Safemed GIS, software that is used to offer web-based risk assessment of maritime traffic in the Mediterranean Sea, will shortly be made available as open source software, under the EUPL licence.
Using a web browser, authorised users can track ship movements in the years 2004 -2007 and access a database of accidents that caused or almost caused oil or chemical spill, recorded since 1977. The application is being used by the maritime authorities in most of the countries surrounding the Mediterranean Sea.
"The Safemed system is on-line, and we are not looking for code contributions", warns Albert Bergonzo, involved in the development of the tool. "But ideas and comments are always welcome."
Bergonzo is a project officer at the International Regional Marine Pollution Emergency Centre for the Mediterranean Sea (Rempec), based in Malta. He explains that the Safemed GIS (Geographic Information Systems) application is part of an EU project by the same name on maritime safety and prevention of pollution from ships.
The software was developed by Makina Corpus, a French open source software development company.
Bergonzo says that the major benefit of offering Safemed GIS over the web, is that none of the users needs to do any maintenance. The tool is sufficiently sophisticated that each maritime authority can select their areas of interest and it allows each to carry out their own risk analysis.
The Safemed GIS code will soon be available on the European Commission's Open Source Observatory and Repository project (OSOR). "We expect to upload the code sometime in the next few weeks."
The application is to be published using the European Union Public Licence (EUPL). According to Bergonzo this is one of few open licences that are able to include applications made available exclusively on the web. "To the best of my knowledge, only the Affero GPL and the EUPL, in version 1.1, do so. When comparing the two, I found the Affero GPL rather complicated to understand. The EUPL is quite clear even for a non-lawyer and it is available in all official languages of the EU."
"It also made sense to release the code of the EU-funded GIS under a license approved by the European Commission and hosting it on the OSOR forge was the next logical step."
The Safemed GIS application was made using exclusively open source tools, Bergonzo says. The developers used the Talend Open Studio to extract and translate several datasets. The application was built in Python, using the rapid application development tool Django and map development tool Mapnik. The application runs on the database management system Postgresql, hosted on a server running the Debian GNU/Linux distribution.
The software may be open source, the data however is not. "Data for ship movement is supplied by Lloyd's Marine Intelligence Unit. So, the on-line Safemed GIS application is not open to the general public."
Bergonzo says several other maritime and maritime environmental organisations are interested in using the tool.
Safamed Gis page on Osor (registration required)
Regional Marine Pollution Emergency Centre for the Mediterranean Sea (Rempec)