ICA-OSGeo MoU renewal for expanding “Geo for All”

On behalf of “Geo for All” , we are happy to inform  the renewal of  the Memorandum of Understanding between the Open Source Geospatial Foundation and the International Cartographic Association  (ICA) by Professor Georg Gartner (President ICA) and Jeff McKenna ( President OSGeo) on 16 July 2015 at FOSS4G Europe, in Como, Italy. Details at http://wiki.osgeo.org/wiki/MOU_ICA

This builds upon the ICA-OSGeo MoU of Sep 2011  and reflects our expansion plans for the future.  We thank the ICA Executive and the OSGeo Board for supporting the MoU and Professor Helena Mitasova for her efforts to get this MoU updated and renewed. We also thank Arnulf Christl (former OSGeo President) who took the initiative of ICA-OSGeo collaborations many years back. This is an excellent example of the power of bringing together communities on a shared mission – “Making geospatial education and opportunities accessible to all”.

This MoU renewal will be formally announced by Georg Gartner (President ICA) [1] at the  27th International Cartographic Conference  in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil  next week and by Jeff McKenna ( President OSGeo) at FOSS4G 2015 in Seoul. This will further develop the GeoForAll initiative, through expanding partnerships.  We  welcome Governments, Industry, SME’s , NGOs etc who support Geo4All’s education mission and criteria [2] to join us as “Partners”  and be part of a  global network of  Open Geospatial Science Research and Education ‘Labs’ and ‘Partners’ to expand more collaborations for the future [3] .  We will work to bring together all key players (Government organisations, Industry, SMEs, NGOs) on the common mission of education and opportunities for all.

We started from nothing and it is 100 percent the dedication and efforts of all our colleagues globally which helped us .We are grateful to all our colleagues globally for their help and efforts which enabled us to build this initiative.

We look forward to working and building collaborations with all interested on this education mission. Access to quality education and opportunities is key for getting rid of extreme poverty and enable  broadly shared prosperity for all.

[1] http://icaci.org/presidents-blog-ica-and-osgeo-renew-their-memorandum-of-understanding/

[2] http://wiki.osgeo.org/wiki/Geoforall_criteria

[3] http://opensourcegeospatial.icaci.org/2015/07/geo4all-welcomes-ideas-for-building-global-synergies-and-collaborations-for-access-to-quality-education-and-opportunities-for-all/

United Nations Special Session @ FOSS4G 2015, Seoul

It is our great pleasure to inform  the final program of “Open Source GIS for the United Nations and Developing Countries” special session on 16th September 2015 at FOSS4G Seoul. It was made possible thanks esp. to the efforts of Dr. Junyoung Choi, Sanghee Shin and many colleagues. There is a really great program lined up with examples of Open Source GIS from climate change to improving public health delivery. It is great to see the focus also on smart cities esp. the work on Open source and open data for smart cities in developing countries by Prof. Serena Coetzee ( University of Pretoria, South Africa ) will be really useful for our future.

More details at http://2015.foss4g.org/united-nations-special-session/

During the session, we’ll talk about the adoptions/experiences of open source GIS in UN and developing countries. Also there will be panel discussions on how to utilise the open source GIS for the sustainable development.

On behalf of ‘Geo for All’ we are determined  to build ideas and make this a regular session at all future main FOSS4G Global events. We want all our Geo4All labs to support and work towards the work towards the vision of the UN Millennium Development Goals [1] for building a better world and this session will help us build more collaborations and activities in the future. It is key part of our criteria and principles [2].

Service for the benefit and betterment of humanity is a key fundamental principle of “Geo for All”  and we want to contribute and focus our efforts for the UN Millennium Development Goals.

There are  four areas that we can contribute our joint expertise for global development and eradicating extreme poverty. Even though the scale of these global challenges are big , together we can combine forces and efforts contributing to the UN Millennium Development Goals.

Details at http://opensourcegeospatial.icaci.org/2015/05/geo-for-all-service-for-the-benifit-and-betterment-of-humanity/

So this UN focussed session at FOSS4G Seoul is great start for expanding our  collaborations .

There will also be “Geo for All” [3] meetings that will be chaired by Prof. Venkatesh Raghavan (Osaka City University, Japan) during FOSS4G Seoul where we will discuss and plan future collaborations. Everyone planning to attend FOSS4G Seoul are welcome.

[1] http://www.un.org/millenniumgoals/
[2] http://wiki.osgeo.org/wiki/Geoforall_criteria
[3] http://www.geoforall.org

Free GIS Info Workshop for UK government organisations, SMEs and startups @ The University of Nottingham

The market for Geo services has been estimated to be worth up to $270 billion per year [1]. The high cost of proprietary software can be a limiting factor for many government organisations, SMEs and start-ups. Developments in Open Source, Open Standards and Open Data mean that there are now huge cost savings and big opportunities for organisations using open Geospatial software and technologies.

Are you a government organisation, local authority, SME or Individuals / groups thinking of initiating their own start-ups and  interested in exploring opportunities of using Open geospatial technologies in your work and operations? Then apply to be considered to take part in a free Workshops on Open Source, Open Standards, Open Data in Geospatial for  government organisations, SMEs  and startups on the 8th October 2015 at the University of Nottingham. Details at http://www.nottingham.ac.uk/genius/documents/gis-workshop.pdf

The aim is to bring together all interested players to learn, share and discuss ideas in for future collaboration opportunities in Open Source, Open Standards, Open Data in Geospatial including exploring opportunities for participating in joint H2020 and other bids.

Open principles are now implemented by the UK Government and delivering huge cost savings for government -£409 million in the first half of the year it was implemented (six months in 2012 alone) [2].  Open source GIS software will help  the local authorities and various government departments in reducing huge annual licence fee costs for proprietary software and the UK Government and taxpayers as a whole will  benefit from cost efficiencies,  reduce the cost of lock-in to suppliers and products. This is especially important for future IT investments (for example Cloud Computing) , so that more options are explored and choices available.

We are especially interested in training/capacity building local and regional authorities to make use of open technologies (esp in GIS) for helping reduce the annual proprietary GIS licence costs as it is one of the biggest IT expenses in GIS . There are 433 principal authorities in the UK: 27 county councils, 55 unitary authorities, 32 London boroughs, 36 Metropolitan boroughs, 201 districts, 32 Scottish unitary authorities, 22 Welsh unitary authorities, and 26 Northern Ireland districts . All of them need GIS for their  operations. So you can imagine the cumulative annual costs for the UK government for keeping buying proprietary GIS . Now imagine the costs for  not just one year but in the future 5, 10 , 25 years. The savings will be millions of pounds  and with the UK government action plan on Open Principles implemented, we are in a good position to help these local authorities make transition .

At the University of Nottingham, we  have already experience of running successful  Mentoring program focussed on “Open Source, Open Standards, Open Data in Geospatial”  through the FP7 THE ISSUE  http://www.theissue.eu/  and found it very productive . The  mentoring program enabled us to bring in colleagues from other organisations to work closely  for short periods at Nottingham for building up local capacity and also helped build future collaborations (for example we are now in various H2020 bids with many of them).

Some examples below:

·         Open source GIS Capacity Building for Local Authorities – Dr Agata Ciolkosz-Styk and Pawel Kwiatkowski ((IGiK, Poland) and Fatima Manjra (Leicester City Council)
·         The Integration of GIS, Open Source and Sustainability of the Environment – Dr Rossella Nocera (University of Molise, Italy) and  Dr Teresa Raventos (University of Leicester)

There should also be capacity building  in the national,regional and local government so that “Open first” policy is implemented

* Selecting open standards to minimise dependence on specific suppliers.
* Choosing open source software in the case of equal suitability.

We will be pleased to work with the all interested to expand the Mentoring Program focussed on Open Data, Open Source, Open Standards in Geospatial for Regional and Local Authorities in the UK to  enable huge savings in IT but also ensure we are in line with the UK government policies on open principles.

If you look through our Geo4All  labs lists, you will see there is already good examples of cross fertilisation of activities from universities/industry happening. For example, the Open Source Geospatial Laboratory at at ETH Zurich [3] is linked with  SourcePole [4]  and hopefully this will inspire more university labs in the UK (and globally) to expand collaborations with industry and also help their students to create more startups in the future. If you look at OSGeo UK Chapter and there are now many SMEs in the UK (ranging from one staff to 100 staff) who are  service providers [5] and doing training [6] etc in this and we need to think of ways to expand more opportunities and help create more new highly skilled jobs in the UK .

As more and more government organisations, regional and local authorities rapidly move to QGIS and other Open source solutions for enhanced efficiency and lower costs , there is a need for support services and an ecosystem at the local level which is in fact the BIGGEST OPPORTUNITY for SMEs and startups in the UK to fill in .  There should be a strong ecosystem (universities, local government, SMEs etc)  to enable create conditions  for  many  RedHat [7] opportunities  to be created in Open Geospatial ecosystem in the UK  , so that there will be lot of jobs creation as well as innovation opportunities.

Also this will create innovation opportunities locally. For example the startup  community is especially open to the use of open software and data avoiding licensing restrictions which may impact on their business plans, raise early start-up costs and restrict their ability to innovate and it frees them of the need to use proprietary software and data  allowing them greater branding freedom and product flexibility.

This Workshop is free (but limited to only 20 participants ONLY as we have limited venue space) so book your place ASAP (use registration link) at
http://www.nottingham.ac.uk/grace/events/eventsarticles/open-geo-info-workshop.aspx

Selected participants (from a mix of government staff,SMEs and startups) will be confirmed by email before 30 August 2015.

Best wishes,

Suchith

[1] http://www.oxera.com/Oxera/media/Oxera/downloads/reports/What-is-the-economic-impact-of-Geo-services_1.pdf
[2] http://www.cabinetoffice.gov.uk/news/government-bodies-must-comply-open-standards-principles
[3] http://osgl.ethz.ch/osgl/index.html
[4] http://www.sourcepole.com
[5] http://www.osgeo.org/search_profile?SET=1&MUL_COUNTRY%5B%5D=00002
[6]  http://www.osgeo.org/uk/training_providers
[7]  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Red_Hat

Inviting more UK universities to join and expand Open Geospatial Science

Starting from nothing,  4 years back our aim was to establish 5 Open Source Geospatial labs in 5 years globally. Today  we have established 7 Open Source Geospatial Labs established  in  universities in the UK alone

* University of Newcastle
* University College London
* University of South Wales
* University of Southampton
* University of Warwick
* University of Gloucestershire
* University of Nottingham

We thank all our colleagues whose efforts made this possible. This will ensure that all these universities will lead in providing world class research and teaching in Geospatial Science for the future. We want all of them to be centres of innovation bringing together academics, industry and government organisations to collaborate and build up Open Principles in Geospatial Science.
We are especially interested in hearing from universities and research groups  who have focus on Big Data research to establish Open Source Geospatial Labs to rapidly expand their research and teaching in the  following themes building on Open Principles (Open Data, Open Software, Open standards, Open Access to Research publications etc).



  – Transport Science & Applications    

  – Environment and Climate Science 

  –  Urban Data Science
      

We welcome more universities in the UK to join and expand our collaborations. Please contact our Europe chairs Professor Maria Brovelli ( Email: maria.brovelli@polimi.it ) and Dr Peter Mooney (Email- petermooney78@gmail.com ) and they will be pleased to guide you.

Best wishes,

Suchith
http://www.geoforall.org

Inviting examples of Open Principles in empowering people and organisations and creating new opportunities

We would like to invite articles from Industry , Universities/Education, Startups, NGOs,  Governments  on examples of how Open Geospatial Software and Open Data is empowering them and created many new opportunities for  the”Geo for All” http://www.geoforall.org/   monthly newsletters.

Even proprietary GIS vendors and their business partners make huge use of and rely heavily on open source for their business[1] . That is true empowerment and we want to get more examples from the wider community for our newsletter

* Examples of  Open Source Geospatial and Open Data empowering and creating new opportunities for Geospatial Industry
* Examples of  Open Source Geospatial and Open Data empowering and creating new opportunities for Startups
* Examples of  Open Source Geospatial and Open Data empowering and creating new opportunities for Universities/Education
* Examples of  Open Source Geospatial and Open Data empowering  and creating new opportunities for Government organisations
* Examples of  Open Source Geospatial and Open Data empowering and creating new opportunities for NGOs

We are especially  interested to hear from government organisations/regional/local authorities on  how Open source GIS software helped the local authorities and various government departments in reducing huge annual licence fee costs for proprietary  software and the taxpayers as a whole benifitted from cost efficiencies,  reduce the cost of lock-in to suppliers and products. Now imagine the costs for  not just one year but in the future 5, 10 , 25 years. The savings will be billions of dollars of taxpayers money globally which can be invested by governments in  education, healthcare etc.

As more and more government organisations, national, regional and local authorities rapidly move to QGIS and other Open source solutions for enhanced efficiency and lower costs , there is a need for support services and an ecosystem at the local level which is in fact the BIGGEST OPPORTUNITY for SMEs and startups  to fill in .  There should be a strong ecosystem (universities, local government, SMEs etc)  to enable create conditions  for  many  new opportunities [2]   to be created in Open Geospatial ecosystem  , so that there will be lot of jobs creation as well as innovation opportunities. So examples from Startups in OSGeo ecosystem are very welcome. There is already a great list of service providers of OSGeo ecosystem and this is just the start.

Open Principles will make sure our current and future generations are empowered and education and opportunities are available to all…

So please do send examples of how Open Source Geospatial and Open Data is empowering and creating new opportunities from Geospatial Industry, Startups, Education, NGOs, Government organisations to our chief editor of “Geo for All” newsletter -Dr. Nikos Lambrinos, Dept. of Primary Education Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Greece (  Email – labrinos@eled.auth.gr )

Best wishes,

Suchith

PS: Be a “Geo for All” Ambassador . Details at http://opensourcegeospatial.icaci.org/2015/08/be-a-geo-for-all-ambassador/
[1] http://www.gogeomatics.ca/magazine/osgeo-presents-geo-for-all-initiative-may-30-ottawa-social.htm
[2]  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Red_Hat
[3] http://www.osgeo.org/search_profile?SET=1

Be a “Geo for All” Ambassador

It is good that we are having Geo4All meetings at key conferences to build up and expand research and teaching collaborations. Thanks to Prof. Maria Brovelli  and Prof.  Charlie Schweik for FOSS4G Como meetings [1]. We will have Geo4All meetings and presentations later this month at ICC 2015 (Rio) and FOSS4G 2015 (Seoul) and other events to build up more ideas and collaborations.

In addition to presentations/meetings at big events, it was thanks to efforts of our great volunteers who run informal events that help spread Geo4All ideas to more colleagues worldwide . For example, i just now came across an event that was organised in Ottawa, Canada [2]. Though i do not know Fabien Ancelin , i would like to thank him and all volunteers who are presenting Geo4All in many such events worldwide . These kind of informal events are really good to also expand ideas  and i thank all  volunteers who are doing this.

So if you are  at any events/conferences, please do present about Geo4All and be our “Geo for All” Ambassador. The overview slides are available for download from our website [3], which you can make use of as needed.

Thanks to Dr. Nikos Lambrinos (Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Greece) and his excellent team of coeditors we now have a monthly newsletter [4] for GeoforAll.  We are looking for articles from the wider community on various developments in Open Principles for the next (Sep 2015) newsletter.

So please send any updates to labrinos@eled.auth.gr  ideally before 20th of the month to get this added to the next month’s newsletter.

Let me also specifically thank Jason Sadler and all colleagues at the University of Southampton, UK [5] for developing and maintaining our website [6] which has been key for helping us build momentum for Open Principles in Geospatial.

Best wishes,

Suchith

[1] http://lists.osgeo.org/pipermail/ica-osgeo-labs/2015-August/001970.html
[2] http://www.gogeomatics.ca/magazine/osgeo-presents-geo-for-all-initiative-may-30-ottawa-social.htm
[3] http://www.geoforall.org/resources/downloads/GeoforAllslides.ppt
[4] http://opensourcegeospatial.icaci.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/Newsletter-vol.-1-no.-1.pdf
[5] http://www.osgl.soton.ac.uk
[6] http://www.geoforall.org/

Geo4All Newsletter & First “GeoForAll” lab of the month – Open Source Geospatial Lab , Kathmandu University, Nepal

We are very happy to inform that the first Geo4All NewsletterNewsletter vol. 1 no. 1 ) is now ready and  our sincere thanks to Dr. Nikos Lambrinos (Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Greece) for taking initiative to start newsletter for GeoforAll and being the chief editor and his excellent team for making this newsletter possible.

 Thank you to Antoni, Ela, Emma, Rizwan, Pavel, Alexey and Nikos for their help for the newsletter. As we have been growing rapidly (with over 100 Labs), it is timely that we have our newsletter to share the many developments, events, activities etc from all members.

 It is also our great pleasure to use this opportunity to highlight the contributions of one lab in each newsletter issue to help all of us learn more about our members, share ideas and build collaborations for the future.

It is my great pleasure, to introduce our colleagues at the Open Source Geospatial Lab , Kathmandu University [1], [2], Nepal as our first “GeoForAll” lab of the month. We are especially grateful for the work and relief efforts done (and still doing) after the terrible earthquakes by our colleagues in Kathmandu University lead by Dr Shashish Maharjan in these challenging circumstances and may God help them to help others in need. Their whole team along with many students and volunteers were key in helping the recovery efforts.

In spite of all the economic & technological developments, it is a sad fact that thousands of schools globally (esp. in developing countries) even today do not have access to even a single computer. Many of these poor schools do not even have a proper library.  I am confident if we keep focus, we can achieve the target to enable digital education opportunities (tablets or low cost hardware based) in many of the poorest schools globally in just 10 years time and having this partnership with universities, governments, Industry, SMEs and NGOs is key for this. So even if till now many of these schools did not have access to any proper library or other learning resources, they will now have access to the best digital education resources available globally from wikipedia to MOOCs.

Thanks to the unique convergence of some key developments (hardware costs will keep decreasing, internet access will keep increasing even in developing and poor countries, availability of free and open source software, open education resources etc.), we are in the first time in history truly have a real opportunity for making quality education opportunities accessible for all. I have seen this already happening even in some poor government schools in rural India and also many examples in our GeoForAll community from gvSIG Batovi in Uruguay [3] to GIS at Schools [4] etc, has proved that it is possible if we have the will power and determination.

Access to quality education and opportunities is key for getting rid of extreme poverty and enable broadly shared prosperity for all.

Education + Empowerment = Geo4All

So GeoForAll aims to welcome ideas from the wider community on how we can work together for building global synergies and collaborations for enabling this even for the poorest and remotest schools worldwide to enable quality education opportunities for all.

We look forward to working and building collaborations with all interested on this Geo4All education mission.

Best wishes,

Launch of OpenCitySmart – The Open Platform for Smart Cities

Thanks to the excellent work and efforts of Chris Pettit and Patrick Hogan who lead the “Geo for All” Urban Science and City Analytics thematic [1], and with the release of Open Source Online ‘CitySmart’ What if? planning support system from AURIN [2][3] , we will use the European Space Agency’s EO Science 2.0 conference [4] at ESRIN to launch and build collaborations for our “OpenCitySmart – The Open Platform for Smart Cities”. The conference will present precursor activities in EO Open Science and Innovation and develop a Roadmap preparing for future ESA scientific exploitation activities.

========================================================

OpenCitySmart – The Open Platform for Smart Cities

Patrick Hogan , Brandt Melick, Maria Antonia Brovelli, Charles Schweik, Jim Miller, Sven Schade, Chris Pettit, Suchith Anand

The world is shrinking, actually we are getting larger in it, and the cities have to absorb today’s exponential increase in population. World population since the ‘second industrial’ revolution after 1850s has grown from 1 billion to almost 8 billion today. In 1950 at a mere 2.5 billion, we were almost evenly distributed between rural and urban. Today, in the developed world, approximately 80% of the population lives in cities.

This is creating very difficult conditions for sustainability, much more simply managing basic city services. We must learn to be more efficient along with being more effective. To most wisely achieve this goal, we need a more collective approach to problem-solving. Many, if not most of the challenges facing the cities of today are quite similar in nature, if not identical, from infrastructure management to essential public services. Why must each city solve these problems alone? If the cities of the world were to share solutions with each other, they could each focus on different parts of the problem and thereby only bear the burden for a small fraction of the load. And by working together we may come to better appreciate what we share in common as well as experience the joy being able to help each other.

We propose to establish a unifying, open virtual globe, OpenCitySmart, with an API for functionalities. Based on existing open solutions, we will seed this global platform with an initial suite of functionalities that include tools for managing a renewable power grid, wind and solar, based on the success stories of municipalities in northern Italy. We will include functionalities for managing input of LiDAR data and infrastructure . This will be in concert with municipalities around the
world, including, Springfield, Oregon USA, Como Italy and Melbourne Australia.

=====================================================

Myself and Geo4All colleagues  look forward to see many of you at ESRIN for this. We will have an interactive demo ready by then to help build ideas for future research collaborations.

Best wishes,

Suchith

[1] http://wiki.osgeo.org/wiki/GeoForAll_UrbanScience_CityAnalytics
[2] http://lists.osgeo.org/pipermail/ica-osgeo-labs/2015-July/001894.html
[3] http://aurin.org.au/projects/portal-and-infrastructure/what-if/
[4] http://www.eoscience20.org
[5] http://www.geoforall.org

Direct inputs on Open Principles to national policy and Intergovernmental agreements for expanding “Geo for All”

I have been contacted by Prof.  Silvana Comboim (Universidade Federal de Paraná ,Brazil)  who is also the new chair of the  ICA Commission on Open Source Geospatial Technologies on the arrangements for the next ICA Commission meeting on August 27th, 2015 (exact time, room etc will be informed soon) during the  27th International Cartographic Conference (16th General Assembly ) at Rio de Janeiro in Brazil. The new Terms of Reference for the ICA Commission on Geospatial Technologies is also available at [1]

Silvana has also been working on making local arrangements for the success of Pre-conference workshop on Spatial data infrastructures, standards, open source and open data for geospatial (SDI-Open 2015)  jointly organised by the ICA Commission on Geoinformation Infrastructures and Standards, the Commission on Open Source Geospatial Technologies and the Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC) and the Open Source Geospatial Foundation (OSGeo) on 20 and 21 August 2014 at Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics (IBGE) in Rio de Janeiro  and the Conference itself http://www.icc2015.org  will be great opportunity to strengthen the “Geo for All” initiative and to reinforce the key projects and research links for the future.

Silvana has shared two key developments:

1 – As part of the International Map Year, they had an Olympics of Cartography organised in Brazil, with almost 700 secondary schools distributed in the whole country. Although it was not specifically open source, we are thinking to use this in next years to publish tutorials and other materials to secondary teachers, because there was an extraordinary response. The map of participants can be accessed at http://www.olimpiadadecartografia.uff.br/index.php/mapa   and more information can be found in English at http://www.icc2015.org/brazilian-cartographic-olympiad.html

2  There is this call from British and Brazilian government to support researchers that are willing to make joint research with Brazilian institutions at https://www.gov.uk/government/world-location-news/confap-and-uk-academies-launch-new-call-to-support-researchers   We encourage those interested in UK and Brazil universities in Geo4All to participate in this funding bid.

I had the opportunity of participating in the NSDI conference and meetings in Brazil last year and I would like to thank the Ministry of Planning, Government of Brazil for organising this excellent event and also for their kind invitation for keynote presentation where i shared the developments in Open Geospatial Science and Applications and its importance for widening education opportunities, new jobs creation and innovation ecosystems in Geoservices.

I would like to share some of the things i learned from our colleagues in Brazil which i think is relevant to the wider community

1. There are fast paced developments happening in Geospatial domain and it is important the countries should keep updating their Geoinformation policies to reflect this and take advantage of the new opportunities. I am pleased to see countries like Brazil are well tuned to global developments.
2. It is important to have inputs from the academic community and i was pleased to see this bringing together of key people from government and academia to discuss ideas and good practices.
3. Education and Capacity building is key for expanding opportunities.

Having direct inputs to national policy and Intergovernmental agreements are good way to expand “Geo for All” . For example, we have done this with other countries like Australia following the 3rd EU – Australia Research Infrastructure meetings   that i attended in  Canberra.

In the area of sustainable cities, we have agreement to  establish Open Source Geoscience Sustainable Cities  Lab at the University of Melbourne with linked laboratories across Australia and New Zealand, under the ICA-OSGeo Initiative (jointly by INSPIRE, AURIN, ICA-OSGeo).

The Joint European Commission- Australian Government Communique is at
http://ec.europa.eu/research/infrastructures/pdf/Third%20European%20Australian%20Workshop%20on%20Research%20Infrastructure%20Communique.pdf

I am sure Silvana will expand these ideas for the future at our next Commission meeting. We are looking forward to building  strong research and teaching collaborations  worldwide in Open Geospatial Science.

Best wishes,

Suchith

[1] http://opensourcegeospatial.icaci.org/2015/05/terms-of-reference-for-the-ica-commission-on-open-source-geospatial-technologies-2015-2019/

Geo4All welcomes ideas for building global synergies and collaborations for Access to quality education and opportunities for all

In spite of all the economic & technological developments, it is a sad fact that thousands of schools globally (esp. in developing countries) even today do not have access to  even a single computer. Many of these poor schools do not even have a proper library.

But thanks to the unique convergence of some key developments ( hardware costs will keep decreasing, internet access will keep increasing even in developing and poor countries , availability of free and open source software, open education resources etc),  we are in the first time in history truly have a real opportunity for making quality education opportunities accessible for all. I have seen this already happening even in some poor government schools in rural India and also many examples in our Geo4All community from gvSIG Batovi [1] in Uruguay to GIS at Schools [2] etc  , has proved that it is possible if we have the will power and determination.  So Geo4All aims to  welcome ideas from the wider community on how we can work together for building global synergies and collaborations for enabling this  even for the poorest and remotest schools worldwide to enable quality education opportunities for all.

One of the important decisions made at Como meeting last week was to  welcome Governments, Industry, SME’s , NGOs etc who support Geo4All’s education mission and criteria [1] to join us as “Partners”  . So we have global network of  Open Geospatial Science Research and Education ‘Labs’ and ‘Partners’ to expand more collaborations for the future. We will bring together all key players (Government organisations, Industry, SMEs, NGOs) on the common mission of education and opportunities for all.

I am fully confident that if we are able to focus and bring together the amazing energies and reach of the wider community for our education mission, it will be game changer not just for Geoeducation but for the wider Education also. Our focus in addition to Universities and Higher Education is also on “Teacher Training programs” and accelerating the establishment of small Geo4All labs (with access to internet) even in the poorest and remotest schools worldwide to enable quality education opportunities for all. These “Geo4All” labs (tablets or low cost hardware based) in addition to help teach geoeducation will be help bring quality teaching and learning opportunities for all.  Technology is a big leveller and enabler for the poorer sections of the society to also be part of the global economy and we should not allow creation of artificial barriers (being forced to buy high cost proprietary software ) to deny this opportunity for the bottom billions. It is their right to also be part of the digital opportunities.

I am confident if we keep focus, we can achieve the target to enable digital education opportunities ( tablets or low cost hardware based) in many of the poorest schools globally in just 10 years time and having this partnership with universities, governments, Industry, SMEs and NGOs is key for this. So even if  till now many of these schools did not have access to any proper library or other learning resources , they will now have access to the best digital education resources available globally from wikipedia to MOOCs.

Education + Empowerment = Geo4All

We would like to get the ideas from the wider global community on what we need to do together to achieve this vision.

We look forward to working and building collaborations with all interested on this education mission. Access to quality education and opportunities is key for getting rid of extreme poverty and enable  broadly shared prosperity for all.

Best wishes,

Suchith
http://www.geoforall.org

[1] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=orwN9K07XPo
[2]  http://www.edugis.pl/en/images/stories/guide/gis-at-school.pdf
[3] http://wiki.osgeo.org/wiki/Geoforall_criteria