GIS without a GIS ?

Interesting challenge, Can you do simple spatial analysis without access to a GIS or raw data ?

I received this email today, what do you think ?

“Hope you are well – I am now 18 months into a career in renewable energy and am the “expert” in GIS in this company.  We work with Imass (my old employers) with a GIS-based system for working out how much connections of wind-farms, biomass plants etc. are to the electricity grid.  I am going through a data checking exercise and want to compare substation locations digitised by Imass with air photos and maps.  

It is easy for us to create a KML file and display on Google Earth but do any of your readers know of a clever way of comparing with OS mapping – without the need of a GIS or ownership of the OS maps?  Obviously one by one we can compare on Multimap but how do I quickly move around 800 points? 

I wondered if  Where’s the Path was along the right lines on this.  Not sure where I can find the right forum to discuss.”

My guess is that for largely organisational / licensing issues this would not be possible, even if technically it may be, but it’s an interesting thought…

Written and submitted from the Google Office, London.

4 comments

  1. Andrew Larcombe

    Technically it’s straightforward to put something together to do this with a couple of neat scripts. It’s almost certainly though contravenes the users ‘agreement’ with the data provider (either the OS, or third parties such as MultiMap). 🙁

  2. Andy Bailey

    What’s so wrong with using a GIS? There’s open source options if company has zero budget but surely they can stump up the cash for something like Manifold. You could then connect to the openstreetmap web service. Are you adamant that you need the detail that OS offers?

    John’s suggestion sounds equally valid and at least you get your OS overlay.

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