Geographic Information System (GIS) software has evolved to the point where it is extremely valuable to the planning, construction and operation of pipelines across a range of industries. Recently, GIS software of high quality has become freely available for use and modification under open source licensing schemes. This paper evaluates the utility of a geographic information system prepared using open source software for shared departmental use. Analysis includes areas such as functionality of the software, setup time, and total cost of ownership. The departmental focus is at a level concerned with pipeline planning and cost estimating. The full GIS package used for the analysis consists of a database, spatial data management software, and a web server providing web-based access to geomatic data suitable for a pipeline construction department. The utility of application programming interfaces provided through the GIS with open source software development tools is analysed in the form of a what-if economic comparison tool for pipeline route selection. The ability of the GIS to integrate data from other departmental systems is also examined. Final conclusions serve to aid pipeline GIS teams in determining if open source solutions are ready for widespread use.

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