Keywords

free software, open source software, geospatial software, geographic information system, environmental modeling and management

Start Date

1-7-2006 12:00 AM

Description

Geospatial software tools (GIS) are used for creating, viewing, managing, analyzing, and utilizing geospatial data. Geospatial data can include socio-economic, environmental, geophysical, and technical data about the Earth and societal infrastructure and it is pivotal in environmental modeling and management (EMM). Desktop, web-based, and embedded geospatial tools and systems have become an essential part of EMM. Environmental simulation models often require pre- or post-processing of geospatial data, or they can be tightly linked to a GIS, using it as a graphical user interface (GUI). Many local, regional, national, and international efforts are underway to create geospatial data infrastructures and tools for viewing and using geospatial data. When environmental attribute data is linked to these infrastructures, powerful tools for environmental management are instantly created. The growing culture of free and open source software (FOSS) provides an alternative approach to software development also in the field of GIS (FOSS4G). For a systematic look at FOSS4G for EMM platforms, software stacks, and EMM workflows need to be analyzed. Platform is a service abstraction on which software stacks are built. A software stack for FOSS4G comprises system software, data processing tools, data serving tools, user interface tools, and end-user applications. Digital map creation, support for numerical modeling, and geospatial information systems are main areas of use for FOSS4G in EMM. The dividing line between FOSS and proprietary software is fuzzy, partly because it is in the interest of developers of proprietary software to make it fuzzy and partly because the end-users are getting reluctant to buy software. In the FOSS world the barriers to interoperability are low and thus the software stack tends to be thicker than in the proprietary platform. The FOSS4G world thrives on the evolution of software stacks and platforms. Our examples show that it is possible to build software stacks from current FOSS4G to support EMM workflows. In the examples we mention for example how a particular funding agency has chosen FOSS4G solutions because of the opportunities to redistribute resulting modeling tools freely to end-users and to support general goals of openness and transparency with respect to modeling tools.

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Jul 1st, 12:00 AM

Free and Open Source Geospatial Tools for Environmental Modeling and Management

Geospatial software tools (GIS) are used for creating, viewing, managing, analyzing, and utilizing geospatial data. Geospatial data can include socio-economic, environmental, geophysical, and technical data about the Earth and societal infrastructure and it is pivotal in environmental modeling and management (EMM). Desktop, web-based, and embedded geospatial tools and systems have become an essential part of EMM. Environmental simulation models often require pre- or post-processing of geospatial data, or they can be tightly linked to a GIS, using it as a graphical user interface (GUI). Many local, regional, national, and international efforts are underway to create geospatial data infrastructures and tools for viewing and using geospatial data. When environmental attribute data is linked to these infrastructures, powerful tools for environmental management are instantly created. The growing culture of free and open source software (FOSS) provides an alternative approach to software development also in the field of GIS (FOSS4G). For a systematic look at FOSS4G for EMM platforms, software stacks, and EMM workflows need to be analyzed. Platform is a service abstraction on which software stacks are built. A software stack for FOSS4G comprises system software, data processing tools, data serving tools, user interface tools, and end-user applications. Digital map creation, support for numerical modeling, and geospatial information systems are main areas of use for FOSS4G in EMM. The dividing line between FOSS and proprietary software is fuzzy, partly because it is in the interest of developers of proprietary software to make it fuzzy and partly because the end-users are getting reluctant to buy software. In the FOSS world the barriers to interoperability are low and thus the software stack tends to be thicker than in the proprietary platform. The FOSS4G world thrives on the evolution of software stacks and platforms. Our examples show that it is possible to build software stacks from current FOSS4G to support EMM workflows. In the examples we mention for example how a particular funding agency has chosen FOSS4G solutions because of the opportunities to redistribute resulting modeling tools freely to end-users and to support general goals of openness and transparency with respect to modeling tools.