[OSGeo-Discuss] Use cases for FOSS-GIS in universities

Lorenzo Becchi lorenzo at ominiverdi.com
Sat May 12 07:13:03 PDT 2007

Hi Tim,
a simple way to start practicing and making classes with FOSS4G is using 

I can suggest you the version we (ominiverdi.org) are developing but 
there are many out there you can choose from:

that's the link to our distribution page:

this is a young project but we had some nice feedback from different 
teachers around the world.

There's a wide interest to create good packages of both the "C stack" 
and the "Java stack" in FOSS4G application but for the moment the 
solutions (afaik) are FGS (http://maptools.org/fgs/), 'Mapserver for 
Windows' (http://maptools.org/ms4w/) and liveCds.
This doesn't cover all needing yet but it is a starting point anyway.

hope this helps

Tim Michelsen wrote:
> Hello,
> I don't know if this is the right place to discuss this but I just start.
> At my university open source is little used in eductaion and research. 
> There are only a few single warriors who care about it.
> We have serveral departments that use GIS programs. Each of them buys 
> normally the licences for Arc*
> Most students make their way into one program after attening a number of 
> classes on how to push the buttons of that program. But when they come 
> back to it after a while all this is lost since they haven't learned the 
> logic behind. To my thinking, getting into the many FOSS programs forces 
> students to lokk behind and learn concepts rather than functions.
> Another thing is the question of resources. Instead of buying licences 
> from big companies that money could be saveed to by data loggers, 
> equipment or pay a FOSS-developer.
> Most projects buy expensive tools when they only want to produce some 
> maps to display the survey fields etc.
> So, my question is:
> * Is there a possibilty set up a university wide infrastructure on FOSS 
> that enables whoever neeeds it to handle geodata and analyse it even 
> when they are not educated GIS specialists (rather geo/agric scientists)?
>     * Naive idea/vision:
>         1) computing center of the university employs a GIS 
> specialist(s) who act as service force for other disciplines (set up of 
> geodatabases, introductory courses)
>         2) computing center sets up a server with GRASS, postgis, etc.
>         3) those who need geo processing will install a tailored cywin 
> or eny other environment to access the latest version of the FOSS GIS 
> software on the server via -X forwarding or simply access their data in 
> the postgressdb from various clients.
>         4) data in the postgressdb could be shared according to given 
> access rights
> => there infrastruture is just there, those who need take to whatever 
> level they'd need it.
> * Question: would it be possible to implement such a scenario?
> * Are there already such cases out there?
> * Why not take the nice example of the various projects that deliver 
> FOSS for schools (Edubuntu, Skolelinux, etc.) and adapt this to the 
> world of FOSS4G?
> * Who or what are the thoughts of OSGEO on this?
> Keen to hear your opinion, thoughts, experineces, critics, etc.
> Tim
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