Abstract

Open source technologies have played a major role in making the lives of developers easier. It has provided them an accessible and active community as well as the freedom to modify, reuse and most importantly understand the underlying concept of the technology rather than just using it as a means to an end. Now in this day and age majority of the real world applications have one or the other aspect which has to use geographic information in one way or another. It can range from just using the data for visualisation to spatial analysis to even having the whole application built around geospatial technology. Organizations with workforce from engineering background are facing challenges in understanding, analyzing and developing solutions in the multi-disciplinary domains which use geospatial technology. FOSS4G software and APIs play a major role in helping these organizations overcome these challenges by enabling their workforce understand the underlying design principles of the tools, explore the APIs to design and develop customized solutions. This paper aims to consolidate the experiences of a training and capacity building programme conducted for non-GIS professional developers to provide them the basic concepts and the necessary knowledge to use Open-source Geospatial technologies. The curriculum was designed such that it emphasised on the adoption of open source philosophy, practices and code development along with including the ethics of open source software development. The programme essentially focused on tackling three main challenges – development of problem solving skills by going back to the basics on how to approach a problem and design a proper workflow to achieve a solution; understanding of what spatial data is and how it is handled by covering basic concepts of GIS; providing insights on the usage of the existing FOSS4G softwares and libraries, developing an understanding of the existing source code and giving the necessary knowledge to modify it as per the need. There were around 25 participants in this programme all of whom were engineering employees of Electronics Corporation of India Limited (ECIL) with a work experience ranging from 5 to 15 years in the field of software development.

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Experiences from training midlevel professionals in Open Source Geospatial Technologies

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