EPA’s BASINS Project Switches to Open Source Software

The EPA has released version 4.0 of their BASINS software and data package. From the EPA’s BASINS web site:

“Better Assessment Science Integrating Point and Nonpoint Sources” (BASINS) is a multipurpose system that integrates environmental data, analytical tools, and modeling programs. BASINS will help regions, states, and local agencies develop cost-effective approaches to watershed management and environmental protection. BASINS 4.0 is a valuable tool for watershed and water quality-based analyses, including developing total maximum daily load (TMDL) allocations.
Also from the BASINS web site:

Unlike earlier releases, BASINS 4.0 runs on non-proprietary, open source, free geographic information system (GIS) software, making the tool universally available to anyone interested in the system. Prior versions required users to purchase costly GIS software to run the BASINS system. Once installed on a personal computer, BASINS 4.0 gives users access to large amounts of point and non-point source data, which they can use to assess or predict flow and water quality for selected streams or entire watersheds.

The costly proprietary software they are referring to is ESRI’s ArcView GIS. The free, open source software they used to replace it is MapWindow GIS , which is a .NET 2.0 desktop GIS application. Now interested citizens can download and use BASINS without the need of a $1500 software license plus support/upgrade fees.

I found out about this one from the great All Points Blog.