Foss4g NL: the example of FOSS4G in educational planning - Amélie A Gagnon

Tags: foss4g

(One of my summaries of a talk at the 2021 FOSS4G NL one-day conference).

Amélie works at the UNESCO International Institute for Educational Planning. They explicitly use open source geo. The official title of her presentation: Trust and transparency to address global challenges.

Educational planning? Planning schools, determining how many teachers you need, etc. So education management and policy on various levels. All within the Unesco organisation. There is a lot you can do nowadays with GIS. Nice maps of travel times to school. Distribution of children of school-going age.

A big challenge was how to train people to use all these possibilities. Buying some commercial package and training one person at an education ministry doesn’t cut it. The person might leave in a few years. A better way is to use open source software and open data. You can train more and everyone can train and introduce their colleages.

Self-help, mutual help, going open: it means taking risks. Letting go. Losing a bit of control. Taking yourself out of the normal relationships you have. Foss4g in a sense is an act of bravery as it puts them outside the way everything works normally.

As government, you need transparency, as you need trust. Will people trust your reports? Trust your data? If you can show in detail how you got the data or what your conclusions are based on: that helps in gaining trust.

Really going open means more than just installing qgis. It also means requiring open access literature so that people can also read the research you base your data on, for instance.

 
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My name is Reinout van Rees and I work a lot with Python (programming language) and Django (website framework). I live in The Netherlands and I'm happily married to Annie van Rees-Kooiman.

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