UN Open GIS Initiative, established in March 2016, is to identify and develop an Open Source GIS bundle that meets the requirements of UN operations, taking full advantage of the expertise of contributing partners (Member States, international organizations, academia, NGO’s and private sector).
Geospatial Information Systems (GIS) has been played a substantial role in providing timely and effective geospatial information products (maps and dynamic tools) to ensure the United Nations operations are equipped with suitable information to support the UN mandates through informed planning and decision-making processes. The UN has been using proprietary GIS software for the past two decades. The rapid growth and development of open-source GIS solutions present the technological potential, operational flexibility and financial benefits as well as easy to access for UN operational partners and host nations.
In view of complexity and variety of UN operational demands and the outcome and lessons learned from the UN Open GIS Initiative, it is identified to develop a hybrid GIS platform that the users should be able to access the most suitable solutions to fulfil the operational demands in flexible and cost effective manner whether the solutions are open source or proprietary, combination of both and/or complement each other. The hybrid model lets coexist two software stacks, one open source based, the other proprietary, which renders different services to end users and applications.
Significant progress has been made so far in developing open source-based GIS solutions such as Hybrid Geospatial Database, GeoPortal, Analytical models/ applications, Data collection and Optimized/innovated applications for harmonizing open source technology with proprietary as well as open GIS trainings to the UN staff for smooth transition from proprietary to hybrid GIS platform technology.
In particular, it will provide an overall update on what has been achieved by the UN Open GIS Initiative during the past year, such as hybrid GIS architecture, mobile GIS solution, story map project, field application of OpenDroneMap and UN Vector Tile toolkit as well as the capacity building activities.