At this year's GIS in the Rockies, James Fee gave the keynote which was targeted at GIS professionals on the topic of how to remain relevant in the age of change. He concluded that a GIS professional is a programmer and he recommended learning how to not only use but also to develop applications using the latest open source geospatial software.
To help people get started in open source geospatial software development, a completely funded OSGeo India, FOSS GIS -3- week Winter School at IIIT Hyderabad, India has just been announced.
Geospatial Technology has made rapid strides in the last decade, but a lack of people with software development skills and access to source code has led to a set of uses that are limited by the tools rather than the needs of the application domains. For example, in urban planning, though development of master plans are able to exploit these tools for macro level planning, its integration to micro & meso-level needs of communities and government/utility agencies respectively is hindered by the absence of the appropriate GIS based applications. Tp develope these requires not only knowing how to use geospatial software but the ability to modify existing and create new modules for specific domains. To do this requires access to source code and an understanding of the software development process. Combined with knowledge of geospatial science this can lead to innovation and the development of new advanced technology for solving problems in specific domains.
To contribute to creating a community of developers with the necessary software development skills, a 3-week Winter School on “Open Source Development of Geospatial Technology – Community level planning” is being organised during from 27th January to 15th February 2014. It is organized by the Open Source Geospatial Foundation - India (OSGEO-India) and the International Institute of Information Technology, Hyderabad (IIIT-H). The last date for applying for the course is 29th December, 2013.
The objectives of the course are
- To impart knowledge about the current open source software development practices, with a geospatial focus
- To educate about geospatial science concepts and on how to use them for problem solving
- To encourage course participants to think ‘outisde-of-the-box’ by providing a platform for assessing and implementing innovative ideas.
The focus of the current winter school will be on integrating geospatial concepts into community level planning.
The organizers see this as the first initiative of its kind in India to encourage people to understand and modify a software tool, rather than be passive users of the toolset.
One of the organizers of the course is K.S. Rajan, Head of the Laboratory for Spatial Informatics at IIIT-H in Hyderabad. Dr. Rajan has just received the Indian National Geospatial Award 2013 from the Indian Society of Remote Sensing in recognition of his contribution to the field of geo-spatial science, technology and applications in India.