Free and Open Source Software for Geomatics Conference FOSS4G 2010 Barcelona

Selected Presentations

Home > Presentations > Abstract details




This presentation will outline the reasons why schools should use Free GIS Software and how Education is now a priority for the Portuguese OSGeo community.

All the reasons why computer users should use free software can also apply to schools:
-it gives schools the freedom to copy and redistribute software, which saves schools money and helps narrow the digital divide.
-it enables students to better understand how software works, by reading and modifying the source code of the programs used in classes.
-it encourages students to use such software after graduation.

But the main reason is linked to moral issues. Teaching students to participate in free software communities is a hands-on lesson in citizenship which promotes and builds on the notion of a strong, capable, independent, cooperating and free society.

This vision inspired an initiative by a Portuguese community, aimed at supporting and encouraging different target groups in schools - School administrations, Educational coordinators, Teachers and Pupils - to adopt Free GIS Software.

The initiative began at the 2009 OSGeo Portuguese Local Chapter event, SASIG II, where the creation of a Workgroup dedicated to Education was proposed.

The Workgroup has rapidly established itself in the Portuguese GIS community by using the OSGeo WIKI page, Mailling List, and IRC channels.

The first task was to create a list of Portuguese case studies in all kinds of teaching institutions where Free GIS Software has been used for teaching. Teachers were invited to promote their experiences on a wiki page list.

The workgroup also implemented a Moodle platform to stimulate the production/sharing of course material.

The workgroup's first public appearance was at the University of Coimbra (24th February), during a GISVM presentation, where members simulated the use of Free GIS Software during a class.


Ricardo Pinho - CM Oliveira de Azeméis


Download the slides in PDF version