area for over five years. He has specialized in bringing open source based software solutions to nonprofit organizations. These have included large scale MapServer installations, custom PHP/MySQL database applications, and enterprise level Linux server deployment. For fun lately he's been doing volunteer website work for the Chicago cycling community, which has been a great excuse to learn about Google Maps and create some cool tools.
  • Mike Dvorak
    Mike Dvorak is currently working towards a Ph.D. in civil and environmental engineering at Stanford University. He has been using free and open source software for over six years. Before continuing his education, Mike worked at a Department of Energy lab where he used Linux clusters to run climate models and other scientific codes. Over the past year, he has taught himself GIS technology and will be using GIS to quantify how much wind energy is available over our oceans. He also enjoys using GIS and GPS to map neighborhood pollution and track his bicycle trips.


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