I can recommend DigitalOcean, they are very cheap and great for testing things. They are probably fine for production cases, but I'd be inclined to use AWS.
Here's a referral link with $10 of DO credits: https://www.digitalocean.com/?refcode=9a3c032c376c (I get something out of this if you actually start paying them money.(
I would second this; if the option exists for an alternative, I'd be hesitant to continue with SilverLight for mobile apps.
In addition to the reasons already mentioned, note that Microsoft is not supporting SilverLight or Flash on the upcoming Windows 8 mobile OS.
I can help with point one! On Android I use GPS Status (Note: I use the paid version, but the free version is pretty feature packed as well IIRC) for DOP/HDOP/VDOP etc.
Sorry for not replying, but I have been without internet access for about 4-5 days (thank goodness!).
> I ended up transferring the topographic map I already have for the first step, I.e. the raster data converted into a vector map and moving hence forth.
It sounds like you might have skipped a step. The raster data needs to be georeferenced. Then it will work in the GIS software.
> So importing the map is no longer the issue, however using Qgis its seemingly impossible to move the map around to the right location//scale.
If you get the raster data georeferenced and set the correct projections for vector data, you shouldn't have to move or scale data. It should all line up.
> But I guess there isnt a native way to replace symbols in gpx format into something else? (i.e. the dip and strike symbol).
I've not done anything with symbols in GPX format. The Dip and Strike Symbols look like they are lines, or they would have an angle to them. My first approach would be to try GPSBabel (a command line program) to hopefully convert the GPX data to something my GIS Software could import.
Then I would try to create a similar symbology. I know I could make something like that with ArcGIS, and I be able to with QGIS or I might not.
> It is part of the lake district, I looked for some GIS data, but nothing seemed freely present (topographically) other than the open street map, I think it just may be that relying on opensource too much is making things difficult.
Where? The USA there is quite a bit of public domain GIS information available from the Federal Government.
PostGIS is an "extension" to the open source Postgresql relational database. It allows you store and manage geographic features inside of Postgres. Postgesql/Postgis can run on windows or linux. A number of client software can connect to postgis, including Quantum GIS and Arcmap(with ST-links spatial kit extension). You can export out of postgis formats such as KML, SVG or GeoJson. You can also use it as your datastore for web maps in conjunction with Geoserver or you can use PHP/Python/others to create a REST api.
PostGIS's biggest claim to fame is that it has what I believe to be the widest set of spatial operators and functions of any database management system. For instance you can issue a query that selects and then buffers a set of records from one "layer" and use this buffer result to select from another layer.
It sounds to me like you're looking for some sort of interactive browser-based application that will let you click on different polygons on a map and display some aggregate of their attributes as a popup or something like that. Is that right?
I'll second the OSU GIS program. They've put a ton of work into beefing up their course offerings and they've got some really topnotch professors.
You could also take a look at this little database that the Society for Conservation GIS put together. Might find a program to fit with your work, if you are doing environmental science work.
Also note you could use geoserver instead of featureserver for a much broader set of publishing capabilities (css/sld styled image tiles/on the fly conversions to csv/excel etc), though it would be essentially a second app/not very easy to embed into one app
it has a great set of out of the box functionality though
Here is the section of the GRASS wiki on georeferencing: http://grass.osgeo.org/wiki/Georeferencing
Here is a description of the Quantum GIS georeferencing plugin: http://www.megwrm.aun.edu.eg/sub/workshop1/georeferencing_with_quantum_gis.pdf
I haven't used these programs for georeferencing, but have for a variety of other functions. I use Quantum GIS with the GRASS plugins. It takes a bit of effort to relearn the functions when coming from ArcGIS, but I've found it to be generally full-featured with a large support community.
I'm not a fan of Segate HDDs. Check some stats on failure rates compared to Western Digital. I can be wrong, but a friend and I had some failures on a hand full of drives that left a bad taste
Grab a second identical HDD and and run it as RAID 1. It gives you redundancy in case you lose a drive, and it can as much as double your read time efficiency. If you stick with that Segate drive, it's not that much more expensive
Throw in a UPS. This $40 will keep it from melting in a thunderstorm or power surge.
Solid video card. Solid build overall. This is more of a video editing/high end gaming machine than a GIS machine. You'll have a good time handling cartography, and geoprocessing wait times will be a bit shorter - but if you're not hung up on processing, there's plenty of room to scale back.
There's room to upgrade RAM if you want later which is a nice option, but 16 GB is probably plenty for now. This build will last a while. If you have the cash for it, you'll love it. If you want to save $500-700 you can pump the brakes and get a less intense i7, a lower end video card, and I believe those CPUs come with an adequate fan unless you're gonna put it on blast ASAP.