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,



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  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   and more information can be found in English at

2  There is this call from British and Brazilian government to support researchers that are willing to make joint research with Brazilian institutions at   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

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,



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,



GeoForAll – Global Educator of the Year Award 2015

On behalf of the GeoForAll Educator Award Selection Committee, we are pleased to inform all that the Individual and Team Awards for the “GeoForAll – Global Educator of the Year Award 2015″ [1] has been announced at the FOSS4G 2015- Europe “Open Innovation for Europe” conference at Como, Italy on Friday  .The award committee had the very difficult task of selecting the GeoForAll Educator of the Year out of the well deserving list of nominees.

Individual award goes to Sterling Quinn (Pennsylvania State University, Pennsylvania, USA)  for his course on “Open Web Mapping”  and Team award for Kurt Menke (Birds Eye View) Nate Jennings (Urbandale Spatial), Jon Van Hoesen (Green Mtn College), Rick Smith (Texas A&M,) and Phil Davis, Delmar College (all in USA) for their GeoAcademy development efforts.

This is an opportunity for us to thank all colleagues for their excellent contributions to Openness in Education principles in the Geo domain. Our congratulations to all individuals or teams who received one or more nominations for the 2015 GeoForAll Global Educator of the Year Award.  They all are  our stars and  “Geo for All” community  would to like to thank all educators worldwide who have made contributions to open education efforts and being good global citizens by helping spread the benefits of education to all.


On behalf of the GeoForAll Educator Award Selection Committee

Prof. Charlie Schweik (Award Committee Chair)
Prof. Georg Gartner (President, ICA)
Jeff McKenna (President, OSGeo)
Chen Jun (President, ISPRS)
Prof. Maria Antonia Brovelli (Italy)
Dr. Xinyue Ye (USA)
Dr. Luciene Delazari (Brazil)
Dr. Tuong-Thuy Vu (Malaysia)
Prof. Venkatesh Raghavan (Japan/India)
Prof. Ivana Ivánová (Brazil)
Jeroen Ticheler (The Netherlands)
Dr. Serena Coetzee (South Africa)
Prof. Helena Mitasova (USA)
Anne Ghisla (Germany)
Patrick Hogan (USA)
Dr Suchith Anand (UK/India)


American Geographical Society Announces Endorsement of the “Geo for All” Initiative

It is our great pleasure to share the excellent development of the American Geographical Society’s endorsement of the “Geo for All Initiative”, developed by the International Cartographic Association (ICA) and the Open Source Geospatial Foundation (OSGeo). “Geo for All” aims to provide expertise and support for the establishment of Open Source Geospatial Laboratories and Research Centers across the world for supporting development of open-source geospatial software technologies, training, and expertise.

Established in 1851, the American Geographical Society   is the oldest professional geographical organization in the United States.  It is recognized world-wide as a pioneer in geographical research and education in geography for over 163 years.  The mission of AGS is to advance geographic knowledge and the recognition of its importance in the contemporary world.  AGS promotes the use of geography in business, government, science, and education with a goal to enhance the nation’s geographic literacy so as to engender sound public policy, national security, and human well-being worldwide.  AGS is the only organization focused on bringing together academics, business people, those who influence public policy (including leaders in local, state and federal government, not-for-profit organizations and the media), and the general public for the express purpose of furthering the understanding of the role of geography in our lives.  AGS provides leadership to frame the national discussion of the growing importance of geography and geo-spatial tools.  The Society maintains its headquarters in Brooklyn Heights, New York.

More details at

This endorsement from the American Geographical Society comes at an important phase in our development. We crossed our 100th lab milestone last week with  UCL as our 101st Open Source Geospatial Lab  bringing together staff and students from the Department of Civil, Environmental and Geomatic Engineering, the Centre for Advanced Spatial Analysis, the Department of Archaeology and the Department of Geography at UCL . Details at

Last week at Como in Italy at FOSS4G-Europe , our colleagues met to discuss our future expansion plans in particular for discussing GeoForAll expansion to thousands of schools globally and expand our teacher training initiatives with collaboration from governments , industry and universities globally.

This endorsement from the American Geographical Society is a great boost to all our “Geo for All” colleagues worldwide. “Geo for All” started from nothing and it is 100 percent the efforts of all our colleagues from OSGeo, ICA and ISPRS who joined together on a common education mission that made this all possible. I am grateful to each and every colleague for their hardwork and dedication for our mission for building a better world and better future for all our future generations.

This is just the start and we look forward to working with all for making  education and opportunities accessible to all.

Best wishes,

Suchith Anand

PS: Thanks to GIS Professional for the “Geo for All” overview article in April 2015

gisprofessional1 gisprofessional2

ICA-OSGeo-ISPRS Awards for NASA Europa Challenge 2015

On behalf of the “Geo for All” community , we would like to thank Patrick Hogan and Maria Brovelli for their hardwork and dedication in organising another successful year of  NASA World Wind Europa Challenge

We thank all the excellent teams for their contributions and participation. Details of 2015 projects at

Also our thanks to the generosity of The Open Source Geospatial Foundation (OSGeo) , The International Society for Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing (ISPRS), and The International Cartographic Association (ICA) whose  contribution made it possible for us to provide the top three academic teams with  financial awards.

The top team this year was an exceptional group from a high school in Alaska that demonstrated leading edge scientific research along with the technology to collect, analyse and visualise that data in real time (USD 1000). Their amazing work on Global Earthquake Forecast System  (GEFS)  is a real inspiration for all and great example of how empowering our future generations is key for helping us find solutions for global societal challenges.

The second place team was led by Computer Science Professor Jim Miller of  Kansas University (€500).

The third place team was led by Computer Science Professor Jing Li at the University of Denver (€500).

This global challenge has a singular purpose, provide the opportunity for the world’s *best and brightest* to deliver sustainable solutions to the world community. These teams have done this and done it well…

Our thanks to all the mentors and students for their efforts. We are especially pleased to see the synergies of bringing together three like minded organisations (OSGeo, ICA and ISPRS) on our joint education mission. Let us work for this inclusiveness and togetherness spirit to enable the world’s *best and brightest* to deliver sustainable solutions to the world community.

Best wishes,


NASA Releases Abundance of Free Code

NASA released its second annual Software Catalog, a giant compendium of over 1,000 programs available for free to industry, government agencies, and the general public.
Details at

Thanks to all who made this happen.

Also we are pleased to announce an excellent line of projects for this year’s NASA Europa challenge 2015 , that we will awarding prizes at FOSS4G 2015, Como

My special thanks to ICA, OSGeo and ISPRS for thier generous sponsoring of the NASA Europa Challenge awards and Patrick and Maria for thier hard work which made this challenge possible.

We will also be announcing the “GeoForAll – Global Educator of the Year Award 2015″  at FOSS4G 2015 Europe in Como. Congrats to all the great educator nominees for thier excellent contributions to Openness in Education principles in the Geo domain. Details at

Open GIS Academics and educators please apply to AAG call before June 15th, 2015


Last week , i send an open request to Dr. Michael Solem (AAG Director of Educational Research and Programs) to humbly request AAG to specifically include Open Education principles and FOSS4G tools firmly in the ConnnectED concept to support the new Advanced Placement course in Geographic Information Science and Technology (GIS&T).

I am pleased to inform that Michael, has replied positively [1] and i have thanked him for this and  “Geo for All” who will be pleased to provide any specific inputs needed by the AP GIS&T proposal committees for this. We will keep closely following these developments and will contribute as and when needed.

I am requesting help from all of you as if we dont act now it will be a big loss for the empowerment of thousands of schools across USA and missed empowerment and geospatial innovation opportunities for a generation. Students instead of being developed as creative innovative minds and future innovators and job creators in geospatial will turn to be just mere users of a particular properitory GIS software. I think this is big moral question for educators and policy makers. The missed economic and innovation opportunities are too big to be quantified.Access to high quality education is everyone’s birth right . It is not right  to just put properitory vendor interests in education.

May i request all of you who are able to contribute to please apply to AAG in response to thier proposals for Authors, Reviewers for thier new AP Course in GIS&T so we can make sure Open Source, Open Standards, Open Data in Geospatial Education is clearly inputted into this course and i request all colleagues to contribute for .

To apply for consideration as a proposal author and/or reviewer, please submit a short (250-word maximum) statement of interest and a current resume/CV to Dr. Michael Solem, AAG Director of Educational Research and Programs, at msolem [at] aag [dot] org by June 15, 2015. Proposal authors and reviewers will receive a stipend to support their work.

More details at

When i read Randal Hale’s email’s on the difficulties faced by that high school in the US for properitory software updates [2], it was clear wake up call on the consequences if we let  properitory GIS agenda for schools and education go ahead. Also the point made by Margarita [3] on “The hidden cost, however, is the missed empowerment of a generation, that will most likely depend upon the software that they have learned to use at school.  ”  is very important.

If the properitory vendor decides to withdraw or change the conditions of thier offer to schools now or at any stage in the future what will happen to the poor schools. This is my biggest worry. Basically schools will be at the mercy of the properitory vendor. The vendor can change thier mind any time.   The example Randal Hale gave  from one of the high schools in USA [2] is a real eye opener of the long term costs/sustainability issues of depending on properitory GIS software in education. Though his example was the issues and difficulties faced by that high school in the US for properitory GIS software updates , i think it is NOT a local problem. It is a wider education problem that as educators we need to be aware of. Luckily in Randal’s example [2] this had a happy ending because he was kind enough to volunteer his time to install FOSS4G but more importantly imagine if there were no free and open source geo software from OSGeo Foundation for him to help the school.

Focus on just  properitory vendor GIS tools only in education  has long term consequences. Empowerment of academics and teachers  is important  to enable empowerment of students. This will make sure academics and teachers  will always have the advantage and they will not be at the mercy and dictates of any properitory GIS vendor. Education and empowerment of academics and students are key  for developing creative and open minds in students which is critical for building open innovation and contributes to building up Open Knowledge for the benefit of the whole society and for our future generations.

Thank you for your kind attention and support on this important matter.

Best wishes,


[1] [AAG Reply]

“Geo for All” – Service for the benifit and betterment of humanity


Service for the benifit and betterment of humanity is a key element of “Geo for All”  and i am always amazed by the various educational and development initiatives that our colleagues are doing. We are going to add service for the betterment of humanity as one of the key “Geo for All” criteria and i wish to invite ideas on how we can do this better linking with the UN Millennium Development Goals

There are  four areas that i believe we can contribute our joint expertise for global development and reducing poverty. Even though the scale of these global challenges are big , together we can atleast provide our small efforts linking to the UN Millennium Development Goals


How – we are doing this already through geocapacity building globally and can think of ideas for esp. in Target 8.F: In cooperation with the private sector, make available benefits of new technologies, especially information and communications for development


How – our Urban Science research theme  is a good example of how we can bring ideas together for Climate Change Adaptation and Environmental Sustainability


How – We will start a new thematic on AgriGIS. Agriculuture is the main livelihood of millions of poor people globally. It is important that poor farmers not only get better yield productivity using geospatial technologies but also empower them to get fair prices for thier produce (for example by knowing market prices) . Some initial ideas on Open initiatives in Agriculture at


How – We are already doing this for Geospatial education at university level but need to focus also on school education and our teacher training thematic is aimed at this. Openness in Education will be great first step in making this possible and digital technologies will help accelerate this and we need to provide all help we can for this.

We are hoping that in the future we will  have dedicated session at FOSS4G conferences on “Open GIS for UN and International development” and this will help us start putting ideas for this also.

Education and empowerment are key to enable lifting billions of people out of extreme poverty and enable rapid development and we have to do our bit for this.

All ideas/inputs welcome.


Open Geospatial Science

One of the key academic objectives of “Geo for All” is to firmly establish Open Geospatial Science as a discipline (academic journals, journal special issues etc) and thanks to our excellent academic colleagues we were able to achieve this in a very short time.

For example, the Open Access ISPRS International Journal of Geo-Information special issue on Open Geospatial Science and Applications  (which is now getting ready) is aimed for this.

Please note  that for  the special issue on Open Geospatial Science and Applications that we are editing (myself, Thierry, Barend, Serena, Franz-Josef, Luciene)  , the call for papers has been closed in Feb 2015 and we are NO LONGER accepting any new submissions. I thank ISPRS and the publishers for waiving the  article processing charges for all articles published in this Open access journal for our special issue.

But there are many other opportunities now for those interested to consider, for example the new Open Access Springer journal on Open Geospatial Data, Software and Standards. Details  at

I also understand that many other GIS journals are also planning regular Special Issues on Open GIScience, so there are lot of other journals you can submit your research.

We will be discussing this at FOSS4G Europe -2015 to see how we can ensure that the Academic Tracks at the various FOSS4G and various GIS  conferences with Open GIScience tracks  globally  can be better streamlined for specific journals and how we can rapidly advance the discipline.

It is very essential that we continue establishing and expanding Open Source Geospatial Labs in universities worldwide to build firm foundations to rapidly expand the discipline. We are now actively working to further enable Openness in Geospatial Education (expand university programs through our labs worldwide, MOOCs through GeoAcademy  , PhD summer schools in both Open GIS and Geospatial Data , training programs for School teachers etc), so we are able to train and develop a new generation of  geospatial scientists globally. We believe in empowering people with spatial decision making tools to help build a better society for all of humanity.

As part of our next stage of expansion of “Geo for All”, we want to focus on using the Open Geospatial Labs that we are building in universities worldwide to expand research by bringing together colleagues from other departments in the universities for expanding in  three key areas where there is Big Data focus in research and development (Urban Data Science , Transport Science & Applications , Environment and Climate Science ). This will help  expand our established research labs and to establish new research labs in  universities worldwide in Urban Science , Transport, Environment themes building on Open Principles (Open Data, Open Software, Open standards, Open Access to Research publications etc).  For new universities who wish to establish Open Geospatial Labs focussing on any of these research themes, we would be happy to hear from you and you can contact our regional chairs for details at

I had good discussions today with Charlie who will be leading the GeoforAll meetings at FOSS4G 2015- Europe, Como, Italy    (July 14th-17th, 2015 ) to discuss and plan future ideas for our expansion.

Combining the potential of  Free and Open Source software, Open Standards, Open Data, Open Education Resources, we are now offering education opportunities to nurture and develop Open Minds in students globally for a better planet and better future for all.

We look forward to working with all in expanding Open Geospatial Science.

Best wishes,