[OSGeo-Discuss] Next 5 years for OSGeo

Ian Turton ijturton at gmail.com
Fri Oct 2 07:54:35 PDT 2009

On Fri, Oct 2, 2009 at 10:32 AM, Peter Batty <peter at ebatty.com> wrote:

> I think that programs to encourage greater use of OSGeo products in
> universities would be a great idea too - ESRI dominate in this area at the
> moment, but this would be another way to get the word out to a broader
> audience.

Currently universities are locked in a vicious circle with GIS
software in that the students demand we teach them on ESRI software
because that's what employers want and employers use ESRI software as
that is what the universities are teaching the students on.

The fact that ESRI are giving the software away for free (or nearly
free) doesn't help. I'd love to teach more (undergraduate) students
with FOSS but first I have to find technician time to install the
software on all the lab machines in the university (which is where
ArcMap is provided) for just one course (and any way why can't I use
Arc like everyone else will be the question). Of course we're supposed
to be teaching techniques not software packages but you still spend
most of your time sorting out the software issues.

So *I* think that universities are a lost cause and we should focus on
high schools - but in many states ESRI has got there before us and has
signed deals with the state to provide arc in schools at no cost to
the school. When I query teachers as to how the kids will do their
homework they usually shrug and point out it's too hard for them to do
on their own or that they can use the school library. May be
elementary schools are the winnable battlefield?

Ian Turton
These are definitely my views and not Penn States!

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