Lunch Meeting: Earth, Wind, and GRASS

Thursday Dec 4, 2008 12-1pm
Stanford Humanities Center, Board Room

Lunch will be provided. Please RSVP (cengel at stanford)

Mike Dvorak
Researcher, Civil and Environmental Engineering, Atmosphere/Energy Program

“Earth, wind, and GRASS: A multifaceted approach to engineering problem solving using open source, free, and cheap GIS”

While some expensive commercial GIS software can singlehandedly do nearly any GIS task, there exists a plethora of open source alternatives.  The problem is often locating the proper open source GIS software for the job.  Due to varying degrees of software maturity, open source GIS software can often involve a trial and error process to accomplish a given GIS task.  Although this process can be time consuming, the end result can often be worth the extra initial effort.  Open source GIS software often runs on high performance operating systems (e.g. Linux) that can be easily and securely networked, large problems sizes and datasets can often be conquered.  Other free/cheap options are explored where an open source alternative does not exist. Through two illustrative examples from engineering, each GIS software is highlighted, with the strengths and weaknesses of each software discussed.

Mike Dvorak is a PhD student in the Civil and Environmental Engineering Department at Stanford University. His main area of research is quantifying where and how much offshore wind energy exists in the US and the world. He is currently working on quantifying the wind energy off the Western Coast of the United States.

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