Despiceble ESRI’s competition

Posted: February 16, 2011 in Anticapitalism, GIS
Tags: , , ,

There a lot of contemptible actions around environmental issues. Infamous permission for pollution of the Baikal lake sighed by Putin is an example. But what is your opinion on this “International Conservation Mapping Competition” organised by ESRI and the Society for Conservation GIS? They offer some money really miserable amount of money for NGO in several nominations:

$5,000 — Grand Prize
$1,000 — Best Cartography
$1,000 — Best Web Map
$1,000 — Best Use of Science
$1,000 — Best Societal Impact
$1,000 — Best Innovative Map

The main condition is: “Entries must be created using Esri GIS as a primary tool”. Go ahead and ask for a prising list: there is no way you will pay less than $1,000 for the cheapest license.

Prizes of this competition do not worth a try until you already purchased a license for ESRI’s software. And if some NGO purchased software from ESRI, than this NGO doesn’t worth support of community, because there are plenty of free and open-source GIS software, which is even better than ESRI’s, ESTI’s, Intergraph’s, etc. The money that NGO would spend for proprietary GIS software would find better implementation in hands of professionals who will get the job done with free and open-source GIS software! It is even cost-effective to pay for job, not for the software!

There is a trust. A trust of volunteers or sympathizer in particular NGO. Would someone donate money to NGO who spend it ineffectively? I don’t even need to search for example. I was used to donate to the Russian department of WWF. But one day I received a call from WWF and had a conversation with a young man on a subject of WWF’s activity and (the main point of the conversation) the possibility of donating more… I was disappointed. The money I gave them were used to pay for the phone bills to talk to me about the money instead of being used for nature protection. Since that conversation I do not donate WWF – they’ve lost my trust. It is clear that a professional (who contribute to NGO’s activity) would use an open-source GIS software, not proprietary, so NGOs which finds it acceptable to pay for proprietary GIS software do not have professionals, which means they don’t worth trust.

So the point of so called ESRI’s competition (or grants for NGOs for ESRI’s licenses) is a sales promotion and nothing else. But the sale promotion, which might be acceptable in general, is discussing when NGOs are involved. Shame on ESRI, shame on Society for Conservation GIS! If they would want to help NGOs – prizes would be at least 10 times higher and money would be granted despite software used.

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