Open source : A vista of huge opportunities and challenges
To start a new project there is generally a dilemma as to what should be the development platform. There is always some hesitation to go for the Open source based solutions. Objective of the discussion is to elaborate a few basic facts which are important to understand potential and challenges of The open source provides a huge vista of opportunities for development of GIS or MIS based solution to any problem. based solutions.
The open source provides a huge vista of opportunities for development of GIS or MIS based solution to any problem. Apart from Postgres, which is now being considered a robust RDBM, there have been large number of products for GI, BI or Image processing both for desktop and server based solutions. Some of the popular products are QGIS, GRASS, gvSIG, Geo server, TINA etc. All these products cover a large number of functionalities and are being used extensively in various areas. It is beyond doubt that use of these products, not only provide a no cost solutions as the product can be downloaded freely but also shall help one to provide a quick start to focus on the solution without any delay. To initiate such work, it is, however, important to take a note on the terms and condition of Open source community. No freely downloaded open source product or bundled with solution can be marketed at a cost.
As the project progresses to incorporate new functionalities or new concepts, one feels the need of add-on in any product. It may be noted that these features, though may be available, it may be in discrete format. The IT community has been carrying out extensive development and various codes developed may not be well integrated in a single product. Using such code in conjunction with specific product may not be feasible or shall require efforts to additionally develop a connector. Incorporating such features shall need specific development skills.
One of the major concern comes from the fact that as the development community enjoys complete freedom on development of products and uploading them for public use, it is noted that the practices lack on the front of documentation. Absence of such documentation may be challenging for the users. Keeping in view , no defined market for the development there may be scarcity on the front of availability of required support with specific skillset. Such support may also come at a very high cost with no assurance that the end product shall be in desired shape.
In view of above discussions, it may be seen that open source products may do very well in training set up, processing of assembly line functions or developing solutions around defined features thereby providing huge cutting in the cost. Large projects serving on line requirement need to exercise care in going open source way and hence are recommended to develop their own man power resource pool for successful implementation.