March GIS Book Sale & New Book Teaser

This post provides a 20% off coupon for all our e-books, introduces one of our upcoming new titles, and shares the various ways you can engage with us and the geospatial community at large.

Choose from any of our e-books and save 20% through March. Learn about QGIS, enhance your cartography skills, or build a geospatial application.

Use coupon code: MARCH20 when adding to cart, add any titles you want.

Bonus: Select customized offers anytime during checkout, some deals are over 50% off. 


Geemap and Earth Engine – Coming Soon!

We are thrilled to tease you with this upcoming book, by popular educator and researcher Qiusheng Wu.

Learn more about his new book focused on Earth Engine and cloud-based geospatial analytics.

Sign up to our newsletter to be notified when it is available.


Meet our authors

We now have a dozen active authors, with more coming soon. 

Check out our new Authors Page to learn about their work, their latest books, and how to connect with and follow their social media accounts.

Locate Press Authors Page


Printed book discounts

You can save on more than just e-books.
Avoid buying through Amazon or a distributor by emailing us to get direct access to 20%+ discounts on bulk purchases of only five or more books.

Educators and libraries – we are here to support you and your students. Contact us to discuss adding a book to your LMS or course.

Contact us to place an order

Adding Open Source to your Geography Curriculum

We’re planning a webinar to help train educators to add open source GIS to their curriculum. In this post, I introduce the general idea and share some of the topics we’ll discuss.

Background

In the 90s, many schools were lucky if they had any GIS in their geography eduction. My geography program didn’t offer it, but I could learn PC Arc/Info through the Forestry department. A lot has changed since that time when PC software was just taking off.

In the decade that followed, I used HP UNIX Arc/Info before our company tried to use ArcView and finally landed on ArcMap for Windows. However, I’m sure the company today would be trying to integrate more open source GIS tools that analysts picked up on their own. The most valued professionals can learn what they need and bring that value to their work or businesses regardless of education. How, then, should institutions be helping to increase the value of their students in a similar way.

Many universities and colleges treat GIS training as a technical skill that will help them get a job. While this is certainly true, the dependency on using a single product that students will not have free access to in the future has made it difficult for some academics to feel comfortable with this approach. It’s a huge business and many marketing dollars are spent to continue this approach. Incidentally, that’s fine with us, it’s a big market and we serve a growing group of professionals that are well beyond ‘niche’ status.

Regardless, there has been a continual and increasing push for decades toward using more open software solutions, including open source GIS, in education.

Spreading the word

We started OSGeo to help spread these tools around the world, developing local user groups to support peer groups who weren’t familiar with the options they had. However, it was much more than just a marketing effort, professors and teachers needed solid training material to use in their courses. They weren’t familiar with the options either and it is extremely time consuming to make dramatic changes to an existing GIS course. We helped them find their peers and learn new tools.

This is also why we started Locate Press – to produce material to help courses and trainers teach an open source software approach. Half of our books are geared toward educational users and are designed as workbooks and guides that are used in colleges and universities.

So, if the books, software, and international support groups exist, why isn’t everyone learning, say, QGIS at university?

Because there are several other challenges that make it hard to adapt to these new approaches.

How to add open source GIS to courses

Rather than gloss over those issues in this post, we will dig into them through a webinar instead.

The 90 minute event will cover case studies from teachers who integrated open source GIS training approaches. Our roundtable of speakers will share their varied approaches to making their courses successful. We will identify the issues that remain and need to be addressed going forward. We will discuss what makes a good GIS course in general as well. Here is a rough outline of the topics we are planning to cover:

  • Top 5 challenges to adding open source to a GIS training program
  • Who is already using open source GIS in their curriculum?
  • Why is it difficult to adapt to today’s educational climate?
  • How did our panelists make the switch?
  • What standards/curriculums need to be addressed by any course?
  • What materials are hardest to find and need more focus?
  • How can cross-product integration help students get the best of both worlds?
  • How can this tie in to certification efforts, like, GISP?
  • How can we keep extending the reach of new teaching options?

What questions are we missing? Let us know @locatepress. Or use the Q&A channel the we will have open throughout the webinar.

We hope this will be valuable to any trainer, educator, or professor who has the challenge of leveling the playing field while providing optimal training for their students.

More information is to come. If you want to be informed about the webinar (and our other initiatives), please subscribe to our mailing list and select the “Education” interest checkbox. More information will be shared there when things are finalized.

Further Reading

Here are some of our books that are used in university courses around the world.

The nonstop sale!

Tired of needing coupon codes to save a few dollars? Now you can order a Locate Press e-book and get an instant deal on a second book. Deals start at 10% and go up from there.

Read on to see how to use the deal, learn how to place a bulk order of print books, and hear about our sponsorship of the MapScaping Podcast.
 

Get the deal

Saving 10%+ is now easier than ever. We will continue to have sales with more dramatic coupon savings for our subscribers, but anyone can now get started and save a few dollars.

To access the deal, just add a Locate Press e-book to your cart. On the cart page you will see a discount offer deal, tailored for you. You can even refresh your cart to see a different offer.

Need fan swag?

Want to help support Locate Press and look good doing it? Our branded swag will help get the open source geospatial conversation started with your co-workers.

Get our new logo and colors or the classic design.

Goto Locate Press Redbubble store

We are a MapScaping Podcast Sponsor

(The first one actually)

The MapScaping Podcast helps deliver new and intriguing geospatial-related topics, many of which are open source or education focused. We are proud to be a sponsor to help support this work going forward.

Listen to MapScaping Podcast

Print Discounts for Courses

You can save on more than just e-books.
Avoid buying through Amazon or a distributor by emailing us to get direct access to 20%+ discounts on bulk purchases of only 5 or more books.

Contact us to place an order

QGIS Map Design – Free Christmas DLC

It’s that time of the year again. When it’s dark and cold on the northern hemisphere, let’s grab a warm beverage of your choice and get mapping.

Inspired by the latest QGIS Open Day Freestyle Mapping Challenge, I set out to explore the Quantarctica project dataset. Today, I want to share with you the resulting map series. Like all recipes in QGIS Map Design, this blog post walks you through the process of creating these maps and provides all the resources to reproduce them yourself.

The historic Antarctic expedition of Roald Amundsen is one of five expedition routes mapped by the Quantarctica project which provides the data for our Christmas DLC maps.

This recipe assumes familiarity with QGIS styling, labeling, and layout creating basics, so we can focus on exciting new tips and tricks.

Base Map

Our map uses six layers of the Quantarctica dataset. The geographic context is provided by the ADD Simple basemap and Overview place name layers together with the South pole and Antarctic circle layers.

The two fonts used on this map are Arial and Steelfish.

The historic context is provided by the Five historic expedition routes and Historic stations layers. To show the travel direction of the expedition routes, we can create a trail of small arrow symbols by combining a simple line with custom dash pattern and a marker line:

So far, the map is pretty crowded because we see all five expeditions at once.

Let’s set up the Atlas map series, so we can create a dedicated map for each expedition.

Atlas Map Series

The historic expeditions have been digitized as ten line features in order to be able to distinguish between sections of the routes traveled by sea, land, and even air:

Counting the distinct leader values, there are actually six expeditions in this layer, however only five of them include sea routes.

Focusing on the five earliest expeditions, all of them contain sea routes. We can therefore set up the Atlas by filtering the route features to get only the five sea routes:

This setup will ensure that our Atlas will generate a map series with one map per expedition leader.

Make sure to activate the Altas preview mode now.

Filtering Routes & Stations

Back in the main QGIS window, we now can access the @atlas_feature to filter the routes layer accordingly. We want to show the sea route feature, as well as any other route feature that belongs to the same expedition leader:

Fun With Labels

So far, our map only shows basic labels for geographic features. In the following steps, we will add labels to the expedition routes and historical stations. Finally, we’ll use a rule-based labeling hack to put the finishing touches on our map.

Smooth Route Labels

Many of the expedition routes are anything but straight. They twist and turn and so do the letters of any labels we try to put on them. This effect becomes particularly prominent, when using large label fonts.

To create smoother looking labels, we can use the Geometry Generator (in the Label Placement tab) to create a smoother base line for labeling using an expression like:

smooth(simplify($geometry, 100000), 2)
The map in the background shows the generated simplified line geometry for illustration purposes.

Multi-color Labels

To show the station names and operating years in different colors, we can use HTML label formatting. To do so, we need to enable “Allow HTML formatting” (in the Label Text tab). Then we can build our label expression.

For this label, we combine three column (name, year_start, and year_end). Since year_end is empty (NULL) for some stations, it is important that we use the concat function (instead of the || operator). Otherwise, stations with a NULL value would not be labeled at all:

concat("name",
       '? <span style="color:#307f7f">(',
          "year_start", '-', "year_end",
       ')</span>' )

The ? character is used to insert a line break using the “Wrap on character” setting (in the Label Formatting tab).

Snowflakes *❆❅*

Last, but not least, for some (completely optional) Christmas spirit: let’s make it snow!

The snowflake styling trick used in this map is based solely on Unicode snowflake symbols and rule-based labeling.

As shown in this screenshot, the preview label color is red but it is over-ruled by the project variable flake_color.

By creating multiple rules that all apply to the same (land) polygons in our base map, we can create a random snowflake pattern. Randomness is introduced on different levels:

  • The label font size is randomized, e.g. rand(15, 60).
  • The label rotation is randomized by using the “free (angled)” placement mode.

Different rules have different priorities, with higher priority values assigned to label rules with larger font sizes.

The snowflake color can be adjusted by changing the project variable flake_color (in Project Properties | Variables). This way, we can change the color of all snow flakes at once, without having to edit every individual rule.

So Much More

There’s much more to discover in this project. For example, the label substitutions used to shorten the island labels or the decorations added in the layout:

So go grab the project and happy mapping!

Please ensure that you acknowledge or cite Quantarctica and the Norwegian Polar Institute if you use their dataset in your work.

October Newsletter (2021)

Hi and welcome to our short October Newsletter. Whether you are a new subscriber or an old customer, we want to stay in touch. This newsletter highlights one way to save on print orders, how to update your profile, and how to stay in touch.
We also include a link to an interesting podcast on Geospatial Python with Anita Graser and MapScaping. Watch our next newsletter for the upcoming e-book sale in November.

Nearing 10 years of being in business

Locate Press has grown a lot in just under 10 years, from 1 title to over a dozen. During that time we’ve moved to more digital products and look for new ways to stay in touch with both e-book and print book customers. 

We are using this newsletter forum to help stay in touch but in a focused way – e.g., sharing updates about your favorite books – previously we did not have a way to communicate with focus.

Now you can update your profile to opt-in to specific topics of interest.

Save money with 5 or more books

Need books for an event or course? Normally we limit bulk discounts to larger orders, but anyone can place an order with us directly – for at least 5 books and we will give a 20% retail discount. That’s like buying four and getting one for free.

What you do with them after is up to you – resell, giveaway, or get them autographed at an event – your call!  

Larger orders may enjoy even steeper discounts. We ship from USA, UK, and Australia.

Email tyler@locatepress.com with your order. 

Stay connected – follow more regular updates and discussion here

One last thing.

We regularly look for friends and affiliates that share topics of interest with our members. This MapScaping podcast is a good one. Locate Press author Anita Graser lays out the Geospatial Python landscape. We think you’ll enjoy it.

Locate Press swag now available: hats, shirts, stickers, and more.

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