[OSGeo-Discuss] How to quantify the economic impact of OSGeo software? Your help needed for a research article

Randal Hale rjhale at northrivergeographic.com
Tue Jun 2 05:55:07 PDT 2015

Last year I did a very odd software estimate for a client. The short 
story is I'm adding Open Source GIS Software to their ESRI Commercial 
setup. In one scenario we decided to remove All the commercial software 
and go with Open Source. We ended up through multiple phone calls 
decided that they would end up using $2500 dollars worth of ArcGISOnline 
a year if they wanted to keep that service.

If you multiplied that per 14,000,000 students 9 -12 [1] you have a very 
large number which isn't one billion, but when you start playing with 
the numbers you can make a software gift be anything.

In one high school at which I volunteer we did a GIS project in 
OpenStreetMap. The teacher applied for a grant and received about 25 new 
computers because of the project. We loaded them with QGIS and ArcGIS. 
ArcGIS was donated by ESRI (500 seats of Arcview at 
$whatever_arciew_costs_a_year). QGIS was free. My time to load the 
computers was donated.

Two years later the computers are still in good shape BUT they will not 
run ArcGISPro which is the new release from ESRI. So I am pushing we 
remove all the commercial software and make it all FOSS4G. FOSS4G is 
going to allow us to leverage the existing computers for a very long 
time. That is a larger fight of GIS Curriculum in a High School (there 
isn't an official one) and my time (I work for myself) and the ability 
to make that happen. 99% of the teachers in that school system do not 
know nor care what GIS is or does. When you start talking "this will 
save you equipment/hardware/software" costs you gain their attention 
quickly though.

Of course none of that has been written up because I've never had a 
reason to write it up - it's just a local problem with which I wrestle.

Good Luck - I hope that helps some.


[1] http://nces.ed.gov/fastfacts/display.asp?id=372

On 06/02/2015 08:20 AM, Newcomb, Doug wrote:
> Suchith,
> I am guessing that the 1 billion dollar number is for full commercial 
> price with no volume or educational discounts for the ArcGIS Online 
> services.  If you want to make a similar claim for the OSGeo Academy 
> simply multiply the full retail commercial cost ( plus maintenance) , 
> without volume or educational discounts, of the different  proprietary 
> software packages with equivalent functionality to the tasks presented 
> in the GeoAcademy MOOC ,  times 4000.
> To add a bit more honesty, list the educational discount for the 
> proprietary software packages , then the full commercial price.  One 
> could make the case that the software presented in GeoAcademy does not 
> change in price when leaving academia for the "real world", presenting 
> an economic benefit to geospatial professionals starting careers.
> Do a 10 year analysis, based on ongoing licensing purchase and 
> maintenance costs, between the software in GeoAcademy and the 
> proprietary software.  Multiply that times 4000.
> Just a suggestion.
> Doug
> On Tue, Jun 2, 2015 at 7:58 AM, Suchith Anand 
> <Suchith.Anand at nottingham.ac.uk 
> <mailto:Suchith.Anand at nottingham.ac.uk>> wrote:
>     Hi all,
>     Few years ago, myself and colleagues here did a study  to help us
>     understand the social history of collaborative activities within
>     the OSGeo ecosystem.  The results were published as a research
>     paper on "Mapping Collaboration in Open Source Geospatial
>     Ecosystem" in Transactions in GIS (Volume 16, Issue 4, pages
>     581–597, 2012).
>     Last year after OSGIS 2014, following informal discussions with
>     some colleagues, i decided to do a similar study to help
>     understand the economic impact of OSGeo Software on the digital
>     economy. To do this, we need to understand the metrics used for
>     calculating this. Can anyone who has done similar studies in other
>     domains help me point to any relevant articles for helping find a
>     framework for this. We need to know the underlying metrics so we
>     can use that same framework for this study.
>     For example, reading through
>     http://news.aag.org/2015/05/aag-seeks-proposal-authors-reviewers-for-new-ap-course-in-gist/
>     i understand that  "In 2014, Esri announced a $1 billion gift of
>     cloud-based ArcGIS Online software to support the Obama
>     Administration’s ConnectEd initiative. This remarkable gift is
>     providing free ArcGIS Online accounts to any public or private
>     school upon request. " I am interested to understand how this $1
>     billion gift is calculated?  Can anyone knowledgeable on this
>     provide the details of these metrics use for this calculation?
>     For example, The GeoAcademy MOOC program that our colleagues did (
>     i understand that for just the March 2015 cohert were 4000
>     students in thier program who all used QGIS), so if they all had
>     to buy properitory software for thier study, how much will they
>     have to pay? and will it be possible to even run a course like
>     this ? It is important to quantify this as it will help us also
>     appreciate  the great donation of the Open Source Geospatial
>     Foundation and the importance of Open Principles in Education.
>     Once we can get details of the metrics used for the calculation of
>     properitory software donation, we can use the same metric to
>     understand the impact of OSGeo software donations over many years
>     to the Global geospatial education, economy and business and help
>     us with the new research paper that i am planning to work on "The
>     Economic Impacts of Open Source Geospatial Software". I will
>     acknowledge all contributions/inputs recieved from the wider
>     community in this planned research paper. If you done similar kind
>     of study, in other domains , it will be helpful to get your ideas.
>     Thanks in advance.
>     Best wishes,
>     Suchith
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> -- 
> Doug Newcomb
> Raleigh, NC
> 919-856-4520 ext. 14 doug_newcomb at fws.gov <mailto:doug_newcomb at fws.gov>
> ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> The opinions I express are my own and are not representative of the 
> official policy of the U.S.Fish and Wildlife Service or Dept. of the 
> Interior.   Life is too short for undocumented, proprietary data formats.
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Randal Hale
North River Geographic Systems, Inc
423.653.3611 rjhale at northrivergeographic.com
twitter:rjhale     http://about.me/rjhale
Southeast OSGEO: http://wiki.osgeo.org/wiki/Southeast_US

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