Free and open source geographic information tools for landscape ecology

Steiniger, Stefan; Hay, Geoffrey J.


Geographic Information tools (GI tools) have become an essential component of research in landscape ecology. In this article we review the use of CIS (Geographic Information Systems) and GI tools in landscape ecology, with an emphasis on free and open source software (FOSS) projects. Specifically, we introduce the background and terms related to the free and open source software movement, then compare eight FOSS desktop CIS with proprietary CIS to analyse their utility for landscape ecology research. We also provide a summary of related landscape analysis FOSS applications, and extensions. Our results indicate that (i) all eight CIS provide the basic GIS functionality needed in landscape ecology, (ii) they all facilitate customisation, and (iii) they all provide good support via forums and email lists. Drawbacks that have been identified are related to the fact that most projects are relatively young. This currently affects the size of their user and developer communities, and their ability to include advanced spatial analysis functions and up-to-date documentation. However, we expect these drawbacks to be addressed over time, as systems mature. In general, we see great potential for the use of free and open source desktop GIS in landscape ecology research and advocate concentrated efforts by the landscape ecology community towards a common, customisable and free research platform. (C) 2009 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

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Título según WOS: ID WOS:000270701500001 Not found in local WOS DB
Volumen: 4
Número: 4
Editorial: Elsevier
Fecha de publicación: 2009
Página de inicio: 183
Página final: 195


Notas: ISI