FOSS4G software in university geomatics education: a case study integrating teaching and research
Presentation | Presented
- Scott Mitchell, Carleton University
FOSS4G is at once timely, valuable, and challenging in the academic environment. I have used GRASS GIS in my own teaching and research for many years, and in the last few years I have been introducing other tools (e.g. R, QGIS, MapServer, GDAL/OGR) into the curriculum at Carleton University. This talk will present observations, and hopefully stimulate discussion, on advantages, challenges, and wishes for the future for free and open source geomatics software. In addition to some general discussion on the establishment and maintenance of infrastructure needed to effectively incorporate FOSS4G into the academic environment, I will feature a specific case study. This will illustrate how a intensive team research experience comparing two specific forest mapping projects has evolved into a range of undergraduate and graduate learning opportunities. The use of FOSS4G tools throughout this work has facilitated the exchange of data and algorithms, allowing spin-off projects to develop without the constraints of specific proprietary software. Increasing interest in, and new attitudes towards, FOSS4G alternatives are apparent in the past few years, and there is a growing need for geomatics education to support, and take appropriate leads in, both educating our students and furthering the geographic information science behind the tools.