When I think about the word quantum the first thing that comes to mind is Quantum Leap, a late 80's, early 90's television show about a physicist's time travel adventures. Quantum GIS (also known as QGIS) provides a leap of it's own by providing free geospatial technology to the masses. QGIS is an open source Geographic Information System which reduces barriers of price1 and platform2 for those wanting to create basic maps.
While exploring the QGIS website I found these case studies very interesting. They highlight some of the ways QGIS is being used around the world. Although QGIS does not have all the capabilities and functions of programs such as ArcMap, it is great for basic mapping on a budget. Next week the Iowa GIS Service Bureau will be assisting the Iowa Department of Natural Resources - Source Water Division with a series of workshops around the state teaching the basics of QGIS technology.
1 It's free!
2 It's designed to run on multiple operating systems: Linux, Unix, Mac OS, and Windows.