Viewshed Analysis mini-project

Ok folks, I've just started to learn the widely acclaimed Python language primarily to use it for my thesis study concerning with the GIS (Geographical Information Systems). It looks like just the right type of language for my purposes, which is to develop a viewshed analysis tool... fast!

For the unacquainted, viewshed analysis is a technique to find the visible portions of a 2.5D map (or topography) as seen from an observer location. 2.5D means every point of a 2D map has only one height value (hence, not really 3D). Here is a quick example:

After a quick review of the state of the GIS programming environment, it was clear that Python is the most supported and rapid-prototyping ready language for my needs. Coming from a Java, C++ background with some knowledge of PHP, Python really suprised me with its flexibility and transparency. Of course this is my initial reaction.

I will try to express my opinions on the language as well as on the GIS programming environment I plan to use in a later post. But for now, I recommend newcomers like me to read this fun article of Eric Raymond, the famous 'hacker' and advocate of Open Source software, on his inital reactions to Python here: http://www.linuxjournal.com/article/3882


summary:  'wow, there really were better ways to do stuff!'
mood: on fire

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