[GRASS5] National Center for Open Source Policy and Research
michael.barton at asu.edu
Sat Oct 29 13:39:56 EDT 2005
Thanks for the detailed appraisal of the current 'state' of government GIS.
What I read from this for GRASS users is that, if those using the software
in federal settings find that it is a better solution for their needs and
can make a case to that effect, there may be increasing opportunities to use
open source solutions. GRASS may or may not be the 'right' solution. But it
is good if it can be considered among potential ones (especially given its
government past). I don't know how the new NCOSPR figures into to this. I
think making GRASS a resource supported by the center is something that will
need to come from federal users.
Michael Barton, Professor of Anthropology
School of Human Evolution and Social Change
Arizona State University
Tempe, AZ 85287-2402
> From: <cgnicholas at alamedanet.net>
> Date: Wed, 26 Oct 2005 08:12:11 -0700
> To: Thomas Adams <Thomas.Adams at noaa.gov>
> Cc: <roger at spinn.net>, <grass5 at grass.itc.it>
> Subject: RE: Re: [GRASS5] National Center for Open Source Policy and Research
> Resent-From: <root at grass.itc.it>
> Resent-To: <grass5 at grass.itc.it>
> Resent-Date: Fri, 28 Oct 2005 14:17:34 +0200
> There is some karma responding to this statement, on this particular
> list... :-]
> I recall when I supported GIS software vendors for Sun Microsystems in
> the early 90's, and at one point knew root passwords for machines
> containing source code for ESRI, Autodesk, Oracle, Sybase, Informix,
> and Bentley. I also participated in the winning Sun-Hughes bid for
> Jack Dandgermmond was making the rounds in DC, railing against GRASS
> because "my tax dollars are funding my competition", and with the
> Forest Service (601?) contract, ESRI surpassed Intergraph in GIS market
> share. The GRASS user's group, a hardscrabble collection of
> individuals, to whom I used to sneak compilers and helped get a machine
> or two, had the foresight to change their charter from GRASS advocacy
> to interoperability. NSDI, Gore's 'Digital Earth' speech, and the rest
> of OpenGIS history are part of the lore.
> Whether or not OpenGIS, and national GIS policy in general, diffuse
> into irrelevance by virtue of trying to standardize all of enterprise
> IT (anyone remember GILS? etc) remains to be seen, but it is difficult
> to say that the OpenGIS WMS and WFS protocols are not fully embraced by
> the federal government, and international institutions in general.
> Being here near the center of the current portal *Earth wars, I think
> the real challenge for the government is to find relevance when folks
> like Google, Yahoo and Microsoft are subsidizing their GIS offerings to
> the tune of tens of millions of dollars, just so people will be
> addicted to them.
> As for analytical capability, I think the real challenge will be a
> Darwinian struggle as to what is the most sustainable platform for
> service delivery. If you can make a case for running your shop better
> with GRASS, can find suitable talent, and get it supported, and can
> genreally do mission critical stuff, why not.
> But ESRI is ESRI and Intergraph is Intergraph, software, professional
> services, retired generals and all. But what can be accomplished on
> open source is not to be discounted. In time of strapped cash at all
> levels of government, the cost of Oracle+SDE+ArcIMS+per-seat licenses
> versus PostGIS+MMS is not trivial. For example, GlobeXplorer is
> *completely* built with open source and custom glue, running databases
> on >20 CPUs. Users don't care, so long as it is reliable and has the
> content they need.
> I'll just note that there is fairly high-level support for the general
> concept of creating a "guest" co-location facility directly at EROS
> datacenter, whereby people could run whatever (GRASS, ERDAS, etc)
> directly against huge datasets on a managed subnet, and indeed realize
> the first "A" in DAAC. (distributed ACTIVE archive center).
> And at this point I'll also make a plug for my hobby project:
> http://iserver1.ciat.cgiar.org/mms/CGIAR_prop.html .
>> There is no U.S. Federal policy on GIS. At best, GIS policy exists on
>> agency-by-agency basis (sometimes at the Dept. level, e.g. maybe at
>> Interior). I can say unequivocally thet there is no Dept. of Commerce
>> NOAA or NWS policy on GIS.
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