Geographic information system (GIS) implementations have a tendency to fail in developing countries. This thesis seeks to explore whether a web based free/open source software (FOSS) development approach can improve chances for sustainable and successful implementations.
To be able to conclude in this matter I have spent 15 months exploring GIS implementations in developing countries such as Sierra Leone and India, as well as reviewing existing GIS software in the market. In this thesis I identify reasons for why most GIS implementations in developing countries fail, what limitations are present and how FOSS can deal with the technical, economical and practical aspects of them. I also show that FOSS has become sufficiently mature and capable to build rich GIS applications in general. On the technical level I document a personally developed solution that solves a major issue regarding map data for most developing countries. Additionally, I show how technical restrictions to web based GIS can be worked around.
During this process I have utilized FOSS frameworks and tools to develop a GIS application for developing countries. This application is integrated into the District Health Information Software (DHIS), a flexible open source health information system that has gained a strong foothold in developing countries over the last years. In order to succeed I have utilized the technical skills and experience I have acquired through professional training by the founders of the software combined with knowledge from the literature and the developing country field study presented in this thesis.