For decades, desktop GIS solutions have been the tool of choice for creators and analysts of geospatial information—to the point that much of the industry accepts that the desktop paradigm is the only way of doing things. Those who’ve seen Paul Ramsey’s spatial IT talk know that we believe this traditional GIS concept is limited and there are many people doing innovative work are not using desktop tools. This is one of many examples of the web encouraging collaboration and sharing in every aspect of our lives.
But what about the content creators, demographers, or landscape planners? What about the geospatial professionals that really do need a powerful tool for accessing local data that is too cumbersome for the web or for running processing models to analyze data specific to their field of study? We’re happy to announce that we’re investing in the QGIS community to help make this amazing open source project even more successful.
QGIS is the most widely available open source GIS tool with a proven track record and a vibrant community and plugin ecosystem. It’s nothing short of amazing how this community has achieved feature parity, stability, and ease of use relative to proprietary desktop solutions. It offers a truly open alternative that lowers barriers to entry and total cost of ownership, has no license fees, and runs on the operating system of your choice. Not only are we impressed, but we feel it fits perfectly with our mission of extending geospatial open source software to every corner of the world.
We want QGIS to be a powerful desktop front-end for the technologies that we are developing at OpenGeo. The upcoming QGIS 2.0 release marks a great milestone that we believe is the perfect moment to join the community. What can users of QGIS and the OpenGeo Suite expect in the next few months? Here are some of the things we are already working on:
We want to help make QGIS easier to learn and use and will dedicate resources to enhancing existing documentation, tutorials, and examples. Our goal is to help have even more people using QGIS by making it easier for everyone to learn about its many great capabilities.
We will enhance the integration story between QGIS and the OpenGeo Suite and provide services such as maintenance, technical support, training, etc. QGIS will become an important piece of the OpenGeo Suite and give users that are familiar with desktop applications an easy and powerful way of configuring Suite components. By doing so, we hope to have the best of both worlds, web and desktop, in one solution. Users of the Suite will now have a complete solution for creating, analyzing, publishing and consuming geospatial data and services without needing a single piece of proprietary software.
We’re helping transform the way users collaborate and share their geospatial data with GeoGit, a scalable distributed versioning system for geospatial information. Integrating QGIS into these workflows is a natural step in this process. Desktop users will be able to work on geospatial data in distributed or partially disconnected environments without having to interface with an expensive proprietary centralized server that could become a bottleneck, or worse, a single point of failure. The integrated GeoGit client in QGIS will not only enable users to manage their repositories and histories, but also extend their possibilities and fully integrate that into the QGIS context—making GeoGit another data source within QGIS, just like other databases or OGC services.
All these enhancements will not only be made available as open source software, but also developed in the open. So join us in helping continue to make QGIS even better and let us know what you think!