FOSS4G: FOSS Experiences in Transportation and Land Use Research


Andrew Owen will represent the Nexus group at the FOSS4G (Free and Open Source Software
for Geospatial – North America 2013) conference happening in Minneapolis, May 22-24.

FOSS Experiences in Transportation and Land Use Research
Andrew Owen, University of Minnesota ­­ Nexus Research Group

The Nexus Research Group at the University of Minnesota focuses on understanding the intersections of transportation and land use. In this presentation, we will examine case studies of how open ­source geospatial software has fit into specific research projects. We will discuss why and how open­ source software was chosen, how it strengthened our research, what areas we see as most important for development, and offer suggestions for increasing the use of open­ source geospatial software in transportation and land use research. Over the past two years, we have begun incorporating open­ source geospatial data and analysis tools into a research workflow that had been dominated by commercial packages. Most significantly, we implemented an instance of OpenTripPlanner Analyst for calculation of transit travel time matrices, and deployed QGIS and PostGIS for data manipulation and analysis. The project achieved a completely open research workflow, though this brought both benefits and challenges. Strengths of open ­source software in this research context include cutting ­edge transit analysis tools, efficient parallel processing of large data sets, and default creation of open data formats. We hope that our experience will encourage research users to adopt open­ source geospatial research tools, and inspire developers to target enhancements that can specifically benefit research users.