The Right Approach: How Toscana Is Migrating To GFOSS

Paolo Cavallini (QGIS team, Faunalia)

14:00 on Friday 20th September (in Session 39, starting at 1:30 p.m., EMCC: Room 3)

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Description: The Tuscany Regional Administration is migrating its GIS infrastructure to open source software. In doing so, it took the right approach; working with the community, and contributing back substantial amounts of code, especially to the PostGIS and QGIS projects.

The Tuscany Regional Administration had a rather usual proprietary GIS infrastructure (ArcIMS, Oracle, ArcGIS). They started migrating to Open Source GIS with an integrated approach, both on the sever side (PostGIS, MapServer, Geonetworks) and on the client side (Quantum GIS, GRASS), providing also training to hundreds of their technicians. What makes this experience particularly interesting is the fact that they worked form the onset in very close contact with the community, requiring that the code developed for them was generalized, and pushed to main source code. This seemed more cumbersome at first, having to coordinate with several other developers, and not having functions closely fit to their specific needs, but the superiority of this approach become quickly evident, as several functions were further improved and maintained by third parties. Among the most notable achievements were much improved topology support in PostGIS, SLD support in QGIS, and much more. We advise other administrations and enterprises to avoid the temptation of working in isolation, and simply using FOSS4G, maybe tailoring it locally, without contributing back, as this approach is short-lived, and less successful in the long term.