Tag Archives: Apple

Matters relating to hardware and software from Apple Computers

Installing QGIS on a Macbook

QGIS (https://qgis.org) is a popular open source Geographical Information System (GIS) tool that we use a lot here at Cranfield University. It is possible to get it running on a Mac running MacOS High Sierra, but it can be a bit of a fiddle. The following instructions were found to work well.

The Mac operating system has no built in package manager, like ‘rpm’ for Linux. However, there are tools that can do the job. A popular one is Homebrew (https://brew.sh). Installing this allows one to install both command line tools which are not installed nubby default (e.g. wget), and also whole binary tools, such as QGIS itself.

Having followed the instructions to install Brew, and updated the installation as directed, the next step is to install the X-Windows window manager, Quartz. Brew can be used for achieving this, thus:

brew cask install xquartz

Next, we can turn to the OSGEO open source geospatial foundation (https://www.osgeo.org). OSGEO have a port of their suite of open source GIS tools ready for Brew, and so following the instructions on the OSGEO Github page, here (https://github.com/OSGeo/homebrew-osgeo4mac), we can run the following:

brew tap osgeo/osgeo4mac

ulimit -n 1024

brew install qgis

To then run QGis, type qgis in the terminal to launch, then pin the dock menu icon to simplify launching it in future.

Soilscapes – Mobile soil mapping app

Soilscapes app

The Soilscapes app is currently available for iPhone and iPad

Cranfield University has developed its first app, which is distributed freely to Apple mobile devices through the iTunes store.

The Soilscapes app provides mobile access to the national information on soil from the popular Soilscapes service which currently can be accessed on Cranfield’s LandIS (land information system) website – www.landis.org.uk/soilscapes

LandIS, which holds the English and Welsh national soil maps and property data, is managed by Cranfield with Defra (the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs). The new app forms part of a wider University drive to extend mapping to mobile apps as well as making the unique national capabilities held at Cranfield more widely available.

The app allows users to inspect the soil properties in their neighbourhood and to understand the extent and diversity of soils in England and Wales, providing for public education and awareness, something key to current thinking and needs at Defra.

The app is built around many of the technical concepts and frameworks highlighted here on GeoThread, including those covered in our guide to building a mobile mapping application. We hope that now much of the groundwork and testing has been done with this application, it will pave the way for further mobile mapping apps in the future.

Whilst the app is currently only available for Apple iOS devices, an Android version is now ready for launch and we hope to make it available through the Google Play store very soon.