Writing about open source

Throughout the years I have used a wide range of GIS, database and statistical software in my work. The choice of software mostly depended on the task at hand and the software being used at the workplace. Already early on in my career, I have started to use more open source software, partly because the flexibility it gives me (I can use it wherever and whenever I need it) and partly because for some of the work I am doing open source programs simply offer the most convenient and powerful tools.

open source software stack

While some programs are very easy to use, there are a few that have a rather steep learning curve, most notably R and GRASS GIS. Luckily there are many on-line sources, including user forums, email lists, and on-line documentation and tutorials to help out. Much of this information is by users for other users. It is thanks to them that I have managed to learn a a great deal about programs such as R, GRASS GIS, QGIS, OpenOffice, and SQLite (well, relative to where I started in any case).

In order not to forget newly learned techniques or tricks I try to jot down some notes whenever I have learned something new. This might also include notes I make when trying out new software. This blog aims to share these notes with other users, in the hope that they come in handy one day for somebody else. And it forces me to write more comprehensible notes than I otherwise might do, not a bad thing either :-).

Besides writing about software, I have written a number of simple GRASS GIS addons (see here). And as the secretary of the board of OSGeo.nl foundation I hope to contribute as well to its mission to “stimulate the use and development of open source software for geo-information in the Netherlands”.