Open source GIS is alive and well and continues to grow in leaps and bounds around the world. Why so many Government entities in South Africa continue paying a fortune of tax-payers money for privative GIS and database software beats me, when wealthy, developed countries (as in most of Europe, for example) saw the light years ago and enthusiastically embrace FOSS.
I recently attended a wonderful edition of FOSS4G 2019 and the QGIS contributors’ meeting in Bucharest along with Tim Sutton, also from Kartoza. Three other South Africans attended, from the University of Pretoria. Thanks in part to the travel grant programme, many people made it from across Africa. Over 1000 people from around 80 countries shared about 40 workshops over two days and 11 parallel presentation tracks over three days, showing yet again how open source GIS is used successfully to find spatial solutions in all sectors and is at the cutting edge of technology and science. All plenaries and presentations were streamed live and recorded.
Some themes that made an impression on me were the astounding quantity of open data available today along with great tools to process and visualise it; the latest OGC activity embracing an open standards development process via GitHub and recent specifications like the WFS 3 REST API (and an implementation like the Spatiotemporal Asset Catalog STAC); edge computing and reducing your dependency on the cloud; the maturity of QGIS-based field data capture tools Input and QField; the versatility and variety of vector tile and IoT tools and the ubiquity and importance of OpenStreetMap. It was my first time in Romania--Bucharest is a fascinating and affordable destination—and forget Uber, it’s much more fun to brom around on scooters!
The next global event is FOSS4G 2020 in Calgary. If your organisation is considering using or migrating to FOSS GIS I encourage you to attend – it will really open your eyes to the potential of FOSS GIS.
The QGIS contributors meeting, which takes place every six months, is an opportunity for QGIS developers, documentation writers and anyone willing to help in any way with the project, to spend a few days of quality time together. Attendees work on code, discuss new features, strategise about the future of QGIS and work on bugs and documentation in a very social atmosphere. Amongst much other cool new stuff, it was fascinating to see the latest 3D features being readied for release in 3.10. The people behind the QGIS project are a great crowd. Besides being technically brilliant, many are really interesting and entertaining characters! If you install the current QGIS development release (3.9) you’ll see the splash screen shown here. The next ones are in Holland in Feb 2020 and Denmark in August 2020.
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