Mapping/data charting software for Mac?

Discussion in 'Mac Apps and Mac App Store' started by asdf212, Jun 17, 2010.

  1. asdf212 macrumors regular

    Feb 9, 2010
    I have some geographic spreadsheet excel data I am looking to put on a map of sorts for analysis of market potential. So far I have found nothing to do this on a Mac. I am wondering if its possible to do anything like this on a Mac.

    Any ideas would be greatly appreciated -- please let me know . Thanks
  2. jsaligoe macrumors newbie

    Jun 24, 2010
    Fortunately the options for mapping on the Mac are expanding quickly.

    There are some Mac-based geographic information system (GIS) programs that support importing spreadsheet data with lat/long coordinates, such as Cartographics ($$), MyWorldGIS, (free-$) and qGIS (free). Other professional GIS options (e.g., ESRI $$$$) including running Windows on your Mac (ok, not an option for many of us :apple:). I have not used Cartographics and cannot comment on it specifically. qGIS you can import lat/long spreadsheet data and save as shapefile (with a free extension/plugin). Ortelius ($) is a cartography program (not GIS) and does import shapefiles with limitations (see website for more info).

    If you have a spreadsheet with addresses rather than lat/long, you are needing to address match the addresses on a map. Address matching is referred to as geocoding. Geocoding a a fairly specialized task that requires an accurate base map of all addresses to match against. A geocoding service will take the address you provide, match it to a known address on a map, and provide you back with a latitude/longitude coordinate for that point. If you are interested in seeing a geocoding service one of my favorites is – simply paste in a spreadsheet with addresses and it will process them against Google Maps and return you a map with your address points. You can also export a spreadsheet of the results. The resulting spreadsheet with lat/long can be imported into GIS, etc.

    I hope you find this information helpful.

    (disclaimer - I am affiliated with Mapdiva, LLC makers of Ortelius mapping software)
  3. gaige macrumors newbie

    Feb 16, 2005
    Note: I am the President of ClueTrust, makers of Cartographica, so you should take whatever I say with that in mind.

    There are indeed a variety of solutions of GIS available for the Mac. If you look up GIS for Macintosh, you'll probably see an article that we wrote a few years ago giving a basic rundown of the Mac options at the time, including Grass (still available), qGIS, ESRI ArcExplorer J, and others. Since that time, we've released Cartographica, a Cocoa-native Macintosh GIS designed for exploration, analysis and presentation of Geospatial data.

    My experience tells me that each product has it's own niche.

    Those who need compatibility with ESRI's geoprocessing languages generally tend to spend the $1500-$25,000 and load up a copy of Windows with Parallels or VMWare to get exactly what they could have in the most expensive systems on Windows.

    Those who are willing to trade time and effort for money tend to take the qGIS route. It's Mac-like (being based on QT), but it is multi-platform and free.

    Cartographica (you can check out the web site above if you are interested) is aimed at users who are interested in a commercially supported GIS on the Macintosh with growing analytical power and built-in features like server-based, multi-country geocoding, support for server-based and file-based GIS data, and a UI that is truly Macintosh.

    Ortelius is more of a map making program than a GIS, but if you're interested in making high-quality maps using existing data sets, it's an interesting, and inexpensive solution.

    MAPublisher (from Avenza) is an add-on to Illustrator that is aimed at extremely high-quality map making. The tool is not cheap, but it is highly flexible and provides a lot of automation for styles and presentation within the Illustrator environment. (Note: this is also cross-platform).

    I, for one, invite people to shop around. We know there are other solutions out there (and our blog details them with links) and we offer a 30-day trial of our software, and I'm quite certain that Ortelius and MAPublisher are also available with trial periods for those interested. And, I'm quite certain that everybody offers some kind of educational discount as well.

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