Adventures of a Solo GIS Consultant Using FOSS4G

Status:
Accepted

I started my consulting business because I wanted to work on topics that were important to me, and so that I would have the freedom to use the tools I wanted to use. Adopting FOSS4G has been a big part of my success. Not just because the tools are powerful, and not just because the software is “free as in beer” and “speech”, but also because as an early adopter I’ve had a lot of opportunities. Becoming involved with FOSS4G has given me opportunities to develop new courses, publish books, travel, and meet a great community of like-minded people. My work involves spatial analysis/modelling and cartography with a smattering of web mapping. Topically I focus on environmental conservation and public health. In this talk I will share my experiences in: 1) migrating from proprietary to FOSS4G software, 2) using FOSS4G in the production environment, 3) teaching FOSS4G in the classroom, 4) interacting with the FOSS4G community and 5) spreading the gospel of FOSS4G to the uninitiated. I will cover several examples of using FOSS4G including both successes and challenges.

Slides

Session details
Speaker(s): Session Type: Experience level:
Intermediate
Track: Tags:
Schedule info
Session Time Slot(s):
Thursday, May 5, 2016 - 13:30 to 14:05

Comments

Thank you for submitting a proposal. The bottom paragraph list five things you will cover in this talk. Any one of those might make a 35 minutes session alone. It would be helpful to have more detail about what you will present would assist the Program Committee when making selections, and ensure your proposal gets the consideration it deserves.
Thanks again for submitting a proposal. I'll be automatically notified of updates.

********For reference**********
1) migrating from proprietary to FOSS4G software,
2) using FOSS4G in the production environment,
3) teaching FOSS4G in the classroom,
4) interacting with the FOSS4G community
5) spreading the gospel of FOSS4G to the uninitiated.

Public comment

The talk will focus largely on my ongoing migration to FOSS4G. That is going to be the theme, and I will cover: a) reasons for and benefits of doing so, b) circumstances where migrating to FOSS4G is challenging due to deadlines and technical requirements, c) dealing with years of work done in proprietary software. As I work through these topics, I will necessarily touch on how using FOSS4G in a production environment affects my migration to using FOSS4G tools. I am a GIS consultant working for dozens of clients, often with very tight deadlines and with varying project scopes. FOSS4G provides opportunities, often better end products and also challenges. One of the challenges is getting help (how do I…) and learning new tools on the fly. This is where interacting with the FOSS4G community enters the talk. I will briefly talk about my “go to” help resources and how I troubleshoot when issues arise.

As a GIS consultant I wear many hats. Part of my business is teaching/training people to do GIS with both traditional proprietary tools and FOSS4G. I will briefly touch on this experience. I won’t get into the nitty gritty details of developing curricula, rather I’ll stick to some observations I’ve made by watching students learn GIS and discover FOSS4G. This is where I was thinking of “spreading the gospel of FOSS4G to the uninitiated”. However, this will be a fairly minor point in the talk. I could certainly take the teaching out of the talk if the committee feels it is too much.

In conclusion, this talk will focus on my experiences as a GIS consultant using FOSS4G. For the first 10 years of my career I necessarily used all proprietary tools. Over the last 10 years I have undergone a slow but steady migration to using mostly FOSS4G tools.

Public comment