I work with a few friends on a voluntary basis on the maintenance of some old grazing huts in the Kosciuszko National Park in Australia. We also spend some time to locate and record sites of no longer existing huts. The location data are stored in a self-developed database in MS Access together with information for each site, references, links to photos, etc. After a verification process, the information gets shared with the Park’s rangers and fellow “researchers”. It is very important to verify (on a topographic map) the location data against known locations on topographic maps or from other researchers, as the data may be used in bushfires or during other work in the Park where the known locations may help avoid lengthy work delays until historical assessments can be performed.
I experimented with various free and low-cost mapping software, including the free TatukGIS Viewer. The TatukGIS Viewer is very easy to learn and is updated regularly. I finally purchased the TatukGIS Editor because we needed to create different layers for the different types of sites or site status (known, to-be-found, found+verified, sites from others). The TatukGIS Editor is very affordable compared to other GIS software, allows us to do most jobs very easily, and offers a lot of flexibility.
One time-consuming problem that remained was exporting various selections from the Access database into map layers whenever we update the database contents or want a different selection. When I mentioned this to the TatukGIS support team, asking for suggestions, they got in contact with me and within no time came back with a great script that queries the Access database and creates a new layer with the selected locations. Doing this sort of work on a voluntary basis and having no background in GIS, I did not realize it was possible to write a script to do the importing for me. The script is called ImportDB and is now one of the many sample scripts that ship with the Editor installation. Its configuration can be saved and allows us to set up query variations for the typical layers we use. This makes layer updates so much easier. I am sure others who use simple Access databases instead of larger systems will appreciate it too.
I was most surprised that a company would listen and custom-develop a solution for an individual customer without extra cost. The assistance provided is a sign of real customer support and something rare and precious these days.
TatukGIS explained that my situation presented a good opportunity to demonstrate how the built-in scripting tools are available for any Editor user to custom develop new features to solve real world problems, and also that the ImportDB script will useful for others users working with external databases.