Open consultation on the Vision 2030 for Open Geospatial Science

On behalf of Geospatial IG of the Research Data Alliance and Geo for All community, i would like to invite inputs for this open consultation on the Vision 2030 for Open Geospatial Science.

To start this process, Geospatial IG of the Research Data Alliance and Geo for All organised a Think Tank meeting on 8th June 2016 at the University of Nottingham bringing together top scientists, academics and government agencies to discuss ideas forward. We chose the theme of Urban GeoBigData and OpenCitySmart to expand ideas on this.

thinktank

Fig 1 : RDA Think Tank participants at The University of Nottingham (8th June 2016)

In true spirit of Open Science, we have make available a wikipage in Geo4All with the initial ideas generated after the Think Tank and welcome the community for inputs .Together we all can shape the research agenda for Open Geospatial Science for the future and help build more ideas to enable the creation of a sustainable innovation ecosystem for advancing the discipline and accelerating new discoveries to help solve global cross disciplinary societal challenges from climate change mitigation to sustainable cities.

 

Open Geospatial Science – Vision 2030

It is nearly a decade since the initial ideas for Open Geospatial Science was started . Open Geospatial Science builds upon the idea of Open science that scientific knowledge of all kinds are able to be develop more rapidly and in a more productive manner if openly shared (as early as is practical in the discovery process). The key ingredients to make Open Geospatial Science possible is Open Principles (open source geospatial software, open data, open standards , open educational resources and open access to research publications) .

“Geo for All” [1] was initially started by scientists and research active academics to build strong foundations for Open Geospatial Science . We also wanted to create openness in Geo Education 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. Thanks to our colleagues globally, we now have dedicated research labs through Geo4All globally , dedicated journals etc [2],[3] in place to help advance the discipline for the future. It is this global research outlook that is fundamental to the success of any new discipline. It is now time for us to think and plan actions for the future and it is important that we bring together ideas/inputs from the wider community and harness the wisdom to help shape our vision for Open Geospatial Science for 2030 and builds synergies with the three goals for EU research and innovation policy: Open Innovation, Open Science and Open to the World [4].

 

Background

In May 2016, EC published a book titled – Open Innovation, Open Science, Open to the World – a vision for Europe , the extracts below

The way that science works is fundamentally changing and an equally important transformation is taking place in how companies and societies innovate. The advent of digital technologies is making science and innovation more open, collaborative and global. In this light Commissioner Carlos Moedas has set three goals for EU research and innovation policy: Open Innovation, Open Science and Open to the World. These three goals were first discussed by Commissioner Moedas in a speech in June 2015, showing how research and innovation contribute across the political priorities of the European Commission. These goals do not represent a new policy initiative or funding programme as such, but a way to reinforce existing programmes such as Horizon 2020, and reinvigorate existing policies such as the European Research Area. The book Open Innovation, Open Science, Open to the World – a vision for Europe brings together some of the key conceptual insights behind the “Three Os” and highlights actions that are already taking place or are being prepared at time of publication in May 2016. It is hoped that the ideas and initiatives described in the book will stimulate anyone interested in European research and innovation, and encourage debate and lead to new ideas on what the European Union should do, should not do, or do differently.[4]

You can download the book from the EU Bookshop at http://bookshop.europa.eu/en/open-innovation-open-science-open-to-the-world-pbKI0416263/

Extract from the book on Open Science below

A Vision of the Future

The year is 2030. Open Science has become a reality and is offering a whole range of new, unlimited opportunities for research and discovery worldwide. Scientists, citizens, publishers, research institutions, public and private research funders, students and education professionals as well as companies from around the globe are sharing an open, virtual environment, called The Lab. Open source communities and scientists, publishing companies and the high-tech industry have pushed the EU and UNESCO to develop common open research standards, establishing a virtual learning gateway, offering free public access to all scientific data as well as to all publicly funded research. The OECD as well as many countries from Africa, Asia, and Latin America have adopted these new standards, allowing users to share a common platform to exchange knowledge at a global scale. High-tech start-ups and small public-private partnerships have spread across the globe to become the service providers of the new digital science learning network, empowering researchers, citizens, educators, innovators and students worldwide to share knowledge by using the best available technology. Free and open, high quality and crowd-sourced science, focusing on the grand societal challenges of our time, shapes the daily life of a new generation of researchers.

There is also lot of synergies and will add momentum for our vision for Open Geospatial Science [5],[6],[7].

Open Geospatial Science builds upon the idea of Open science that scientific knowledge of all kinds are able to be develop more rapidly and in a more productive manner if openly shared (as early as is practical in the discovery process). The key ingredients to make Open Geospatial Science possible is Open Principles (open source geospatial software, open data, open standards and open access to research publications) .

“Geo for All” was initially started by scientists and research active academics to build strong foundations for Open Geospatial Science . We also wanted to create openness in Geo Education 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. We are grateful to all our colleagues globally for their help and efforts which enabled us to build this initiative http://www.geoforall.org/about/ .

So what is our Vision 2030 ?

Geospatial Science = Open Geospatial Science

  • Science should always be fully open and inclusive
  • Transparency of research is fundamental (no black boxes or proprietary barriers).
  • Geospatial Science should be build fully on Open Principles (Promoting an open research culture)

 

Science2030

Fig 2: Transparency of research is fundamental (no black boxes or proprietary barriers) and  geospatial science should always be open. (Image courtesy : OpenGIS summer School Girona colleagues)

We welcome the wider community to contribute more ideas/inputs to show us how we can together achieve this vision by either contributing to the wiki directly at https://wiki.osgeo.org/wiki/Open_geospatial_science_-_vision_2030  or email Suchith.Anand@nottingham.ac.uk  by 30th August 2016.

Overview slides of Open Geospatial Science – Vision 2030

We also welcome all those interested to join the Open Source Geospatial Foundation (OSGeo)’s Open Geoscience committee [8].

Thanks for your contributions and support.

Dr. Suchith Anand
http://www.geoforall.org/

Geo for All – Building and expanding Open Geospatial Science

 

  1.  http://www.geoforall.org/
  2.  http://www.mdpi.com/journal/ijgi/special_issues/science-applications
  3.  http://opengeospatialdata.springeropen.com/about/editorial-board
  4. http://ec.europa.eu/research/openvision/index.cfm
  5. http://opensourcegeospatial.icaci.org/2016/04/open-geospatial-science-2/
  6. http://opensourcegeospatial.icaci.org/2016/05/open-innovation-open-science-open-to-the-world/
  7. https://www.nottingham.ac.uk/grace/events/eventsarticles/urban-biggeodata.aspx
  8. https://wiki.osgeo.org/wiki/Open_Geoscience_Committee

Inputs invited for “The need for National level strategy for Open Principles in Geospatial”

For those of you planning to attend FOSS4G UK conference at  Ordnance Survey in Southampton (June 14th to 16th 2016 ), i would like to bring to your attention to the discussion session on  “The need for National level strategy for Open Principles in Geospatial” and i invite your inputs and contributions to the discussions and action plans.

There are now lot of examples of  successful migration to open source GIS in full swing in local authorities and government organisations across UK . For example, Royal Borough of Windsor & Maidenhead migrated to using open source GIS in 2015 and has found significant efficiencies in staff time, cost savings and an increase in the number of departments using GIS. Details at https://www.ordnancesurvey.co.uk/blog/2016/03/using-open-source-gis-in-the-public-sector/

The provisional timetable is at http://uk.osgeo.org/foss4guk2016/timetable.html   and details of how to how to register are at http://uk.osgeo.org/foss4guk2016/

The need for National level strategy for Open Principles in Geospatial
15th June 2016 (Wednesday)
11:30-13:00
Venue: – Ordnance Survey, Explorer House, Southampton

This  session aims to bring together interested delegates from government, industry and academia to discuss ideas on best practices in open source geospatial implementations, open data, open standards, opportunities for geo industry, migration to open source GIS ,economic benefits, accelerating innovation ecosystems , skills development and educational opportunities, creating  highly skilled jobs, expanding startups and accelerating the digital economy.

It is important that central/local governments should look at the big picture and long term view (and join forces and efforts) for mechanisms   to train and support GIS teams for local government. There should be a National Centre for Open Government with expertise in Open Technologies and Open Data to build best practices in open source geospatial implementations and open data  . There needs to be support and training facilities availble the local GIS departments.  Investing in people is important. Scalability (without worring about exponential increases in licensing costs) will also be a important factor in cost savings and efficiencies[1].

I have summarized some of my initial  thoughts/ideas on the need for National level strategy for Open Principles in Geospatial at http://opensourcegeospatial.icaci.org/2016/03/national-level-strategy-for-open-principles-in-geospatial-ideas-and-inputs-needed/

It will also help other countries around the world to build upon these ideas . FOSS4G UK 2016 conference in Southampton   will provide a good opportunity to discuss these ideas. I am looking forward to see many of you there and discuss ideas for the future. If you are aiming to attend the session and contribute your ideas for this session, please do let me know asap.

Best wishes,

Suchith

Dr. Suchith Anand
http://www.geoforall.org/

Geo for All – Building and expanding Open Geospatial Science

[1] https://www.ordnancesurvey.co.uk/business-and-government/case-studies/warwickshire-county-council-new-web-gis.html

Open Innovation, Open Science, Open to the World

The way that science works is fundamentally changing and an equally important transformation is taking place in how companies and societies innovate. The advent of digital technologies is making science and innovation more open, collaborative and global. In this light Commissioner Carlos Moedas has set three goals for EU research and innovation policy: Open Innovation, Open Science and Open to the World. These three goals were first discussed by Commissioner Moedas in a speech in June 2015, showing how research and innovation contribute across the political priorities of the European Commission. These goals do not represent a new policy initiative or funding programme as such, but a way to reinforce existing programmes such as Horizon 2020, and reinvigorate existing policies such as the European Research Area. The book Open Innovation, Open Science, Open to the World – a vision for Europe brings together some of the key conceptual insights behind the “Three Os” and highlights actions that are already taking place or are being prepared at time of publication in May 2016. It is hoped that the ideas and initiatives described in the book will stimulate anyone interested in European research and innovation, and encourage debate and lead to new ideas on what the European Union should do, should not do, or do differently.[1]

You can download the book from the EU Bookshop at http://bookshop.europa.eu/en/open-innovation-open-science-open-to-the-world-pbKI0416263/

Extract from the book on Open Science below

A Vision of the Future

The year is 2030. Open Science has become a reality and is offering a whole range of new, unlimited opportunities for research and discovery worldwide. Scientists, citizens, publishers, research institutions, public and private research funders, students and education professionals as well as companies from around the globe are sharing an open, virtual environment, called The Lab. Open source communities and scientists, publishing companies and the high-tech industry have pushed the EU and UNESCO to develop common open research standards, establishing a virtual learning gateway, offering free public access to all scientific data as well as to all publicly funded research. The OECD as well as many countries from Africa, Asia, and Latin America have adopted these new standards, allowing users to share a common platform to exchange knowledge at a global scale. High-tech start-ups and small public-private partnerships have spread across the globe to become the service providers of the new digital science learning network, empowering researchers, citizens, educators, innovators and students worldwide to share knowledge by using the best available technology. Free and open, high quality and crowd-sourced science, focusing on the grand societal challenges of our time, shapes the daily life of a new generation of researchers.

I would recommend you to read this book for getting a glimpse of future developments. There is also lot of synergies and will add momentum for our vision for Open Geospatial Science [2],[3],[4].

Best wishes,

Suchith

Dr. Suchith Anand
http://www.geoforall.org/

Geo for All – Building and expanding Open Geospatial Science

[1] http://ec.europa.eu/research/openvision/index.cfm
[2] http://opensourcegeospatial.icaci.org/2016/04/open-geospatial-science-2/
[3] http://www.mdpi.com/journal/ijgi/special_issues/science-applications
[4] http://opengeospatialdata.springeropen.com/about/editorial-board

Invitation to Geo4All Webinar on Humanitarian Mapathons for Children

On behalf of Geo4All we would like to welcome you to the “Open Geospatial Science & Applications” webinar series. Thanks to Dr. Rafael Moreno and colleagues at University of Colorado Denver for organising the Geo4All webinar series. If you are interested to do a webinar for the Geo4All webinar series please contact Rafael (email- rafael.moreno@ucdenver.edu ) and he will be happy to discuss ideas.

Webinar details below:

  • Date and Time : May 5, 2016 (Thursday) at 1:00 PM Greenwich Mean Time (7:00 AM US/Canada Mountain Time)
  • Topic : Humanitarian Mapathons for Children
  • Presenters: Maria Antonia Brovelli, Marco Minghini, Aldo Torrebruno (Politecnico di Milano), and Tyler Radford (Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team (HOT)

Talk abstract:

This webinar will provide an introduction on humanitarian mapathons for children, which represent a remarkable educational experience as they combine geography and awareness about our world, technology and humanitarian aspects. Following the successful experiences of Politecnico di Milano (Italy), the most important educational and technical aspects of humanitarian mapathons with children will be outlined. The purpose is to provide the GeoForAll community, and specially the teachers involved (at all levels), with some practical instructions on how to set up and run their own mapathons. The webinar is organized in collaboration with the Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team (HOT) under the umbrella of the United Nations Open Geospatial (UNOGeo) initiative of which GeoForAll and OSGeo are partners.

See webinar description in the Geo4All webinars page: http://www.geoforall.org/webinars/

Please join us here at https://ucdenver.zoom.us/j/350696659

Recording and slides will be posted in the Geo4All webinars page after presentation: http://www.geoforall.org/webinars/

For more details of the webinar series, contact University of Colorado Denver FOSS4G Lab at http://geospatial.ucdenver.edu/foss4g/

The background of this webinar is at https://hotosm.org/updates/2016-03-09_200_kids_map_swaziland_for_malaria_elimination

Thanks to Maria Brovelli, Marco Minghini and all Politecnico di Milano colleagues for thier excellent work. They have been leading all our humanitarian mapathons (Nepal, Japan, Equador) [1], [2] and it will be a great opportunity to hear and learn from thier experiences.

So please join this Geo4All webinar on 5th May 2016.

[1] http://opensourcegeospatial.icaci.org/2016/04/humanitarian-mapathons-for-japan-and-ecuador/
[2] http://opensourcegeospatial.icaci.org/2015/04/mapping-response-contributions-for-nepal/

Open Geospatial Science

“Open Science, Open Innovation, Open to the World.” European Commissioner Moedas’ statement [1] [2] emphasises the importance and potential of open  science for Europe and globally.

Open Geospatial Science builds upon the idea of Open science that scientific knowledge of all kinds are able to be develop more rapidly and in a more productive manner if openly shared (as early as is practical in the discovery process). The key ingredients to make Open Geospatial Science possible is Open Principles (open source geospatial software, open data, open standards and open access to research publications) .

“Geo for All” was initially started by scientists and research active academics to build strong foundations for Open Geospatial Science . We also wanted to create openness in Geo Education 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. We were laughed at initially by some because we did not have any initial funding  when we decided to start “Geo for All” . We are grateful to all our colleagues globally for their help and efforts which enabled us to build this initiative http://www.geoforall.org/about/   . For Geo4All , we had a mission to “Make geospatial education and opportunities accessible to all” and we were very clear from the start that we will be supporting Open Principles (open standards, open data, open educational resources,open software, open access to scientific publications) for our mission to ensure sustainability and bring together universities, industry, SMEs, NGOs together on this shared vision.One of the most important lessons that i learnt from my Geo4All journey  is that bringing together good people on a common mission and building a vibrant community  is the biggest asset.

Two week’s back , i was preparing a lecture on Open Geospatial Science for the Marie Curie MultiPos Summer School here at University of Nottingham and it helped me to reflect on how from very humble beginnings we started and without any funding (it was just an idea  back then ) and it is 100 percent thanks to the vibrant geocommunity that helped make this dream a reality. Thanks to our colleagues globally, we now have dedicated research labs, dedicated journals etc in place to help advance the discipline for the future. It is this global research outlook that is fundamental to the success of any new discipline.

Research projects come and go, even research centers/groups within a single university keep changing/merging etc  and are  transient  but research disciplines and ideas will have longer impact. Hence from the start our aim was to create Open Geospatial Science as a discipline. But we had to take this one step at a time to make this possible and i want to share some of our experiences, so we can help build more ideas.

I still remember the excitement   when we had our founding meeting of the first Open Source Geospatial lab in the UK  (June 2010) which helped lay the seeds for foundation for “Geo for All” initiative which has now grown to over 100 research labs globally  and established a new discipline of Open Geospatial Science.The sense of urgency is also very important. Though we did not have any initial funding, me and my colleagues decided that we cannot wait and we have to do whatever we can with our abilities to make geospatial education and opportunities accessible to all. We used the power of combining efforts of like minded communities (International Cartographic Association, International Society of Photogrammetery and Remote Sensing etc) to achieve this .

grouphoto

Figure 1 – Founding meeting of the first Open Source Geospatial Lab in the UK at the University of Nottingham  in June 2010

In fact, when we decided to set up the first Open Source Geospatial Lab in the UK  ( i did not have any funding that time but had big support from my colleagues across the university) to lay the foundation for “Geo for All” , i send invitations to  key players in the UK to send their representatives for the founding meeting . The Association of Geographic Information  , British Geological Survey, EDINA, Ordnance Survey etc all send their representatives for the founding meeting (Fig 1) at University of Nottingham in June 2010 .   Having the successful Triple Helix collaborations (Government, Industry, Academia) was important. We started with a few student projects. I also signed MoUs (Fig 2)  with other like minded organisations to expand our research collaborations.gvsig

Fig 2 – MoU with the gvSIG Association  (2011)

ica-osgeo

Fig 3 -Prof. Georg Gartner (President, International Cartographic Association) and Arnulf Christl (President, Open Source Geospatial Foundation) shake hands after signing the ICA-OSGeo MoU at the OSGeo booth at Intergeo 2011 in Germany

From the start we had a global outlook . It was also a big leap of faith as myself or any of my colleagues did not have  any idea when we announced in  2011   that we will be establishing 5 dedicated Open  Geospatial Research Labs globally in 5 years time .  We used the power of combining efforts of like minded communities to achieve this by having a MoU (Fig 3) between the Open Source Geospatial Foundation (OSGeo) and the International Cartographic Association (ICA)  with the aim of developing on a global basis collaboration opportunities for academia, industry and government organizations in open source GIS software and data. We now have over 100 research labs established over the world (USA has the largest number of research labs established countrywise but region wise Europe has the largest number of labs).

Again as with the  various Geo4All initiatives, we announced these without any initial funding (we just setup the frameworks)  but always had key volunteers to lead the efforts and jointly apply for funding to scale up ideas and make it sustainable over the future. For example 6 months back , we decided that we had to do something to enable Urban Infrastructure Management for all cities around the world . Inspite of all the technological advancements, it is a sad fact that majority of the world’s poorest living in urban areas do not still have access to basic facilities (clean water, proper sanitation and hygiene facilities , good quality education opportunities etc).  In order to achieve UN Millennium Development Goals it is essential to develop infrastructure facilities, strengthen the muncipal authorities and local city government organisations ( reduce corruption etc) in the developing world for helping improving the living standards of the people.GIS is fundamental technology in infrastructure development and high cost proprietary GIS is unaffordable to governments, town planners and local authorities in developing and economically poor countries. With the availability of free and open source GIS technologies it now offers a great opportunity for governments and municipal authorities in developing countries also to implement GIS tools for their decision making and implementation needs  and help improving the lives of some of the most poorest people and by giving the geospatial tools to the municipal authorities for their decision making and implementation needs will help in improving the living standards of the people. We need to empower people and communities  to make sure our future generations are fully empowered .

So with this aim we started the OpenCitySmart initiative by setting up a wiki site https://wiki.osgeo.org/wiki/Opencitysmart   and a mailling list and asked our community to join efforts. Our colleagues in Australia  Chris Pettit  and colleagues from NASA (Patrick Hogan) lead this initiative. Chris is also leading the AURIN initiative  http://aurin.org.au/  and NASA is supporting us with thier WorldWind platform. We also are using the Europa Challenge to encourage more SMEs and students around the world to contribute to the OpenCitySmart initiative  http://eurochallenge.como.polimi.it/   We will be having a Think Tank on this to expand ideas (coinciding with the RDA meeting) . Details at http://www.nottingham.ac.uk/grace/events/eventsarticles/urban-biggeodata.aspx

The big picture of OpenCitySmart vision at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aWuMfMMPfPw

So basically everything we do is by harnessing global efforts for finding solutions to global challenges. We believe empowering people with spatial decision making tools will result in a better society for all of humanity. The Open Source Geospatial Foundation is only 10 years old (It is thanks to the work and service of thousands of our colleagues globally that now we have a Foundation and all these active projects and communities) is good example of this.

OSGeo Live has been one of our key instruments for expanding Geo4All’s education aims globally .OSGeo Live contains  over 50 of the world’s widely used Geospatial software from Desktop applications to WebGIS solutions all provided free for the benefit of  all of humanity.  For example , QGIS has grown rapidly to be now the world’s most widely used Geographic Information System powering millions of users in governments, academia and industry worldwide.  Over 180 people have directly helped with OSGeo-Live packaging, documenting and translating, and thousands have been involved in building the packaged software. So it is harnessing global communities on a shared vision. Details at http://live.osgeo.org/en/overview/overview.html

We already have many examples of this in school education from our global colleagues that we need to expand for the future. For example, Ela and colleagues UNEP-GRID warsaw in Poland’s work on GIS at Schools . Details at http://www.edugis.pl/en/images/stories/guide/gis-at-school.pdf

This is an excellent resourse for teachers not only in geography but also in other science subjects who wish to use data concepts in thier teaching. Details at http://edugis.pl/en/for-teachers/guide

Our colleagues Sergio Acosta y Lara and others in Uruguay through gvSIG Batovi initiative have now able to teach high quality spatial technologies to students in all schools across  Uruguay . Thanks to the Plan Ceibal they also have free laptops for all Primary and Secondary students in the country so they truly have the opportunity to reach every student no matter they are rich or poor with high quality teaching and learning tools.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=orwN9K07XPo   (Video with English translation)

We also have amazing academic colleagues in Geo4All globally who are contributing thier knowledge for Open Education efforts. We can get a flavor from last year’s GeoForAll – Global Educator of the Year Award 2015. Details are at http://www.geoforall.org/news/?action=story&id=20

We are now working with MapStory Foundation http://mapstory.org/    to expand our  spatial literacy  in school level program globally. For example, “mapping the neighbourhood” exercises to help teach spatial literacy in schools globally.  I think having MapStory examples of deforestation in different places might also be a good example to help teach students on effects of climate change as well as need for protecting the environment. Teaching Spatial literacy in schools  is key for also helping build good global citizens.

Why is Open Principles in Education and Research important?

Scalability is key for cost/sustainability issues esp if we are thinking global scale of expansion . The cost of hardware is getting lower (and will keep decreasing), internet access is increasing (even in poor countries, it will keep increasing) , so if we can also provide free and open technologies , open data, open educational resources etc it will be a big enabler for bridging the digital divide. Please also look into existing successful  initiatives in Open Principles in Education to understand why scalability and costs for scaling is fundamental .For example in India,  in the State of Kerala  (where i come from)  there is  a project called IT at Schools. It is one of the largest simultaneous deployment of Free and Open Source Software based education ( in over 12,000 schools benefiting 200,000 teachers and 6 million students ) that has transformed access to quality education to even students from the poorest backgrounds.  This is a good example of scalability of  education opportunities with very little resources using Open Principles. Details at https://www.itschool.gov.in/glance.php

Imagine if all these 12000+ schools and 6 million students had to depend on buying software and data for their teaching and learning. This simple idea can be scaled to millions of schools globally .This empowerment of educators and students  is the true essence and gift  of Open Principles.

Every time i visit India, i always make sure however busy i am, i visit atleast one school and talk with teachers and students.  One of the most profound questions i was asked was by a  student in a small school in India that i visited some years back . From speaking to the teachers i understood that many of the students at that school were from very poor backgrounds. That school didnt even have a proper library but had just started a small “computer lab” .Basically it was 3 computers connected to the internet running on Open Source Software . The students were now  for the first time getting opportunity using online resources like wikipedia for thier study. The students were very excited about resources like Wikipedia and one student asked me  the question “Will this be always available to us?” and i looked at her and   told her that she can be fully assured that she and all students will always have access to these resources as they are fully free and open and more importantly there are thousands of amazing people worldwide who are doing selfless service by working to make these free and open tools and open data so that the doors of opportunities will always be kept open for everyone. These students have no money power or sponsorship power to make thier voice heard and we need to be thier voice .I also decided that day that i will do my best to make sure open principles in education are protected,  so that  students in all schools  worldwide (irrespective of thier economic background) who now are seeing a small glimmer of hope will have that doors of education opportunity always open.

It is also important that the voice of the voiceless are heard. My childhood and growing up in India has a big impact on my thinking . I  am truly grateful that i had an amazing grandmother from whom i learned many of the most important things in life. My grandmother did not have any educational qualifications or world knowledge (she never even got opportunity to travel anywhere!) but she did have amazing common sense and compassion . I learned from her about  an old Indian principle of “Vasudeva kudumbam” which means we are all part of one universal family and “Geo for All” is for my universal family. So i get incredible happiness to get the opportunity to work with colleagues from all corners of our planet and from all different backgrounds on this common journey for helping provide education and opportunities for everyone.

One of the most important lessons that i learnt from my Geo4All journey  is that bringing together good people on a common mission and building a vibrant community  is the biggest asset. The aim of “Geo for All”  is to develop on a global basis collaboration opportunities for academia, industry and government organisations  for enabling open education opportunities for all by empowering academics , universities, school teachers worldwide by using Open Principles in  Geo Education .

Open Geospatial Science – Future steps

I had the opportunity to participate in the  “EU Science: Global Challenges, Global Collaboration” meetings at the European Parliament in Brussels (March 4th-8th,2013). This high level meetings brought together top scientists across the planet , ministers , MEPs, senior policymakers  and industry leaders with the aim to encourage worldwide collaboration in science, to explore how Horizon 2020 can enable an effective scientific response to global challenges, and to provide an environment to build new partnerships with a view to increasing international participation in Horizon 2020.

EUScience1

 

Fig 4 “EU Science: Global Challenges, Global Collaboration” meetings at the European Parliament in Brussels , 2013

 

EUScience2

Fig 5 – Opening session of  “EU Science: Global Challenges, Global Collaboration” meetings at the European Parliament in Brussels , 2013

Máire Geoghegan-Quinn,  European Commissioner for Research, Innovation and Science summarized excellently the meeting aims in her keynote speech at  http://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_SPEECH-13-186_en.htm

For me it was also an excellent opportunity to interact with policy makers and top scientists from all disciplines and share Open science ideas and explore new opportunities for future research collaborations.

Having direct inputs to national policy and Intergovernmental agreements are good way to expand “Geo for All” ideas and Open Geospatial Science  . 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 Nov 2013 .

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 had the opportunity of participating in the NSDI conference and meetings in Brasilia, Brazil in May 2014 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 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.

The pace of growth has been much beyond our dreams and with more applications for establishing research labs from universities across the world, we are in target to establish over 1000 research labs in the next three years globally. This is the biggest growth area in our Geospatial  Science discipline and will have direct benefit of millions of students across the world. Each of these research labs will keep expanding over the years with more staff and students .

We welcome more research labs interested in building and expanding Open Geospatial Science [3],[4] to join Geo4All and contribute to our joint research actions through the various research thematics now in place

Through our new initiative of Geo4All Schools we aim to use geotechnologies as a usecase to advance STEM interest in Schools through Open Principles so that students develop creative minds  and develop to be future thought leaders and creative thinkers to help solve global challenges (not just teach them to be mere users). The bigger aim is to also to advance STEM education across the world and bring together schools, teachers and students across the world in joint projects and help building international understanding and global peace.

Best wishes,

Dr. Suchith Anand
http://www.geoforall.org/

Geo for All – Building and expanding Open Geospatial Science

[1]  http://ec.europa.eu/commission/2014-2019/moedas_en
[2] http://europe.rd-alliance.org/plenaries-events/events/weaving-internet-of-data-high-level-european-policy-meeting-funding
[3] http://www.mdpi.com/journal/ijgi/special_issues/science-applications
[4] http://opengeospatialdata.springeropen.com/about/editorial-board

 

Humanitarian mapathons for Japan and Ecuador

May i request anyone who is interested to help for the humanitarian mapathons for Japan and Ecuador to please contact Dr Marco Minghini asap (Email – marco.minghini@polimi.it )  who is leading the Geo4All efforts on this. Details at http://lists.osgeo.org/pipermail/geoforall/2016-April/002886.html

Our thanks to Marco and colleagues for their help and efforts  [1] 


Suchith Anand

Invitation for Expression of Interest for Urban BigGeoData and OpenCitySmart Think Tank on 8th June 2016 

The Geospatial IG of the Research Data Alliance and the Nottingham Geospatial Institute are pleased to welcome expression of interest for the Urban BigGeoData and OpenCitySmart Think Tank meeting and workshop at the University of Nottingham. This will be a free event (limited to 30 delegates) aimed to bring together key stakeholders in GeoBigData and OpenCitySmart research to brainstorm ideas and plan joint research ideas and collaborations for the future.

More details and registration url at http://www.nottingham.ac.uk/grace/events/eventsarticles/urban-biggeodata.aspx

Deadline for application – 15th April 2016

Draft European Open Science Agenda and Call for EoIs for the Selection of members for the High level Advisory Group “Open Science Policy Platform”

Colleagues,

With the objectives to enable more reliable science (by allowing data verification); more efficient science (by sharing resources); and more responsive science (by contributing to addressing societal challenges), and fostering research integrity are critical for Open Geospatial Science that “Geo for All” stands for . Hence we are extremely pleased to support the excellent developments in Open Science led by the European Commission.

In June 2015, the Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation Carlos Moedas defined three strategic priorities: Open Innovation, Open Science and Openness to the World.

Open Science describes the on-going transitions in the way research is performed, researchers collaborate, knowledge is shared, and science is organised. It is enabled by digital technologies, and driven by:

  • the enormous growth of data,
  • the globalisation and enlargement of the scientific community to new actors (e.g. citizen science), and
  • the need to address societal challenges.

The institutions involved in science are affected (research organisations, research councils, funding bodies), as is the way in which scientific results are disseminated and assessed. This is reflected in

  • the rise of new scientific disciplines,
  • innovative pathways in publishing (among them a substantial rise of open access journals),
  • new scientific reputation systems, and
  • changes in the way the quality and impact of research are evaluated.

In the short term, Open Science is expected to lead to more transparency, research integrity, openness, inclusiveness and networked collaboration. In the long term, it should increase the impact and quality of science, making science more efficient, reliable and responsive to the grand challenges of our times as well as foster co-creation and Open Innovation.

More details at https://ec.europa.eu/research/openscience/index.cfm

The Directorate-General for Research and Innovation intends to establish a Commission Expert Group to provide advice about the development and implementation of open science policy in Europe.
It is therefore calling for expressions of interest with a view to selecting members of the High-Level Advisory Group ‘Open Science Policy Platform’ (OSPP). The group will consist of 20-30 high-level representatives of the broad constituency of European (open) science stakeholders.

The mandate of the Open Science Policy Platform is to:

  • advise the Commission on how to further develop and practically implement open science policy, in line with the priority of Commissioner Moedas to radically improve the quality and impact of European science;
  • function as a dynamic, stakeholder-driven mechanism for bringing up and addressing issues of concern for the European science and research community and its representative organisations, following five broad lines for actions which are presented in the draft European Open Science Agenda [1]
  • support policy formulation by helping to identify the issues to be addressed and providing recommendations on the policy actions required;
  • support policy implementation, contributing to reviewing best practices, drawing policy guidelines and encouraging their active uptake by stakeholders;
  • provide advice and recommendations on any cross-cutting issue affecting Open Science.

DG Research & Innovation is hereby calling for applications with the view of selecting stakeholders as members of the Open Science Policy Platform according to the criteria detailed in the Call for expression of interest.

More details at https://ec.europa.eu/research/openscience/index.cfm?pg=open-science-policy-platform 

So i request you all to share this info. widely and invite our colleagues who are contributing to Open Science to be part of this and support the EC .

Best wishes,

Dr. Suchith Anand
http://www.geoforall.org

[1] https://ec.europa.eu/research/openscience/pdf/draft_european_open_science_agenda.pdf#view=fit&pagemode=none

National level strategy for Open Principles in Geospatial – ideas and inputs needed

Few months back, i decided to start Free GIS Workshops and Think Tanks for UK government organisations, SMEs and startups at the University of Nottingham 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 in the UK [1]. This is now being replicated by our colleagues in Malaysia and other countries globally.

For background, 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 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.

In the geo field there are amazing developments happening in other countries in Europe. For example, in Spain where the joining together of universities, SMEs and local government resulted in gvSIG initiative (started in Valencia but now across Spain) where now national and local governments have shifted to free and open source GIS software (saving millions of Euros each year of tax payers money ) and also helped create hundreds of new highly skilled digital economy jobs through the starting of large number of local industry and SMEs providing value added services and customization that has resulted from this gvSIG initiative [3]. The “gvSIG” initiative was successful in Spain because it had strong collaboration between industry, local government and academia in Open Geo Services in Spain.

How can UK replicate gvSIG and other successful models ? I think we also need to similar model but customised for local needs and also have a National level focus. There are many things that are in our advantage including UK Government’s strong support and policy on Open Principles (this has already reflected in software procurement polices saving millions of pounds of taxpayers money but this just a tip of the iceburg). In the UK there are 433 principal authorities: 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 ,and every single one of them are using GIS, so imagine the costs per year of taxpayers money spend for buying proprietary GIS licences ! Now imagine the costs for not one year costs but costs for 5 years , 10 years, 25 years from now etc. It will be in billions of taxpayers money that should be spend for expanding investment in schools, universities,  healthcare etc NOT keeping paying to buy high cost proprietary GIS licences when there are now lot of open alternatives available and many other countries are already doing this. It will help also create and accelerate local innovation opportunities in location based technologies and stimulate local industry and accelerate new jobs creation in digital economy for value added services building upon technologies.

Professional Open source GIS software like QGIS http://qgis.org/en/site/  will help the local authorities and various departments in reducing huge annual license 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 and help create opportunities for local SMEs and startups.

There are many best practice examples from governments globally that we can make use of to learn and adapt to suit our requirements.

For example, The Netherlands were one of the first governments in Europe (back in 2007) to have an action plan for the use of Open Standards and Open Source Software in the public and semi-public sector. You can get the full details from https://www.ictu.nl/archief/noiv.nl/service/english/index.html

There are now lot of best practice examples from other EU governments at https://joinup.ec.europa.eu/community/open_standards_ict/og_page/best-practices-library

We are especially interested in examples of ideas and action plans from local authorities to make use of open technologies (esp in GIS) for helping reduce the high proprietary GIS licence costs as it is one of the biggest IT expenses in GIS. 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, i am interested in learning about examples from local authorities who are making this phased transition. This is especially important for Smart Cities programs and will help build an ecosystem at the local level and help create big opportunities for industry, SMEs and startups in the UK . This will create innovation opportunities locally. 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 allowing them greater branding freedom and product flexibility.

I am trying to look at other successful  phased transition examples from properitery GIS to free and open GIS in other countries to learn ideas. For example,one key aspect of gvSIG success in Spain was that they were thinking at national level while acting locally. They came to meet me few years back at Nottingham to learn what we are doing and share thier ideas (they also invited us to be honourary member http://blog.gvsig.org/2011/02/10/building-up-gvsig-community-in-uk/  ) and i was really impressed by thier clear implementation plans for the whole of Spain including developing strong value added support services for gvSIG across Spain through creating an Association for all SMEs to collaborate. They have been successful in expanding to other Spanish speaking regions but thier main drawback for wider global expansion was the focus on Spanish language . But  the launguage customisation and focus was also key thier local needs .

In UK there is already excellent early signs of effects (and this need to be accelerated) esp. in local government starting to happen with the UK Government policy and i understand that there are many local authorities now in the process of planning phased migration plans to QGIS for desktop GIS and also looking into open geo technology solutions for thier webbased mapping needs. I think this is a good sign but in my humble suggestion there needs to be a national level strategy for this (it is all being done differently in different local authorities) and we are missing an excellent opportunity of what the Spain and other countries have done by having Triple helix strategy – government, Industry and Academia” in place which helped accelerate developments and bring more cost efficiencies in the process. We also need to keep educating colleagues on the importance of protecting open standards [4] and open principles to ensure no monopolies are created in geospatial.

Another important development is now the central and local governments are in a strong position for the first time in history in terms of software procurement because there is lot of choice. It will force the properitery vendors (who used to be monopoly and dictate terms) to keep reducing thier high license fees and it just shows why it is important to have strong competition . So overall the UK taxpayers will benifit from savings of millions of pounds in software procurement for GIS in the future and the UK economy will benifit by this helping create more opportunities for SMEs and startups locally. So it will be double win for the UK government.

Also UK has already a fast growing ecosystem of SMEs in open geo services and this need to be supported by the right policy frameworks and instruments . For example, if you look at the SMEs in the OSGeo ecosystem in the UK , you can see many – starting from 1 person startups to companies employing hundreds [5]. The right policy frameworks is needed to help create the conditions for more RedHat type organisations [6] in the geospatial and smart cities sector for creating thousands of highly skilled jobs in the future. It needs someone with the National level vision to lead this and i am interested to hear from national level organisations who are interested to act as a bridge for this. So if you are working in central or local governments in the UK, please share my email with your colleagues and ask interested colleagues to contact me to discuss ideas.

Best wishes,

Suchith Anand
http://www.geoforall.org/

[1] http://opensourcegeospatial.icaci.org/2015/08/ree-gis-info-workshop-for-uk-government-organisations-smes-and-startups-the-university-of-nottingham/
[2] https://www.gov.uk/government/news/government-bodies-must-comply-with-open-standards-principles
[3] http://www.gvsig.com/en/gvsig-association
[4] http://www.osgeo.org/node/1518
[5] http://www.osgeo.org/search_profile?SET=1&MUL_COUNTRY[]=00002
[6] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Red_Hat

Invitation to seminar on “Geospatial Information for United Nations” on 14th March 2016

You all are invited to join a seminar ( join the live webcast)  on “Geospatial Information for United Nations” to be delivered by Kyoung-Soo Eom, Chief Geospatial Information Section, Department of Field Support, United Nations at the Politecnico di Milano, Italy. Thanks to Prof. Maria Brovelli and colleagues at Politecnico di Milano for organising this.

Date & Time : 14th March 2016 at 15.30 (Italy time) . Please check your local times.

The event will be also available in streaming at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mqKblSZUBd0

The UN Geospatial Information Section supports cartographic and geospatial information needs of the Security Council and the UN Secretariat including UN field missions, and oversees global GIS programmes at UN Headquarters and in the UN field missions. It provides fundamental geospatial products and applications, which can be for brevity summarized as Geographic Information System (GIS) services, to: Security Council members, decision makers, political analysts, information managers, planning & operation teams, humanitarian affairs, economic & social affairs, safety & security and logisticians with a wide array of geospatial services. It also supports Member States in boundary making activities upon request. The UN Geospatial Information Section, together with the Statistics Division, is providing support to the UN Committee of Experts on Global Geospatial Information Management (UN-GGIM), as co-Secretariat.

Mr. Kyoung-Soo Eom joined the United Nations Department of Peacekeeping Operations (DPKO) in January 1999, and he identified the missed opportunities in using geospatial information and GIS tools in order to meet the operational needs to support effective decision-making of UN peacekeeping operations.

In March 2005, Mr. Eom was appointed Chief of UN Geospatial Information Section (formerly UN Cartographic Section), to which he brought the newly established and successful GIS programme. In accordance with the Peace Agreement between Eritrea and Ethiopia, the UN Secretary-General designated Mr. Eom to serve as the Secretary of the Eritrea-Ethiopia Boundary Commission (EEBC), and he successfully provided all administrative and technical service support to the EEBC activities in 2006-2008.

In his “Geospatial Information for United Nations” presentation at Politecnico di Milano Mr. Eom will describe in details as follows:

1. What are the geospatial information and services requirements for United Nations operations.
2. How geospatial information and services are supported for United Nations operations.
3. Collaboration and partnership as well as vision, “Geo-enabled UN operations”

This also builds upon the synergies of the United Nations Technical workshop in Brindisi  (Italy) [1] last week to support the United Nations Open Geospatial (UNOGeo) initiative. Thanks to Massimiliano Cannata and Maria Brovelli for thier efforts on this. We will be strongly supporting and establishing collaboration with the United Nations for this initiative.Both Maria and Maxi are members of the technical committee of this new UNOGeo initiative and we congratulate them.

The possible contributions from OSGeo for this initiative are:
– expertise on open source software
– access to the incubation process
– bridge / connection with the private sector
– connection with OSGeo projects
– connection with Geo4All labs
– support in education, research and training

The keen interest in, and commitment to, OSGeo and FOSS4G by United Nations agencies resulted in the organization of a full day U.N. Special Session entitled “Open Source GIS in United Nations and Developing Countries” on September 16 at FOSS4G 2016 [2] .Thanks to Sanghee Shin for his efforts to make this possible and laying the foundations of our long term commitement to the United Nations community. I am confident we will build upon on these excellent developments and will have dedicated session for the United Nations in all future FOSS4G global events including FOSS4G 2016 Bonn http://2016.foss4g.org/home.html  this year to keep expanding our close collaborations with the United Nations.

So please join the webcast at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mqKblSZUBd0

Best wishes,

Suchith Anand
http://www.geoforall.org/

[1] http://www.unlb.org/
[2] http://2015.foss4g.org/united-nations-special-session/