The government’s Broadband Map, devised as an aid to broadband demand aggregation, will be one of the first beneficiaries of the government’s new intellectual property policy for software.
Under the policy, government agencies can relinquish all IP claims to software they have commissioned (Computerworld, February 4).
The State Services Commission, which contracted local companies to develop the map, has formally allowed release of the map’s code under an open source licence. This will allow other developers to add new ideas to the map and other users, such as local and perhaps overseas governments and people with other mapping applications to adapt the code to their own uses.
The prototype of the map was developed by ProjectX, but its development is currently in the hands of Silverstripe. Open source release is more likely to bring fresh ideas, says a spokesman; “with closed-source it would stay in one group of people” and their thinking might be unconsciously restricted, he says.
The Broadband Map is a crucial feature of the government’s broadband development push. It allows anyone to put in information towards a visual database of existing broadband links and centres of demand. This helps identify opportunities for new commercial broadband deployments in any part of New Zealand.