What students think about Open Source Geospatial

This article is based on a presentation made in the FOSS4G of Barcelona in September of 2010 by:

Iraklis Karampourniotis and Ioannis Paraschakis - from the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki
Zoi Arvanitidou - University of the Aegean

The link has happened to me Gabriel Reyes, And is based on the question of whether the Open Source Software could be regularly considered in the courses of the geospatial area of ​​a university career or in the offer of free courses for graduates and the general public.

The answer is finally affirmative, although on the way there are several things to work on the evangelization of students who usually resist to dominate in the first instance a tool that is not popularized, such as ESRI, AutoDesk or Intergraph; as a result of the thought that will not open many opportunities in the labor market.

Again it strikes me that Manifold GIS Despite being software that "It's over there"Is mentioned within the alternatives of privative software like AutoCAD Map 3D, ArcGIS y Geomedia; solutions that definitely have a level of popularity and brand support to be very sought after by those interested in a course in Geographic Information Systems. At the level of private companies that provide training services has been slow to reverse this barrier, however the academy can play a valuable role if you consider the advantages of free software at this point in terms of maturity and acceptance in the administrations public or business sector, outside of what it implies to reduce the breach of illegality and the reduction of costs.

The first failed attempt

The exhibitors mentioned that they had a history in 2006, when they placed GRASS in the laboratories together with AutoCAD Map and ArcGIS. At that time, the result was that users did not like the unfriendly interface of GRASS, And it is to be understood that mixing one thing with the other does not always bring good results, nor does it see it as an independent tool in a context where complementarity is part of the best channeled tendencies in the Open Source environment.

When we show the full range of tools for development, data construction, administration, vector / raster analysis and publishing we realize that despite OSGeo initiatives were not necessarily born in a synchronized way, now we can ensure that standardization and sustainability efforts They have found a fairly balanced alignment, with an orientation towards quality tissue.Ecosystem open source gis

The previous chart Presentado by Jorge Sanz and Miguel Montesinos at the First GvSIG Conference in Latin America, try to outline and separate at the horizontal level what are desktop-oriented tools, in green the libraries and in gray the alternatives with the potential to run on the server. In purple, the database managers and in the vertical level the languages.

This panorama of the OSGeo ecosystem helps us understand the relationships between projects and above all the understanding that diversity is necessary and functional as long as standards are standardized.

The second attempt, successful

The exhibitors comment that in a second attempt they separated courses between the non-graduated students and those who had already graduated or were at postgraduate level. For this, they used complementary courses:

QGis + GRASS + PostGIS In courses for graduates

QGis + PostGIS In laboratories for the non-graduates

Qgis grass Postgis

These same ones I have marked them in red in the previous graphic, to show where they are located, basically in the C ++ environment linked to the online publication MapGuide Open Source or MapServer.

The following table shows the topics that were included in the courses and laboratories.

Graduates

Not graduated

Qis
  • Thematic and symbology creation
  • Spatial analysis and queries
  • Geocoding and Network Analysis
  • Using plugins
  • Extensibility
  • Supplement with GRASS
  • Registration and transformation of images
  • Vectorization from raster
  • Spatial Data Entry
  • Thematic mapping
  • Spatial analysis and consultation
GRASS
  • 3D display and image analysis
  • Support in network analysis
  • Thematic
PostGIS
  • Flight transformations
  • LRS function evaluation
  • Evaluation on network support
  • Creating spatial databases
  • Spatial queries
  • Transformation between different reference systems
  • Descriptive and spacial data

The following table reflects the perception of the people at the end of the courses, an interesting finding that could -And should via partnerships- systematised in more detail, disseminating instruments such as modular training itineraries, methodological guidelines, items, norms of competence and manuals, so that they can be adapted by the universities or technical colleges; Frequently, the exclusive solutions of this only share the manuals. With this, it would be very practical to create short courses or comprehensive courses that give the full dimension to the OSGeo environment both in the C ++ line and in the Java environment that has much more potential (in my opinion) for its multiplatform scope, systematic internationalization and diversity in solutions.

Alumni

Not graduated

Qis
  • Easy to use
  • Very friendly
  • Very good support
  • Very fast and safe
  • Plugins option very friendly for its extensibility and usability.
  • Excellent complement for GRASS
  • Easy to use
  • Very friendly
  • Very good support
GRASS
  • Very fast and safe
  • Extremely well documented
PostGIS
  • Fast
  • Stable
  • insurance
  • Easy to use
  • Friendly interface
  • Professional software
  • Fast
  • Stable
  • insurance
  • Easy to use
  • Friendly interface

As can be seen, the criterion of graduate professionals focuses positively on the potential of the tools, rather than on the immediate products they generate. This requires diffusion, if we hope to create Trust culture And credibility the linkage of the academy with the promoting organizations of OSGeo and the companies that provide associated services.

See original presentation

See all FOSS4G 2010 exhibitions

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