GIS Development, India
email: [email protected]
Ayon Tarafdar Year 2002 was exciting and eventful. The launch of GISBid.com and Instant GPS from Motorola marks new milestones for the Geo-informatics community. The Linux wave caught the attention of leading GIS vendors. Almost all the major players had some products to offer in GIS and Remote Sensing.
Where the ‘usage’ of any technology becomes equally important to its ‘effectuality’, there occurs a massive surge of relevant innovations. When the development stride of technology delves on the ‘effects of its utilization’ but also laying stress on its ‘recognition and mass usage’, techniques and tools become more relevant for the society. This shapes the way we perceive technologies and the society embracing it. Year 2002 was one such eventful year for geo-informatics.
The IDC (International Data Centre) report of the year laid down some pointer prerogatives in the geomatics world. The highlight on the geographic and spatial aspects of business management and planning formed the path to various critical areas of application that were uninhabited in the past. The emphasis on the next phase for Web services that is delivering ‘software’ as ‘services’ is at least a decade away.
Despite these challenges, the concept of Web services provides a compelling way for IT to become much more responsive and adaptable to changing business requirements. Presenting realistic expectations for Web services is one of the primary goals that must be achieved before widespread adoption and resultant profits can be made.
It is indeed noteworthy that at the most recent Open GIS Consortium, Inc. (OGC) Technical and Planning Committee meeting, it voted to release the proposed Web Coverage Service (WCS) Implementation Specification, for public comment. Vendors in geomatics arena have come up with software that support OGC platforms. Intergraph, MapInfo, Microimages, Cubewerks and others are coming up with products that support the specifications of OGC. Standardisation of component specification will lead to more sophisticated and better delivery of product.
The Linux wave, which was more or less limited to ‘specific interest groups’ sharing resource files and complementing each other to improve on of the heaviest open source software GIS Grass, caught with the imagination of the entire GIS community. Release 5.0 of Grass was made available to the public in 2002. GRASS GIS (Geographic Resources Analysis Support System), which is an open source, free GIS software. Vendors started looking into Linux with more seriousness than ever before.
ESRI’s ArcIMS 4, ArcSDE 8.2, MapObjects–Java Standard Edition, and ArcExplorer 4 software has all been supported on Linux in year 2002 in a robust form. The TNT products are now also available for Linux/Unix. Year 2002 also saw the development of the first Linux based open-source GIS, ‘GramChitra’, which can be run on a PDA. This evolved through a research collaboration between the Centre for Spatial Database Management and Solutions (CSDMS) and Media Lab Asia of MIT, Boston, in a common search for developing rurally relevant information and communication technology.
A report on Free and Open-Source Software (FOSS) highlighted the growing use of free and open source software by the military people according to a recent study conducted by Mitre Corporation. The report, titled “Use of FOSS in the U.S. Department of Defense,” was released last month to the Defense Information Systems Agency.