African geospatial industry focus on open source software

FOSS4G conference

The FOSS4G conference opened yesterday in Cape Town, South Africa, by the title “Open Source Geospatial: An Option for Developing Nations”.

Developing nations are very interested in this topic. Proving that open source software is a truly affordable solutions could lead to the development of a competitive geospatial industry for countries which could not afford it before.

“FOSS4G 2007 was presented in Victoria, Canada, bringing together 720 attendees from over 40 countries. As a truly international event, FOSS4G is an unequalled opportunity to learn from and compare notes with people from around the world”, this is what is written on the conference website.

Topics have a FOSS component or perspective are:

  • New FOSS GIS developments
  • Interoperability and standards – OGC, GEOSS
  • Web processing services, Sensor Web enablement and the like
  • Using FOSS with proprietary software
  • Making the transition to FOSS GIS
  • FOSS GIS support and training
  • FOSS GIS business models
  • FOSS GIS implementation and deployment
  • Open data, open content, open architectures, open everything!
  • Case studies of open source implementations
  • Improving FOSS GIS cartography and map production
  • Use Case driven FOSS GIS development and improving the user experience
  • FOSS GIS Internationalisation and Localisation

Topics for applications, methodologies or theoretical geospatial work are not limited to a FOSS perspective:

  • Sustainable development and the MDGs (Millennium Development Goals)
  • Disaster management
  • Health
  • Energy
  • Water
  • Climate change
  • Weather
  • Ecosystem management
  • Agriculture
  • Biodiversity
  • Land reform
  • Education
  • Government
  • Local economic development, poverty alleviation
  • Participatory GIS
  • Semantic Web and ontologies in GIS
  • Location based services, logistics, routing
  • 2010 Soccer World Cup in South Africa
  • NGOs, CBOs (Community-based organisations) and community development workers
  • Mining, exploration, beneficiation
  • Spatial economics
  • Military

Other features

  • Hands-on workshops and labs on using and developing open source geospatial tools
  • Education-related outreach day
  • Developers’ code sprint
  • Technical visits
  • Full exhibition hall and demonstration theatre
  • Virtual market for FOSS GIS opportunities
  • Launch of integrated ‘1-click’ FOSS GIS Linux and Windows distributions
  • Competitions
  • Launch of FreeGIS books
  • Launch of online FOSS GIS courses
  • Poster session
  • ‘Birds-of-a-feather’ sessions
  • Great social programme!,
    • Icebreaker dinner and drinks
    • Gala dinner at Moyo in Stellenbosch
    • Tour and travel opportunities before, during and after the conference

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