Open Source GIS and Sustainable Development

Presentation | Presented

  • Gavin Fleming, Mintek

South Africa is classified as a developing country and is committed to the principles of sustainable development. The South African Government has recognised the value of open source for development in its open source policy. This policy states that all new applications developed by or for the South African government will be based on open standards, open source and open content and that all existing software will be migrated to open source where possible. Since GIS plays such an important role in planning, operations, monitoring and other government functions, the future of OS GIS looks good. The adoption of open source can lower administration costs, cut licence costs, increase local IT skill, improve efficiency, save foreign currency, stimulate small and medium enterprise and promote wider access to information and training. If the choice to go open source results in mutually dependent local skills and local solutions that are resilient to global market conditions then surely an important aspect of sustainable development has been achieved. Examples from the health, local government and other sectors in South Africa are discussed to illustrate the emerging OS GIS industry and its role in sustainable development.

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