The exercise of internationalization and empowerment pursued by the gvSIG Foundation is interesting. There are not many similar experiences, free software never before had the maturity that now, and the scenario of a whole continent that has shared an official language is interesting. Arriving at the business level has had its beginning, reaching the academic level will be a guarantor of sustainability if it is advocated policies that support it.
The Minister of Transport and Public Works of Uruguay, presented last Thursday gvSIG Batoví, the first Uruguayan distribution that gives origin to gvSIG Educa.
gvSIG Educa is a personalization of the free Geographical Information System gvSIG Desktop, adapted as a tool for the education of subjects with a geographical component. gvSIG Educa aims to serve as a tool for educators to facilitate students' analysis and understanding of the territory, with the possibility of adapting to different levels or educational systems. gvSIG Educa facilitates learning by the interactivity of students with information, adding the spatial component to the study of subjects, and facilitating the assimilation of concepts through visual tools such as thematic maps that help to understand spatial relationships.
gvSIG Batoví is, in this way, the start-up of a free software that is probably adapted and used in a large number of countries. gvSIG Batoví is a software promoted by the National Directorate of Topography for the Ceibal Plan, by which the students of Primary and Secondary will have access to a large amount of information of didactic nature and represented by maps.
"Since the implementation of the Ceibal Plan, the government seeks to encourage policies that favor the development and benefit of the education of children, our future and present in the country," said Pintado, noting that due to its geographical characteristics our country can not produce goods to Large scale, "but we can generate unlimited knowledge of any kind."
During the presentation of this new tool, ceremony attended by the Undersecretary of the portfolio, Mr. Pablo Genta, the National Director of Surveying, Mr. Jorge Franco and the Dean of the Faculty of Engineering, Eng. Hector Cancela, the Minister He pointed out that beyond these productive limitations, "we Uruguayans can be distinguished by intelligence, by the ability to innovate and investigate, and link those knowledge to development." "And for this, this new software called" gvSIG Batoví "will be fundamental since it allows access to a vast universe of knowledge," he said.
The program "gvSIG Batoví", product of the joint work of the National Directorate of Topography, the Faculty of Engineering and the gvSIG Association, will enable students to acquire knowledge of Geography through the use of the XO - low cost portable computer - , also extendable to other areas of knowledge, such as History, Biology, among others.
The most interesting is the possibility that gives the teacher and / or student to develop their own thematic map from the different layers of information that has the territory. The aim is to encourage learning by discovery, making cartographic work a formative knowledge.
With "gvSIG Batoví" we present a first set of previously developed thematic maps of the Uruguayan territory, such as political and physical maps, population distribution, transport and communication infrastructure and land cover. The ease of access to these thematic maps -as installable plugins from the application itself- will allow the easy sharing of cartography between teachers and students of the entire community of users of this software.
Beyond the educational environment, professional users of gvSIG technology will be able to access plug-ins to these new mapping and mapping functionalities, making it a new, extremely simple way of sharing territorial information.
Project URL: http://www.gvsig.org/web/home/projects/gvsig-educa
It seems an important step, although we took the news to lay some of our impressions.
The challenge of the gvSIG Foundation is the sale of a new model, not a software. Personally, it is what impressed me most and I applaud. The technical is sold very easily and gvSIG in this sense has achieved a lot although it has also cost a lot of money, a subject that many question but that is justified that there are no free things in this life. Selling a new model requires a strategy of social, political and economic intervention at different levels. This also requires a lot of money and the results are not immediate as evidence of technical work. There my first warning, because if the technical evidence is questioned, let's not say the evidence of the model that will walk with more disparity and with this crisis any excuse is valid to cut subsidies.
Latin America is a continent with different levels of maturity in political stability, in the administrative career, in planning and linking the academic with the political and economic. In this regard, a level of incidence must be worked on so that technical efforts are linked to public policies that guarantee compliance in the medium term. Task not easy if we compare the diversity of progress from Mexico to Patagonia. Systematizing it will be the best that can be done.
So, to include geography with computer tools in an educational field, we find it interesting at the level of primary intervention, which is almost preventive. The Plan Ceibal is a very well planted initiative, but it must be sure to support its institutionalization or that it be seen as a project of "some who passed through here". The level of secondary intervention will be a good challenge, where the way of thinking of those who make decisions must be changed and much more at the tertiary level where what remains is to make palliative efforts against irreversible ills in practice.
My suggestion is almost the same. Beware of being too "Taliban". In this world, extreme exercises are difficult to sustain despite being effective. The ecosystems of current technologies must be supported in coexistence of both private initiatives and Open Source. In the first moment that the economic sectors that dominate many Latin American countries feel assaulted by a model, they close the doors even if they have to take a coup or renounce international cooperation. And then, what is systematized, what is linked through public policies will be the users who defend what they understood about the model.
In good time with gvSIG Batoví