1904labs, a digital transformation consulting firm, and Bayer Crop Science, a division of German life sciences company Bayer AG, jointly released a new geospatial mapping framework to the open source community. The framework, ol-kit, is a free, easy-to-use, map component toolkit built with React and OpenLayers and is compatible with many popular open source tools in the geospatial community.
Geospatial technology has captured the attention of the public eye in the current crisis with maps being created to track COVID-19 cases, essential supplies, and more. However, many existing mapping frameworks are costly or not robust enough to meet these crucial challenges. While geospatial tools are some of the most expensive and complex software, ol-kit gives anyone these comprehensive capabilities at no cost.
Bayer and 1904labs started working on this mapping framework four years ago. Internally, the ol-kit is a backbone for many of Bayer’s applications for managing fields, research experiments, monitoring yields, and more. These applications gather a huge amount of data. Without the interactive map, driven by ol-kit, it would be impossible to interpret the data.
“This is an important piece of functionality from which small businesses, governments, and community organizations would see tremendous benefit. Contributing to the open source community wasn’t something that our group had done before, but it was well worth the effort, and I can’t wait to see how ol-kit is used.”
- Shaun Diltz, Principal Product Manager at Bayer Crop Science
With open source software, its core code is available for anyone to view, change, or use in their own way free of charge. Typically more cost effective than proprietary software, open source software also benefits from community collaboration to make it better, more secure, and stable.
“It’s great to see a big international enterprise and a small business collaborating to create something really valuable for the larger community - and to make it freely available to them. That’s the power of open source.” - Robin Carnahan, Fellow at Georgetown University, and previous director of the state and local practice at the federal General Services Administration’s tech consultancy team, 18F
As the use of location plays an ever-increasing role in our global economy, open sourcing ol-kit will enable small business and community organizations alike to leverage its geospatial capabilities to study and solve critical challenges that they previously may not have been able to afford to tackle. During the pandemic, smaller municipalities with minimal IT budgets can use ol-kit’s fully customizable toolkit to analyze patterns within their communities to better contain the virus. It can also be applied to provide helpful insights and chart trends in areas like census tracking, election mapping, and combating natural disasters such as wildfires.
About Bayer Crop Science
Bayer is a global enterprise with core competencies in the life science fields of healthcare and nutrition. Its products and services are designed to benefit people by supporting efforts to overcome the major challenges presented by a growing and aging global population. At the same time, the Group aims to increase its earning power and create value through innovation and growth. Bayer is committed to the principles of sustainable development, and the Bayer brand stands for trust, reliability and quality throughout the world. In fiscal 2019, the Group employed around 104,000 people and had sales of 43.5 billion euros. Capital expenditures amounted to 2.9 billion euros, R&D expenses to 5.3 billion euros. For more information, go to www.bayer.com.
You can also see a live demo of ol-kit here.