I have recently been chatting by mail with Bernard Muhwezi who is the Manager of Geo-Information Services at the Uganda Bureau of Statistics. Bernard is attending FOSS4G in Boston this year, he told me about what had happened in his country since he returned from FOSS4G 2013 in Nottingham, (Bernard authorised me to share this mail)
I attended FOSS4G Nottingham, and collected materials and CDs and trained in QGIS, when I came back I trained 54 mapping staff in-house, and we mapped the whole country and digitized the geography to the lowest level of census 2014 enumeration areas with QGIS and have since encouraged my agency to adopt FOSS (see attached). We have had all our staff and the students that have their internship at my division train and utilize FOSS since then.
We are very seriously interested, and even-if we are unable to obtain the funds to participate in such Conferences, tell your colleagues out there that they have been of great contribution to our work here in Uganda at large. While we never easily managed to source and maintain vendor offshelf GIS softwares like ESRI and others, QGIS, SAGA, GRASS, etc have made our work visible and we shall now continue to encourage ourselves forward.
What a great example of how attendance at FOSS4G and the enthusiasm of one user led to the adoption of FOSS at the UBS. This is why all of us who volunteer, who write the software and the docs and work on the outreach programmes and running the events do it. And FOSS4G is the culmination of our year.
I’m looking forward to meeting Bernard and over a thousand other open source geo developers, advocates and users at FOSS4G in Boston in a couple of weeks.
If you would like to help someone like Bernard attend the next FOSS4G then you could do worse than make a donation to the FOSS4G Travel Grant Programme