[Freegis-list] On the links between FOSS developers and theacademia

Ari Jolma ari.jolma at tkk.fi
Fri Aug 19 15:38:38 CEST 2005

michael gould wrote:

>This is FAR easier now that important libraries and components are available
>(foss), than was the case a decade ago. In that sense I don't see how foss
>develpers and academia could collaborate more...things are pretty open and
>fluid from what I can see.

At least in the environmental problem solving  (EPS) scene, with which 
I'm somewhat familiar with, I see problems. Maybe things work well and 
nicely in small groups, as seems to be with gvSIG (by the way, from 
freegis.org: "The homepage is in spanish."...). But in general there are 
many communities, which participate in EPS, and unless the whole project 
can agree from the beginning the use GRASS or similar FOSS 
environment/framework, the solution in practise is usually COTS. May the 
solution is just "let's use open standards" but it also could be some 
winning edge FOSS has (together with good usability) because there is 
this connection to academia. Maybe the solution is to evangelise 
scientists to implement their new innovative methods as QGIS plugins, I 
don't know. Probably there is no one solution. I got into this thinking 
after visiting Geocomputation conference, where some people were 
lamenting that their tools are not being used much, and presented open 
sourcing as one solution. In one keynote Duane Marble asked if there 
were any environmental modellers in the audience or if people knew 
environmental modellers, I didn't see many hands.

By the way, I was just listening to Asit Biswas (from Third World Centre 
for Water Management) giving a guest lecture here at TKK, and he said 
that he knows nobody, who is researching the effect of ICT on water 
management in global sense. My feeling is that solutions and tools, 
which are based on closed commercial tools (GIS is just one but 
important), are not very flexible, innovative or open to participation 
(by public or by local scientists).


>Our students collaborate directly with the gvSIG foss project. In fact,
>instead of keeping them around after graduation, as a sort of temporary
>research associate (with uncertain future), I have been turning them loose
>to work for/with the government agency and contracted company which are
>producing gvSIG.
>Michael Gould
>Department of Information Systems (LSI)
>Universitat Jaume I, 12071 Castellón Spain
>E-mail: gould (at) lsi.uji.es
>-----Mensaje original-----
>De: freegis-list-bounces at intevation.de
>[mailto:freegis-list-bounces at intevation.de] En nombre de Jan-Oliver Wagner
>Enviado el: jueves, 18 de agosto de 2005 12:12
>Para: freegis-list at intevation.de
>Asunto: Re: [Freegis-list] On the links between FOSS developers and
>On Wed, Aug 17, 2005 at 10:38:32AM +0300, Ari Jolma wrote:
>>I'm interested in the links between the GIS industry and academia. By 
>>"GIS industry" I mean also FOSS GIS, of which a growing part is outside 
>>academia. How could we strengthen the link between the academia and the 
>>developers of the free GI software?
>I have some general remarks:
>- IMHO, a GIS methodology should be explained in general
>  and then tried in practice with at least two different
>  tools.
>  Students learn to know that there are alternatives
>  and how to evaluate them. A qualification I miss for many
>  students.
>  Hopefully at least one of the tried tools is a Free Software,
>  because students can actually look at the implementation
>  of a discussed algorithm - wow!
>- If ever something is implemented during studies, the result
>  should be Free Software. Even better is to start upon
>  a Free Software and invent something new rather then
>  invent the wheel again. Contributing to a existing project
>  improves a lot more skills than just geoinformatics. Good
>  for the students.
>Both, the proprietary and the Free Software GIS industry will
>be interested in such students.
>	Jan

Prof. Ari Jolma
Kartografia ja Geoinformatiikka / Cartography and Geoinformatics
Teknillinen Korkeakoulu / Helsinki University of Technology
POBox 1200, 02015 TKK, Finland
Email: ari.jolma at tkk.fi URL: http://www.tkk.fi/~jolma

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