Portable GIS accepted as OSGeo Community Project

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I’m delighted to announce that Portable GIS has been accepted as an official OSGeo Community Project! From a technical perspective, this is the culmination of several months work behind the scenes getting the proper code repository set up here, creating the website, improving the documentation, and formalising the open source license. As a colleague said recently, Portable GIS has moved from being (effectively) freeware, to proper open source. So, there are now official guidelines on how to contribute to Portable GIS development, and on the license terms under which you can use and contribute.

portablegis 5 dot 6

I’m pleased to announce the latest release of Portable GIS. This version (v5.6) has the following changes: QGIS 2.14.1 LTR By popular demand: Geoserver 2.8 You can download the setup exe and the md5 checksum here. Older versions are still available but have been archived to avoid confusion. As always, please let me know of any problems via the Portable GIS google group. Note that I will shortly be publicising a GitLabs repository for the changed files, along with developer and user documentation, to allow people to roll their own versions or contribute to development.

extending portable gis

I was asked recently how someone could add new libraries, python programmes etc to their copy of Portable GIS. It’s fairly simple, but here’s a quick guide. I’ll use ogr2osm as an example. ogr2osm is a tool for converting any ogr-readable data source into an osm file for loading into openstreetmap. It requires gdal with python bindings, and lxml, both of which are included in PortableGIS. To install, simply download the zip file from github and unzip it into the apps folder in your PortableGIS installation.

python easy install in portable gis

One of the things I’ve wanted to fix with Portable GIS is the method of installing new python packages. Since the version of Python included in Portable GIS is not in the windows registry, many python installers don’t work because they can’t find the installation. This includes packages like setuptools, and Pip, for easily installing packages from PyPi. While it’s possible to manually download a package and extract it into the correct location, that’s not fun, elegant, or sustainable, as it takes no account of dependencies or versions.

portable gis 3 dot 1

I’ve done a quick update to Portable GIS version 3, based on some user feedback (keep it coming). The new version (3.1) now contains QGIS Server, fully configured, and also the GDAL 1.9 libraries for Portable Python. Head over to here to download the latest version, and check out the documentation included in the install for instructions on using the latest features!

portable gis vs osgeo live

Over the last couple of weeks, a few people have asked me the same question, which is (to paraphrase) “what’s the difference between Portable GIS and OSGeo Live or USB GIS?“. You get asked something once, and that’s fine, but more than that and it’s worth a blog post! The main difference between the two options is that OSGeo Live and USB GIS are bootable disks. You plug the USB stick (or DVD) into your computer, reboot, and you’re presented with a fully configured Linux environment, with all the software ready to use.

writers block

It has been a while since I posted, and while I’m probably the only person bothered by that, I thought I ought to put an update together! The blog has been going for over 5 years now, and in that time, in the UK, the attitude towards open source software has changed completely. There are now a lot of people who “get” open source, and are quite vocal in combating the FUD which we still unfortunately see from time to time.

the flexibility of open source

I’m helping to teach at a workshop on open source GIS at the University of Leicester in a couple of week’s time. As usual, this means running around trying to get all the software that we need installed on the university computers. As usual, what the course organisers think will be OK, and what the IT department think will be OK, are two different things! We’d rather not use a LiveDVD, as we want the students to work in the environment which they are used to- in this case windows.


Apologies to the couple of people who were kind enough to report portable GIS bugs on the launchpad site, only to have their bugs totally ignored. I didn’t set things up properly, and wasn’t getting email notifications. I’ll deal with the issues and post a fix if I can, and now I am getting notifications, so if anyone else finds any issues do let me know. I also don’t know how I managed to lose my contact form, but it’s back now.

google groups problems

A quick post to give people a heads up that there seems to be a google groups problem affecting the portable-gis group, amongst others. If you have signed up with a googlemail account (not gmail, or any other email account) then your messages may get bounced back with a permissions error. This seems to be a general problem affecting many groups, so no doubt a fix is in progress, but just so you know, I’m not blocking anyone (hell, I can’t post to my own group at the moment!