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Geospatial Solutions: Spatial on a Shoestring--Leveraging Free Open-Source Software

Jun 11, 2002, 03:00 (8 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Jonathan W. Lowe)

"In the spatial industry, however, open-source freeware has a barely measurable market share compared with the proprietary products sold by Autodesk (www.autodesk.com), ESRI (www.esri.com), Intergraph (www.intergraph.com), MapInfo (www.mapinfo.com), and other commercial geospatial vendors. Part of the problem may be that free software sounds too good to be true. Its absence of any price raises the concern that 'you get what you pay for.'

"Unable to find any extra-terrestrial consumer reports that transcended my own narrow cultural biases toward time and money, I decided to test the latest spatial database and Internet map server freeware on my own system, firsthand. In that five-day process, I learned about several strong spatial software alternatives, interviewed their champions about successful applications in the real world, and saw my (cultural?) misconceptions about freeware transformed into respect and admiration..."

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