Monday, January 26, 2009

Great turnout for "open source geospatial for managers" event in Denver

Last Friday I went to a FRUGOS (Front Range Users of Geospatial Open Source) event organized by Brian Timoney in Denver, entitled "FRUGOS for Managers". It ran for a couple of hours on a Friday afternoon, and around 50 people showed up, which I thought was a great turnout. Brian includes a list of organizations who attended in his summary of the event - they included a good assortment of local government organizations in the area. Previous FRUGOS events had been more targeted at techies (like many open source events) - this was the first to consciously target a less technical audience. The turnout, and feedback, certainly suggested that there is a strong demand for this type of event.

The main focus of the event was on a couple of case studies using PostGIS, MapServer and GeoServer. The most interesting presentation for me was from Matt Krusemark of DRCOG, the Denver Regional Council of Governments, which exists to foster regional cooperation between county and municipal governments in the Denver metropolitan area. They have a geospatial group focused on collecting data from member organizations and sharing it, and they will be launching a new web site very soon using PostGIS, GeoServer and OpenLayers with a Google basemap. This is especially notable as they use ESRI software on the desktop, as most US government organizations do. I think this "hybrid" approach of using closed source solutions on the desktop and open source solutions (and/or solutions from Microsoft or Google) for web mapping will become increasingly common. DRCOG also intends to make all this data available to the public for free (gratis). You'll be able to find this via DRCOG's GIS page when it goes live.

Congratulations to Brian on a great event - I look forward to more of these.

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