01 Jan 2015

Open and free

Contargo opts for Open Source solutions

The complex requirements of logistics can be met with the help of complex solutions from the enterprise’s own in-house IT department, or using external IT providers. Contargo is increasingly using Open-Source software, because it is flexible and open to all users.

Open Source (meaning open source code) denotes software which anyone can freely use, copy and change. What began about 25 years ago with a small group of programmers who wanted to stop their work from being commercialised, has developed today into a worldwide social movement. For instance IMTIS, Contargo’s tariff calculator, is based on OpenStreetMap material. OpenStreetMap is a project which has the aim of creating a free world map which can be further developed by any user. This enables missing data to be continually added and corrections made to map material. OpenStreetMap functions in a similar way to Wikipedia: any user can contribute to improving and completing the information.

Users improve software together

In the meantime, not only does Contargo make use of Open Source Software, but for the first time in May made an item of its own software, IRIS (Intermodal Routing Information System) available as Open Source. IRIS can now be downloaded under Open Source Licence AGPLv3 at GitHub, and can be further developed by users for their own needs. With IRIS users can work out routing, total kilometres, road toll kilometres, journey times to plan in, and CO2 emissions for trucking in combined transport. IRIS integrates map material such as maximum permitted weights and toll obligations. When calculating the CO2 emissions of an intermodal transport, the software takes into account not only the transport, but also the handling and transfer of the containers.

“We are increasingly adopting Open Source solutions, because they enable software to be adapted to different requirements”, says Henrik Hanke, IT Manager at Contargo. “Many applications – such as a route calculating system, for instance – do not involve a completed field. The special challenge consists in continually adapting the software to a continually-changing system. Open Source solutions have the advantage that they can not only be used by a lot of people, but can also be programmed and further developed by a lot of people.”

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