The upshot is that using proprietary software in international development can create a vicious cycle where public and charitable funds are funneled off to commercial software companies, accelerating their feature development. This entrenches the monopoly of outside experts and expensive tools. Using and supporting FOSS software improves local expertise, provides local employment, and helps local communities maintain independence.
Great article, and spot on. I don’t think it’s specific to ODM. The principles apply to any software. I’m thinking this could also be a mention to QGIS. I’m hopeful donors will start to pay attention at some point.
Yes: I suspect it’s other software he’s referencing, although drone photogrammetry is in the overall mix, and as Piero says, the principles apply.
It will take time to change the industry, but the good news is we see movements like the emergence of new agencies like Digital Impact Alliance, and the formalization of standards around digital aid work, such as the Principles for Digital Development, which include advocacy for open standards, open data, open source, and open innovation.
What has been missing is the description of that entrenchment and monopolization resulting in racist outcomes. Digital Principles advocate for an open direction, but Ivan’s post specifically calls out the economic and structural outcomes that result when proprietary software is favored. Fortunately, it’s pretty hard to ignore Ivan’s voice in this. He’s been in the Humanitarian and Aid sectors for a while now.
Yeah. He invited me to co-lead a drones in humanitarian response workshop for MSF Canada in 2015 and has been an advocate for, critic and user of OpenDroneMap very nearly since day one. Also, he’s a contributor both to docs and: https://github.com/opendronemap/odm360