FalconView - Moving from DoD to Open Source

Session Type: 
Tech Session
Mr Chris Bailey, Georgia Tech
Mr Carl Cox

FalconView is a Windows based Mapping/GIS application.  It has been widely used throughout the US Department of Defense and allied countries for over 16 years and has over 55,00 users in over 15 countries.  In 2009, We were asked by the US government if we would consider releasing the software as Free and Open Source Software.  We were intrigued by the idea but were unsure of the obstacles which we would need to overcome in order to move away from our closed source development model.   The problems would be compounded because the software contained components which were controlled by International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) as well as DoD owned components.

With the help of the Government we were able to receive export approval to release almost all of FalconView as Open Source. Along the way we discovered many benefits and  "discovered" the thriving community of FOSS4G.  We have incorporated several open source libraries including GDAL/OGR, LibKML and PostGIS and have begun re-architecting much of our Data Architecture to embrace OGC standards.

This paper will outline the process we went through to convince our sponsors that an Open Source Model could fit within the DoD's requirements for development and release of software, as well as the steps we took to receiving a Commodity Jurisdiction approval for release of the software.  We will also describe the architectural changes we made to align ourselves with OGC standards and the Open Source libraries which helped us implement the changes.

Speaker Bio: 

Chris Bailey is a Principal Research Engineer with the Georgia Tech Research Institute. He Has been the Project Director for FalconView since 2000. Prior to joining Georgia Tech he Was Director of Software at Fire Arms Training System and hardware developer at IBM.

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