Recent years have seen the emergence of a wide array of new open source software projects, licensed under a variety of sharing schemes (which you will read about on the following pages). Such projects offer developers and system designers the ability to draw from existing, freely-available work in order to begin customizing their own tools and applications. Note that, many times, open source libraries can be used in conjunction with proprietary (or "commercial") GIS. Open source projects go beyond simple sharing, however - the design of open software should itself reflect an open architecture that can suit a diverse range of possibilities (visit Open Source Initiative for more details on the major aspects associated with being "open").
In fact, the content you are reading right now is part of an "open" initiative for educational courseware. Some universities have recently decided to share their content with the world via the web. In our system, we provide content with the caveat that it must be attributed if it is reused in any way, using a Creative Commons license. In our case, we hope to ensure exposure to our content to a wide range of people (anyone doing a Google search for "Geospatial Design Course" or "GEOG 583" in this instance) in addition to providing our content to anyone who might benefit from it.
In this lesson, we will focus on the ongoing evolution of open source projects and their impact on GIS system designers as well as vendors at for-profit companies who leverage open standards, open source projects, and open source code in their own efforts.
At the successful completion of Lesson 6, students should be able to:
- understand the options when it comes to choosing between open source and commercial software;
- review a recent technology trend and discuss how it relates to GIS Design;
- complete the first draft of the term project;
- read about Open Source issues and relate those issues to GIS Design in a group discussion.
If you have questions now or at any point during this week, please feel free to post them in the General Questions Discussion Forum in Canvas. While you are there, feel free to post your own responses and comments if you are able to help out a classmate.