Lex Berman from Harvard just dropped me a nice email with a link to an interactive QGIS tutorial he has created. The tutorial is one of the nicest I have seen – each section is detailed with text, screenshots and howto videos. I thought I would make a quick post about it here so the [...]
I quite often get requests for my training materials and learning materials for FOSSGIS in general. Last week I was sent an email from The University of Nottingham, UK, who have been setting up a portal to collate FOSS GIS learning resources. The portal is here http://elogeo.nottingham.ac.uk/xmlui/ I haven't gone through the portal in depth, but my quick scan through it looks like it has some interesting and useful resources.
I just got back from another week away, training people to use QGIS in Tanzania. There are few things more rewarding in life for a QGIS developer that looking out over a class of 30 trainees new to GIS (and QGIS) eagerly absorbing everything you have got to show them about your favourite FOSS GIS. This was my second time running a training course in Dar Es Salaam and my third visit to Tanzania. What is really nice is that two of the attendees from the previous course I ran (Dr. Edward Kohi and Fadhili Bwagalilo) acted as training assistants this time around. It was nice on two counts. Firstly, the fact that they are now comfortable in a mentoring role for other users shows that the last training course was successful. Secondly, it was really great to have their help - anyone who has ever tried to train 30 demanding people in a computer lab for three days solid will attest to how tiring it is and how valuable it is to have roaming helpers in the room to absorb some of the queries that one gets bombarded with. Thanks Edward and Fadhili!
During the course we covered basic concepts of GIS, basic usage of QGIS and introduced the openModellerPlugins for QGIS that we wrote under contract to GBIF / TanBIF last year. Needless to say I also gave my introductory lecture on how wonderful the concept of Free Software and how bad proprietary software is. The latter really resonates with audiences in developing nations. The costs of proprietary software leave many intellectually out in the cold. The ability to share FOSS GIS software freely and learn on an open system offers a real leg up in the world to someone who would otherwise be struggling to solve complex problems with an extremly limited set of tools.
I really look forward to doing further work in Tanzania and other African countries in the future. If anyone has need of my services in their country, please feel free to contact me. In the future I hope to hold some training workshops for previous course attendees with the idea of introducing more advanced concepts and getting their knowledge to the point where they are comfortable conducting their own training sessions. With this model, before we know it every little village in Africa that has a computer could be putting QGIS to good use to solving problems that have a spatial twist to them! A big thanks to my hosts COSTECH and TanBIF, and personally to Hulda Gideon for working all the behind the scenes magic! I leave you with something to ponder while you sit in your airconditioned office in some cold place....