USING OPEN SOURCE SOFTWARE IN GIS TRAINING AND EDUCATION
GIS theory can be put to its full training potential either by using commercial GIS software or Open Source. As far as Open Source is concerned, there are currently quite a few packages that can provide for and cover all the needs required for training in GIS techniques and technologies. Some of these have been under development and testing for more than fifteen years and are in the position to provide potential customers with high profile, professional productivity solutions and tools.
Viewing GIS software packages under the training and educational aspect one can understand the amounts of money that an institute has to spend from its budget in ordet to provide its students with the latest in GIS tech. This, in addition to subscription fees, initial training etc, is a standard cost when using commercial GIS software. A viable solution is to use Open Source software. It must be pointed out that by the term GIS software, a more general approach is being taken and the term is used to describe spatial DBMSs, data viewers, GIS packages and so on.
It is important to provide students with a full theoretical background about Geographic Information Systems, but it is equally important to give them and a more hands on experience under simulated real world situations in laboratory exercises. Using Open Source software there is the ability not only to train someone on GIS techniques but also show the inner workings of many algorithms used is such software solutions just by explaining the source code of that particular algorithm.
This paper sums up the ongoing efforts to provide students in our department with high end training in GIS using Open Source GIS software like GRASS, QGIS, uDIG, PostgreSQL/PostGIS, MapServer, MapGuide Open Source and others both in the undergraduate and postgraduate programs.
Iraklis Karampourniotis - Aristotle University Thessaloniki
Zoi Arvanitidou - University of the Aegean
Ioannis Paraschakis - Aristotle University Thessaloniki