The South Korean government made the world sit up and take notice when they brought in the world's
largest scale Linux servers to construct its National Education Information
System (NEIS); now, it is making headlines again with another open
source based system project.
Recently, the Korean administration began overhauling its national mapping system. Its largest scale open source mapping
system project GIS (Geographic Information System), will meet international
standards on the use of digital street maps and addresses.
An internationally accepted 'street name and address system'
address system uses a land based numbering system. In other words, it combines the
land lot number with one's address. Because of the inferior and outdated system,
it is adding to the traffic congestion problem and incurring extra expenses.
These situations led the Korean government to focus on upgrading its national map and
address system to a new one that can meet those available globally.
Korean Ministry of Government Administration and Home Affairs has formed a
team that assigns street names and building numbers and it is in the process of updating
the database (until Nov. 2006). The database is expected to be ready by year 2007.
The initial phase of the project includes the establishment of a centralized center, current
situation analysis, the DB standardization process and the final creation of the
="">This year alone, the project will cost US$37.4 million, with US$45.5 million in 2007, US$29 million in 2008 and
another US$27 million in 2009.
Why open source for building unified
The project is open source based. Troupe leader Doo-soo Kim said:
"When we brought in the unified system in February of 2006, we considered for a
system that will not depend on any particular vendor(s) and same time that can
fulfill both TCO and DB needs. So we went with the open source based
Moreover, to execute this project, the project team reviewed all
the avenue of earlier cases in domestic and abroad. According to
findings of the U.S. CSIS (Center for Strategic & International Studies) in
September 2004, over 45 countries were considering running public programs using
open source software. The rationale for using open source
software were cost-cutting and promoting the software industry in those countries.
Governments in Europe and also in China brought in Linux systems for part of their railroad system, and
Brazil is also working on open source promotion projects. UN also formed an
'open source promotion team' to adapt to an open source environment.
In India, where open source is popular, its use is also heating up its domestic industry with over 40
percent of 340 companies using Linux based open source servers, according to June
2005 market survey. In Nov. 2005, one of the largest financial groups--Canara bank--introduced Linux system to automate its one thousand branches.
The South Korean government also funds and supports various plans to its
administrations for the open source related expenses thus further promoting its
The unified digital map DB central center will be
linking each data centers in providence, county, city levels to link Web servers,
DB servers, administrator servers and GIS servers using Redhat's enterprises Linux
The GIS engine 'IntraMap/Web' by KSIC was picked for its open source software. This shows the administration's intent to spread open source software and to apply it to other public access
projects in the future. This kind of project can be an ideal showcase for the
open source and foundation to overseas ventures for the domestic firms.
High probabilities in Effectiveness, Applicable, Expandable
The unified center's consortium members are
comprised of KSIC, Ssangyong information and Communication Corp., Bitline,
Geospartial Information Technology Co., Hansung UI Engineering and
The consortiums studied and analyzed similar overseas market,
laws, and regulations including street naming and address searching, system
capacity and effectiveness along with professional advisors to establish and
design its architecture and information management, overall system improvement
and unified coordinate system and standard DB system.
Iin addition to creating a unified center, the focusing is also on R &D, to
deliver the best standard system that can be used from city level to county and
providences (16 major cities and 234 local cities). The KSIC/CDB-A system meets the international standards that are built around data, architecture and assets. In other words, it is a system that utilizes asset repository (domain engineering),
reusing and registering components that are generated from R & D
The unified system center will provide statistics, security
management, and telematics. LBS, Web-GIS that can be utilized to deliver location
information and by providing the free information it will raise its global
competitiveness and level of effectiveness to fit its Ubiquitous vision.
Kim note: "General use of Linux hasn't been created yet. Consensus of
acceptance is still lacking somewhat, and leadership from the government level
and its role is crucial. We chose the Linux because of lower cost in setup and
maintenance, free licensing fee and its ability to respond to any security
The unified center with its current dual system server
will be further improved to tri servers in 2007 and up to quad servers by year
2008. Administrator server will also double by next year, which will be designed with open source software.
Global Competitiveness: Raising the bar with new address service
the completion of the new address system and digitalized national map system,
emergency response to fire and police will likely be accelerated and growth
in transportation services can be expected. The system is also expected to boost various LBS (Location-Based
Service); by providing precise traffic information, the traffic congestions could be eased.
According to the actual KRILA (Korea Research Institute for
Local Administration) findings in August 2003 of 'Most ideal Road name map
project plans', domestically overall projected savings in transportation,
traffic congestion expense, postal cost and personal labor cost is US$80.5 million, and in five years' time, up to US$270 million.
In addition, logistic roadmaps for North-East Asian territory could be opened up to further strengthen
competitiveness edge, utilization as public resources to enlarge markets in LBS
or Telematics, GIS and related logistics industry and electronics commerce and help boost the economy.
Referring to the administration's ongoing digital map DB
project, KIPA's open source software support center director commented: "The public and public agencies alike gained much needed confidence in open source software through this project and gained invaluable trust with using open
source software as core source technology."
Lee Hyangseon of ZDNet Korea reported from Seoul.