Thursday, June 23, 2016

MAY THE FOSS BE WITH YOU!


I would like to thank OSGeo:UK and the Association for Geographic Information (AGI) for planning the Free Open Source Software (FOSS) UK event and subsidising the student tickets. It gave me the amazing opportunity to volunteer at such an important event, by helping speakers from local councils, consulting companies, developers and more.

The feeling from FOSS4G UK is that open source is on a healthy orientation, with various organisation, enterprises and individuals improving open source software such as QGIS that are becoming ever more favoured against proprietary software. Local councils are moving from proprietary to open software in an attempt to not only save money, but use the software that best suits their needs, at full capacity. It was pleasing to see the seriousness of which the Government Digital Strategy 2016 was discussed and the examination of how the word 'open' was, AGAIN not frequently used in the document. New technology is more often than not, built on open data, therefore the opening of data by local councils and government will only aid economic development. Moreover, the utilisation of the data is as important as the need for publication of open data. It was pleasing to see how the Scottish government is working towards a collective approach to provide Local Authorities and National Parks with easily accessible data across 12 databases. This will help the future collection of data and Local Authorities will receive feedback and support on data improvement. The next step naturally, will be the opening of this data once it is available within agencies as part of the Scottish Government I recommend looking over the abstracts page from FOSS4G to find out about all the speakers and the industries.


It was good to see familiar faces from the Esri UK conference and meet Ordnance Survey employees, hoping it will not be too long until  I am back at the Ordnance Survey HQ in Southampton. I enjoyed the variety in the work of each speaker, introducing me to various applications, plugins and ongoing projects that I have not come across previously. Most importantly, it was the similarity between each speaker using their passion and interests to find answers for problems using open source data and GIS. This has motivated me to start a project using open data which I will document on the blog at every stage. Happy learning!

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