The Council for Geoscience, South Africa’s parastatal Science Council responsible for geological research and mapping, made tentative enquiries about implementing some Open Source GIS and database solutions early in 2011. Till then, they had made their first foray into the FOSS and Open Standards world by serving the SA 1:million lithology map via a WMS server with MapServer as part of the OneGeology project.

So we were very pleased when the Bellville satellite office, in AfriSpatial’s neck of the woods, enquired about a course for web mapping and enterprise GIS using FOSS. They had data to manage and serve, particularly as part of the South African Geological Hazards Observation System, and did not have access to the expensive proprietary software at head office in Pretoria.

Afrispatial presented an on-site course at the CGS in December 2011 for three days, with five CGS staff and an AfriSpatial intern. We covered Enterprise GIS architecture and system design, spatial databases with PostGIS, web map servers with GeoServer and QGIS Server and web client development with OpenLayers and GeoExt. PostGIS, Geoserver and GeoExt were presented as part of the OpenGeo Suite, for which Afrispatial is the southern African partner. We ran the course on Windows but also installed OSGeo Live Xubuntu on a virtual machine and explored QGIS Server and other software within that environment. We wish the CGS all the best for a Free 2012!

Keep an eye out for upcoming courses on all things FOSS GIS at our FOSS GIS Academy.