more specfic help for a GIS beginner

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more specfic help for a GIS beginner

Tom Sgouros

Hello all:

I believe my earlier questions have not been very well phrased.  Here is
my situation: I have an ongoing need to make a variety of maps of more
or less the same kind.  I have a small area, divided into 39 towns and
about 75 zip code areas, for which I already have a dandy set of
ESRI-style shapefiles.  I have some data by town, and some data by the
zips.  No doubt I'll someday get data in some other package, too, like
legislative districts or counties.

The maps I want to make are pretty simple: color this town red if value
X is over 12, and green if it's under.  Color the town yellow if Y is
also greater than 6.  When I get data in the zip code areas, I'll need
to re-jigger it into the towns somehow, so it can be compared with the
other town data.

This is a long-term thing, and I don't mind putting in the time to learn
a new package.  I'm not looking for quick-and-dirty solutions.  But I am
apparently very confused about what software is for which part of my
tasks.  I thought these were GIS tasks, and that QGIS was a GIS system,
so it could do that, QED.  (And the manuals I've read have been ambiguos
enough that I couldn't resolve these questions there.)

My questions:

  This is apparently not a QGIS thing.  Is it a QGIS/GRASS set of tasks?

  Is there a way to run GRASS without QGIS, or am I supposed to think of
  GRASS as an extension to QGIS?

  Is some part of this best done with PostGIS?  If so, which part, and
  do I use QGIS as the PostGIS client, or is there a better PostGIS
  client I should learn?

  Can I get print-quality (postscript is best) output from any of these
  systems, or does this requirement create restrictions I should know
  about now before I invest the time?

Many thanks for your patience and assistance.


 tomfool at as220 dot org
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