Planners Using Open Source GIS Tools Know Where It’s At

I just submitted this topic as a facilitated discussion proposal for the American Planning Association’s 2011 National Conference in Boston. Is this topic interesting or relevant? Any feedback would be greatly appreciated.

Planners Using Open Source GIS Tools Know Where It’s At


  • Which free or open source GIS tools are a good fit for planners?
  • How are planners using free or open source GIS tools for their work?
Map Window Interface

Map Window Interface

Every planning department is looking for ways to save money these days. And some planners have seen their technology budget get cut.

Fortunately, there are a number of free and/or open source GIS tools that planners can use when they’re doing basic mapping tasks like displaying data, buffer analysis or re-projecting shapefiles. Let’s discuss which systems are easy to get started in and which are better for more advanced tasks.

For example, we’ll dive into how planners can use resources like the following to complete GIS projects.


We’ll aim to keep the majority of the discussion accessible to planners who may have never used open source GIS. If we get enough GIS geeks in attendance, we can dive into more technical systems like Map Server and MySQL Spatial at the very end of the discussion.

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