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GIS Software and you (Us?)
Greetings all,

As I'm sitting in the office dealing with the pleasures (and tedium) of ESRI's ArcGIS suite, it made me curious as to how ubiquitous in the industry is this particular program. Have you used it? Have you used multiple platforms and are the skills learned transferrable across different pieces of GIS software?

I am working at an engineering firm in the US right now but starting my Postgrad at Southampton this autumn and was hoping to find a job in the UK after that. Will the skills I'm building right now help me in the world of UK commercial archaeology?
I've lots of experience with MapInfo but much less with Arcview and each seems to ahve its own particular strengths. The skills will definitely be useful, even if it's just getting data onto a map.
D. Vader
Senior Consultant

Vader Maull & Palpatine
Archaeological Consultants

A tremor in the Force. The last time I felt it was in the presence of Tony Robinson.
I wouldn't know how transferable you skills with Arc GIS would be, having not used other GIS like Mapinfo as I have never used the latter.

Arc GIS is pretty common in the research environment (both the uni I am at now and my previous institution used it) and indeed, I did my Masters degree using it. As for outside of academia I am not so sure, although I know that it is used by at least one local authority as part of their HER.
I have used it, however, because I am a cheapskate Wink I use the free QGIS programme which is a pretty good open-source substitute. GIS is up and coming. its where it goes I wonder! THe problem with info systems is it relies on the info... and as we know archaeology consists of that which we know... and misses all the rest. So there is no point in doing an spatial analysis of neolithic settlement in the UK for example, given the number of known sites, which does not relate to the number there would have been.... of course it has many good uses... hence I like it!

Damn but I have just confused myself!
I use ArcGIS and ArcView here at the University of Oslo. Here in Norway ESRI programmes are pretty widespread in archaeological circles. The Swedish INTRASIS archaeological recording/GIS system uses ArcGIS as its map imaging system and therefore whereever you find INTRASIS in operation you will have good reason for suspecting that ArcGIS is behind it thats lots of places in Scandinavia, EH in the UK, various archaeological bodies in eastern Europe....

If I didn't have access to ESRI programmes I think I would be happy in using the freeware QGIS (as recommended by David) long as the programme produces attribute-added data files rather than drawings per se (ie as long as its not AutoCAD, or Corel Draw, or Illustrator AI files), I am a happy bunny......
With peace and consolation hath dismist, And calm of mind all passion spent...
you'll probably find that every local authority in the UK uses either MapInfo or ArcGIS as the base for its HER and HLC, usually depending on what their using for their corporate GIS. Bigger units and consultancies usually use either (or both), smaller units tend to baulk at the price. AutoCAD map seems to be increasingly popular though less so than the others, and there are lots using open source which always include some interoperability with the more common commercial platforms...
BAJR Wrote:... So there is no point in doing an spatial analysis of neolithic settlement in the UK for example, given the number of known sites, which does not relate to the number there would have been....

Oi, that's my Masters you are dissing Big Grin

I have to say that ArcGIS got so far up my goat (especially trying to install it on stand alone machines) that I ended up writing my own GIS suite. I'm now the world's leading expert in the use of this system, a system that is excellent for its intended purpose, however the transferability of this skill set is about zero :face-rain:

On the other hand, people i know have used ArcGIS for their Masters and although they didn't get employed in achaeology with it, they found work elsewhere using that skillset quite easily.

Spose I ought to brush up on it a bit while I'm 'resting between roles'.
Thank you, everyone, for your responses. I value all the input!
At work (and at Uni) I use ArchGis, at home I use QGIS.

For what I mostly do, QGIS is pretty good, although I do often need some features from ArchGIS....if only I had the money

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