Making Use of Open Source Geo-spatial software for supporting community based projects

Presentation | Presented

  • Scott Emmons, University of Northern British Columbia
  • Alim Karim, GeoBorealis

DataShare ( was initiated in the GIS lab at the University of Northern
British Columbia to help establish northern community based spatially enabled data nodes that
encourage the sharing of; information, data ethics, governance and interaction strategies and
technological developments. This manner of thinking has natural linkages with the Open Source
community. With this in mind, all the products that have been created for use by community
groups have been created using Open Source applications and libraries such as; GDAL/OGR,
MapServer/PHPMapscript and PostGIS.

This presentation provides examples of how users ranging industry (i.e. large forest companies),
different levels of government, not profit societies and First Nations can come together to create
and maintain partnerships through setting up these local spatial enterprises. By describing some
of theses partnerships, we hope to illustrate that by keeping data as close to the proponent as
possible as well as reusing knowledge (including software developments), a sustainable system
of relationships can be assembled to empower these community projects.

The knowledge we have attained through the use and development of Open Source software in
combination with geo-spatial standards, has provided materials for teaching content in the GIS
Lab at UNBC (as well as contributing greatly to the mentoring methods of education we
employ). The software we have used and created at DataShare will be reviewed in hopes to
encourage discussion in relationship to other Open Source developers experiences and goals.

Supporting Files