Apr 07 2005

Why Guernsey GIS Should Be Open Source

Published by at 3:20 pm under Current Affairs

This is an old article and the information contained within it may be out of date, not reflect my current views and/or contain broken links. If you feel this article is still valid and requires updating, you can use the contact form to let me know. However, I make no guarantee that it will get updated.

Having just read an article in the Guardian about community mapping projects I started thinking about what a great idea it would be to get together with my friends and start mapping Guernsey and creating an open GeoServer for anyone to be able to view the data.

There is already a very detailed GIS map of Guernsey, however, the data is held by a private company and anyone that wishes to use the data must pay £1,095 for the ArcView software plus a further £3,200 per year for the basic data. How many people are there out there that are willing to pay that much? Obviously the digital versions of the Guernsey GIS map are only going to of interest to commercial companies.

Wouldn’t it be great though to be able to use your computer/mobile phone to see where the nearest bus or taxi is to you? Wouldn’t it be great to have a monitor in the buses so that visitors to the island can see where they are and what tourist attractions are near by? What about planning the best route for a pub crawl on bikes?

These are the sorts of things that the Digimap company is not likely to be doing but which local open source programmers might be intrested in doing but are restricted from doing because the information is private owned.

And so I come to my point. Guernsey could lead the way in mapping technology if only it would make its GIS data freely available. The Digimap company could still make its money by providing support services (yes this is possible, take MySQL or Zend as an example)

So whats the chances of this happening? About as likely as the St Sampsons Marina being finished on time… and thats already two years behind schedule!!!

No responses yet