Open Source Tools for Art + Science

I was thinking about how many software tools I use that are somewhat off the beaten trail and thought I would make a list of the tools I use often.  I thought it might be a good reference so in case I forget to link something later, the information is here.

I like using open source tools.  Not only are they free, but I find in many cases that the development and bug fixes go much more quickly in open source projects than in their proprietary cousins.  I’m not a programmer (well, I program in R, but that’s not the same kind of programming as big applications), so I appreciate that others are and that they put their time into these tools and that they do it free of cost.  The following tools come highly recommended by me for use in graphic art, photography, geospatial science, and their intersection – cartography.

  • Quantum GIS – a powerful geographic information system program for spatial analysis and data visualization
  • Inkscape – a vector illustration software similar to Adobe Illustrator (so I’ve heard… never worked with AI myself).
  • Gimp – a raster editor similar to Adobe Photoshop (again, I haven’t worked with Photoshop)
  • XnView – a photo organizer and editor, good for quick fixes and batch processing
  • Hugin – a photo panorama stitching software that I use to stitch my air photos into one scene; works much better on standard panoramas than what I try to get it to do
  • R – Stats software; you can get graphical interfaces for it, but writing scripts isn’t too complicated (and this is coming from a person with a loathing for command line).
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About micheletobias

I lead two lives - one as an artist and the other as a scientist. More and more I'm finding my two worlds colliding, and it's not the disaster you might expect. View all posts by micheletobias

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