gvSIG as an alternative for municipalities

clip_image001This week I’ll have a meeting with project’s technicians which are considering gvSIG as an alternative to be implemented in municipalities where they’re running a territorial ordering project that comprises part of Central America.

In Latin America we hear different experiences about gvSIG’s use; in this case I want to mention one of them occurred in Guatemala, possibly the first in its kind in the Central American region.

The experiences’ systematization should be one of the best ways that gvSIG can take advantage to disseminate and promote this tool because not for being free, any municipality will take it. There is a cost not only in implementation but in its sustainability caused by many weaknesses in the Latin American context, which varies by country but generally ranges between municipalities’ economic constraints and human resource instability by the poor implementation of policies for the promotion of public careers. It seems that international cooperation can play an important role in this, that’s what was said in that document, which now seems to be unavailable.

Perhaps the most valuable thing of this experience, in Sacatepequez, is the creation of instruments that can be useful either for replication or for its improvement. There’s posted on the gvSIG site an old document but even valid in its positions, a presentation by Rodrigo Fabián Camargo in the 3rd. GvSIG Conference in November 2007, which reflects the results of this project in Guatemala.

In addition to this experience, Camargo returned to the community a very suitable presentation to teach a gvSIG course, which may be a good complement to the manual when you teach a course, I’ve used it. There are also included the necessary maps and data so as to conduct practice exercises.


This project was supported by the Andalusian Fund of Municipalities for International Solidarity with the Municipalities Association of Sacatepequez, Guatemala. Surely it was useful, and probably contemporary with what was done by Moises Poyatos, in about 100 municipalities in Guatemala in the Democratic Municipalities project, a topic which I hope to talk about another time.

The systematization of processes or experiences is the method that can prolong the life of the well done efforts, the summary of the methodology used that is shown, it’s much elaborated (Spanish idiom: “sesudo”); although it must have been a complicated work because of what it was gvSIG 1.1 to now many things have been integrated. To give an example, to customize the Reference System, it is possible to be done from the 1.3 version and the Guatemala’s case has its own SRS, although with the 1.9 version there is somebody still thinking a lot (Spanish Idiom:“romperse el coco”) in the lists because apparently the reprojection data in views is not consistent

The implementation of free software in public management in developing countries constitutes an operational and economic alternative.

It enables the decrease of the “technology gap “, which along with other factors affect development.

Fabián Camargo –GIS Consultant

I summarize the conclusions, which I think are correct and valid today … and who know if they will be in several years.

  • The GIS Implementation in developing countries is an own must and a steady demand for international cooperation agencies to get development.
  • The GIS existence in municipalities attracts researchers and offers advantages to the private companies which execute public works.
  • Training is essential before and during the implementation of GIS projects
  • Free software saves the financial limitation on the licenses acquisition
  • The user communities, mailing lists, etc. represent the support that organizations seek when deploying Free Software
  • Although the GIS solutions in these countries are recent, it must be considered the approach of spatial data infrastructures (SDI) since its inception
  • The data existence in other formats is valuable; although poor in cartographic quality is very rich in reference information.

The conferences that will be held this year, in September, in Argentina are the answer of Latin America’s outcomes, complemented by efforts like the Venezuelan; but possibly one of the suggestions of this year’s event will be the creation of meetings in other continent’s environments, where there are already other seeds previously left by others. And although there have been days (formal or informal) it would not be so bad to make a conference in Guatemala with a scope that includes Central America, Caribbean and Mexico in 2010

There, I’ll be telling you these guys’ effort because I know much of their dedication and ability and I know that they can do a great role with gvSIG. Here you can download Camargo’s presentation.

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