Life after ArcView 3.3 ... GvSIG

image I have finished teaching the first GvSIG module, to an institution that apart from implementing a system for use by municipalities, also hopes to give training on free GIS. This institution had developed an application on Avenue but when thinking about migrating it to ArcGIS 9, they gave me the opportunity to show them free alternatives and the matter has finally gone well. Of 8 students, only one of them knew imageArcGIS 9 consistently, which has turned out that they easily adapt GvISG and although they are aware that ESRI is a better known technology and of a better positioned brand they have also concluded that they do not have the money to invest in 10 GisDesktop licenses , 2 from ArcEditor, 1 GisServer and three other extensions… ah! and 36 licenses for clients of its pilot project.

Here I tell you how it was.

The students

8 users of ArcView 3.3, although it is a fairly old technology is quite irrigated by many institutions ... appreciated for its simplicity and the number of technicians who dominate it.

It stands out from all students a programmer boy who handles Java quite well and who has already started working on building extensions for GvSIG although he had worked more on NetBeans And it seems to him half pulled of the hair do with Eclipse. There was also one who knows how to program in Avenue, two other developers more into web design with good command of MySQL / PHP. The other technical experts in destroying an apr.

The teams

One of the teams was with Linux Ubuntu, everything was wonderful there.

5 computers had XP, there was no problem

2 computers had Windows Vista, there were several incidents of Java execution errors, precisely because the installation that had been carried out was of the portable GvSIG version. The best way is to install connected to the web, as the system looks for the version of the Java Runtime Environment that best suits the system. Generally the errors happened when loading a raster or doing a query in sql builder.

But in general the performance was quite good, although some of the computers were with the system loaded, surely to install and uninstall or for little disk space. In these, the operation of the program felt a bit slow ... among them my laptop that is already asking to renew after having been subjected to different simulations of Golgotha.

The disadvantages of GvSIG over ArcView 3x

When doing a comparative review of what they thought they needed from ArcView, these were their appreciations:

  • In tables, you can not change the order of the columns with a simple drag
  • When importing data from a csv file, it requires that the symbol that separates the lists be a semicolon (;) which implies having to change this regional configuration in Windows so that when exporting in Excel it will go like this ... and if they are already converted files is a drag. In addition, Excel 2007 can no longer export to dbf.
  • The styles of lines and dots seem quite limited compared to those brought by ArcView ... I guess more styles are downloaded from somewhere on the web but the manual does not bring this indicated.
  • The options to change the design of fields in the tables is a bit limited
  • It was not possible to bring a grid on the maps, such as the geographic coordinate grid


The advantages

Although in this first module it was limited to the handling of views, tables and maps, this is what they liked the most:

  • The options to choose colors at the time of the thematic
  • The creation of transparencies
  • The properties of the layers to be able to choose minimum and maximum display zoom
  • Clipping the window as a georeferenced image
  • The option go to specific coordinate
  • Layer grouping and the tree option with the plus sign (+)
  • The ability to add projection to views and not only to the project
  • The correct interpretation of special characters such as accents and ñ
  • Import from a csv
  • Language choice
  • The options to define where the source data is
  • The ability to develop, knowing virtually any functionality of GvSIG as a component in Java
  • Export to pdf
  • Creating frames as a marker in views

In a couple of weeks I have to give the second module, which involves data construction, integration of extensions, SEXTANTE and then it would be the third in which we would touch on the topic of creating OGC services. Meanwhile, they have been migrating their apr to gvp and integrating functionalities that they did not have with ArcView.

Golgi Alvarez

Writer, researcher, specialist in Land Management Models. He has participated in the conceptualization and implementation of models such as: National Property Administration System SINAP in Honduras, Management Model of Joint Municipalities in Honduras, Integrated Cadastre-Registry Management Model in Nicaragua, Territory Administration System SAT in Colombia . Editor of the Geofumadas knowledge blog since 2007 and creator of the AulaGEO Academy that includes more than 100 courses on GIS - CAD - BIM - Digital Twins topics.

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  1. I'm having problems installing the arcview on w view. So I started looking for alternatives, so I stumbled over the GvSIG. It is possible to work with layers of information about rivers, that is, the handling of segments, lengths, intersections with polygons. And if you handle very large information layers such as all the rivers in South America in a detailed way?

    Thanks, Pia

  2. Hello Manel, I will review your suggestion on one of these days

    all the best

  3. I would like you to do a similar study with the MiraMon software. I have played something and it seems to me quite interesting software in GIS issues and, above all, remote sensing ... It is not open source like gvSig but it is worth trying ...

  4. The 1.9 version brings several extensions of SEXTANTE included

  5. HAVE you tested the GvSig extension called Sextant of the Junta de Extremadura ………… ??

  6. Well, the topic of topology I have left for the next module, which is data construction since being ArcView3x users are not very clear about its scope. I also know that the topology is still in test in GvSIG.

    I'll keep track of the distribution lists

  7. The map grid is one of those things that are waiting in the list of 'feature requests' and that sooner rather than later will be addressed.

    By the way, it is always advisable to publicize the distribution lists of the project, within the gvSIG website (in communication space), as any questions that arise with daily use can be sent to the community.

  8. The 1216 build, in addition to the symbology, already has some functionality of remote sensing and topology, in case you are interested in having a look. And although, as Jorge says, it is a version for testing and should not be used for work, it is always good to let students know (even the last hour of the course), so they have an idea of ​​what is coming.

    We take note of the disadvantages in order to improve gradually.

  9. Thanks for the data, I'm going to download the Build version, then I'll let you know what you've mentioned.

    Regarding the grid in the maps, is there any extension?

  10. Wow G !, Great article.

    Regarding Vista: there are some known bugs about Vista that are resolved. Not long ago Fran Peñarrubia published a portable version of gvSIG that should work on that OS. I guess you used that but as I do not know for sure I'll hit the link:

    Regarding development: that boy will love Eclipse, believe me… when he tries to mount gvSIG on Netbeans (more than 700.000 lines of code) that he tells you.

    Regarding the CSV: surely you know, anyone who works in topography has touched him, but I prefer to export and then with any good text editor such as notepad ++ or gVim becomes a replacement of all life and ready for gvSIG. Anyway, that part of gvSIG is improving it.

    Regarding the symbology: have you tried any of the latest builds? They are development versions (do not use with data without backup, you understand) and bring the new gvSIG symbology. it will like you. Try the 1216.

    Anyway, I hope you can give many more gvSIG courses and tell us your experiences. They are tremendously interesting!

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