Esri’s commitment to Open: Open Data, Interoperability, … Open Source?!

Open source has gone from strength to strength in the last few years with the giants of the tech industry – Google, Facebook and others putting their code out for the entire world to use. Even Microsoft is using Linux to run some of its applications and operations.

Screen Shot 2015-10-22 at 23.10.17In the geo-world, Mapbox, CartoDB and other start-ups have invested heavily on Open Source with great results so far. Esri – the Microsoft of the GIS industry with its strong enterprise market is also the de-facto GIS software at universities, seems to be slowly warming up to the idea of Open Source as well. They have a new landing page titled Open “esri/open“.

Interestingly, while the page seems to focus a lot on the company’s vision for interoperability and open standard, there is no separate tab for Open Source. Although, if one does navigate to the Get Involved page, there is more information regarding the GitHub page and other ideas.

Considering that Esri has started embracing (and using) Open Source libraries like Leaflet for their products, its interesting that the word on Open Source is still a bit muted. One no expects Esri or any other tech giant to open source their entire repository but sooner or later, the “Larry Ellison effect” as Wired likes to put it might just make it necessary for accelerated innovation and as we have seen with the Cloud computing industry, Open Source seems to be the best way forward for that.

Nevertheless, its important to acknowledge that the most famous GIS company in the world is starting to take strides in their Open policy. Only time will tell what else is in the works!

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