If you have access to more than one GIS, establish a common data set, such as a TIGER file or a DLG, read the file into the GIS system, and perform a simple retrieval or analysis operation such as a buffer or overlay. Take careful note of how long each step took, how many steps were necessary, and how useful the manuals and help systems were in troubleshooting. Place the two output maps together at the same size and scale. Are they identical? What might be the factors contributing to the differences?
To create paragraphs in your essay response, type <p> at the beginning of the paragraph, and </p> at the end.
Examine the manuals for two different GIS packages. Read the same section, for example, the section on digitizing, in each manual. Which is the better explanation? Why? Make a list of the features that you consider desirable in GIS documentation.
If you have the ability, install another operating system on your workstation or microcomputer, such as Linux and Windows. Alternatively, find two computers with different operating systems already installed. Do the same task, say, enter 50 numbers into a spreadsheet file, in each of the two operating systems. Time each process and make a chart showing how much time in total you spent on each task. How much did the operating system help or hinder the task? How much system help was available in each system?
Using the Internet, the mail, or any other means available, make a comparative price list of the "big eight" and as many other GIS packages as you can find. Using the same functions checklist from the study questions, compute a "features per dollar" number for each GIS. Which is the best? Which is the worst? Why?
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