Our GeoCat colleague Maria Arias de Reyna held the opening keynote of the FOSS4G Argentina conference early April. She presented an overview of the free and open source software, open data, open hardware and open networks available under the OSGeo umbrella to show that we can support the full stack of geospatial use cases with open tools.

Maria had been invited to the Free and Open Source Software for GeoSpatial Conference in Argentina (FOSS4G-Ar) as keynote speaker as she has been working with the local community for a long time, helping them getting in touch with international speakers. Being President of the Open Source and Geospatial Foundation (OSGeo), she could also raise awareness of the importance of free and open source software in public administrations.

Overview

In her keynote, Maria showed an overview of all the free and open source software in our geospatial ecosystem and paid attention to how vendor lock-in could prevent small and large organizations from reaching their goals. She illustrated this with an easy to understand use case.

Her keynote was much appreciated. ‘Some of the attendees were not very technical and told me my overview helped them a lot to get the full picture of all features offered,’ Maria explains. ‘Someone working in public administration told me she recognized the problems with restricted licensed software. But here she had, to her surprise, found out that FOSS4G already covered all their use cases.’

FOSS4G for sustainability

Summarizing, the conference showed once again that geospatial free and open source software is an inevitable step for an institution to be sustainable. Maria: ‘It is the only way to make proper audits on the applications they use, at the same time ensuring those applications can be adapted to any of their use cases. Both big and small institutions can benefit from the collective effort of improving the software.’

The programme also showed the results of the efforts of FOSS4G in Argentina to build a good network of female professionals. All keynotes were held by women and also the rest of the schedule contained a high percentage of female speakers. This came naturally after the efforts of previous years to improve inclusivity in the community.

To Maria, visiting conferences is never a trial. ‘I like to visit them. It serves as refresher training, you stay connected to the state of the art of the market and other companies and you always meet interesting people.’ She conducts her OSGeo activities as a volunteer both in her free time and supported by GeoCat when visiting conferences. ‘I find both hats easy to combine as the goals on both positions are similar: make people use, contribute and buy free and open source software.’

Part of our DNA

At GeoCat contributing to free and open source software projects, the OSGeo Foundation and FOSS4G Conferences and Events is part of our DNA. A significant part of our working time and revenue is dedicated to this, helping organisations to optimally benefit from the shared knowledge and investment of others.

Interested in how GeoCat can support your organisation? Contact us at info@geocat.net.

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