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The Impact of the Open Source Movement on the Direction of Geospatial Technology

Geoff Zeiss, Director of Technology, Autodesk, Inc.

Track: Emerging Topics
Date: Wednesday, July 25
Time: 4:30pm - 5:15pm
Location: D139-140

Following the formation of the Open Source Geospatial Foundation a little more than a year ago, the open source movement within the geospatial field has grown by leaps and bounds and now wields significant influence over the future of geospatial technology. The open source community has combined established projects such as GRASS and MapServer with newer initiatives, such as MapGuide Open Source and OpenLayers. Within this collaborative, open forum, activity and innovations are emerging at a pace quicker than traditional closed-source development cycles.

As a result of open source geospatial applications becoming more prevalent, many organizations that previously used commercial software exclusively are now beginning to incorporate open source applications into their systems and product updates. Beyond the lower total cost of ownership, open source technology allows developers the freedom and flexibility to customize software to meet their specific needs. Innovation is driven by what the community wants – no longer limited to priorities set by commercial vendors. As a result, purpose-specific business solutions, including engineering, construction, utilities, and government, can be easily customized from an open source platform. Rather than replacing existing commercial systems, these open source applications build upon them and enhance them at a lower cost. Customers can now seamlessly integrate geospatial information with enterprise systems, eliminating the need for proprietary tools and difficult-to-maintain batch processes.