For reasons I won’t go into, I’ve had a little hassle with my laptop recently. The upshot is that I have a new machine and have been re-installing all my previous software. The one I wasn’t looking forward to was GRASS, the open-source GIS package. As I’m running windows, last time this involved installing cygwin, the Linux emulator, and installing and running it from there. A pain in the backside but I found some help online.
However, I’ve discovered that the boys and girls at GRASS have now developed a Windows native binary installation package which is A LOT easier. Follow Huidae Cho’s instructions to the letter and you’ll be just fine… What took several hours last time, took less than one this.
Other open source GIS software to check out include QGIS (using, as GRASS does, PostGIS and the PostgreSQL object-relational database) and uDig (integrable with Compendium as the guys at Econsensus have).
A longer list of useful software here.