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ISPRS Int. J. Geo-Inf. 2015, 4(2), 942-956; doi:10.3390/ijgi4020942

Integrating Free and Open Source Solutions into Geospatial Science Education

1
Department of Marine, Earth, and Atmospheric Sciences, North Carolina State University, 2800 Faucette Drive, Raleigh, NC 27695, USA
2
Center for Geospatial Analytics, North Carolina State University, 2800 Faucette Drive, Raleigh, NC 27695, USA
3
Department of Landscape Architecture, North Carolina State University, 50 Pullen Road, Raleigh, NC 27695, USA
4
Department of Forestry and Environmental Resources, North Carolina State University, 2800 Faucette Drive, Raleigh, NC 27695, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Barend Kobben, Serena Coetzee and Wolfgang Kainz
Received: 12 February 2015 / Accepted: 21 May 2015 / Published: 1 June 2015
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Open Geospatial Science and Applications)
View Full-Text   |   Download PDF [3201 KB, uploaded 1 June 2015]   |  

Abstract

While free and open source software becomes increasingly important in geospatial research and industry, open science perspectives are generally less reflected in universities’ educational programs. We present an example of how free and open source software can be incorporated into geospatial education to promote open and reproducible science. Since 2008 graduate students at North Carolina State University have the opportunity to take a course on geospatial modeling and analysis that is taught with both proprietary and free and open source software. In this course, students perform geospatial tasks simultaneously in the proprietary package ArcGIS and the free and open source package GRASS GIS. By ensuring that students learn to distinguish between geospatial concepts and software specifics, students become more flexible and stronger spatial thinkers when choosing solutions for their independent work in the future. We also discuss ways to continually update and improve our publicly available teaching materials for reuse by teachers, self-learners and other members of the GIS community. Only when free and open source software is fully integrated into geospatial education, we will be able to encourage a culture of openness and, thus, enable greater reproducibility in research and development applications. View Full-Text
Keywords: online course; GRASS GIS; ArcGIS; FOSS; geospatial modeling; visualization online course; GRASS GIS; ArcGIS; FOSS; geospatial modeling; visualization
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Petras, V.; Petrasova, A.; Harmon, B.; Meentemeyer, R.K.; Mitasova, H. Integrating Free and Open Source Solutions into Geospatial Science Education. ISPRS Int. J. Geo-Inf. 2015, 4, 942-956.

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