Season’s greetings

As 2013 is nearly over, let me take this opportunity to thank each and every one of you for your support and contributions which helped to build up the “Geo for All” http://www.geoforall.org/   initiative. It has been amazing to see our humble initiative grow rapidly and this has been due to the dedication of all of you and I would like to thank you for your continued contribution.

I remember reading the Google Oxera report in the start of this year (Jan 2013) that estimated the revenues from global Geo services at $150 billion to $270 billion per year. This study is one of the first to consider Geo services as an industry in itself, encompassing all digital mapping and location-based services. Details at

http://www.oxera.com/Oxera/media/Oxera/downloads/reports/What-is-the-economic-impact-of-Geo-services_1.pdf

It clearly showed the excellent progress made by GIS and its significant contribution to jobs creation and digital economy. There was also a table listing the use of GIS in higher education (Table 5.2 ; Page 23) which clearly showed that very few universities in developing countries were currently running courses in GIS.  This is very disappointing that so many staff and students in the developing and poor countries and regions in our planet not having access to this rapidly growing area and we needed to take action so that everyone can study and benefit from geospatial opportunities. High cost proprietary GIS software packages are unaffordable for majority of users in developing and poor countries. Hence our Geo for All initiative is very timely as by using free and open source based GIS will help in the spreading geospatial education among the economically disadvantaged people and countries (without having to pay proprietary GIS vendors). In order to achieve UN Millennium Development Goals (in particular Goal 7) on themes like environmental sustainability, it is essential to provide free and open source geospatial tools to universities, government organisations etc in developing countries for helping them achieve these targets. Free and Open source GIS provides accessibility, low cost solutions and lowers the entry barriers for the use of geospatial technologies for all.

Today morning we welcomed our 64th ICA-OSGeo lab at the University of Geneva. Big welcome to Dr. Gregory Giuliani, Prof.Anthony Lehmann , Dr.Nicolas Ray and colleagues at Institute for Environmental Sciences http://www.unige.ch/envirospace  at the University of Geneva. I understand that they are also part of UNEP/DEWA/GRID-Geneva http://www.grid.unep.ch   (we already have UNEP Warsaw http://www.gridw.pl/  in our network , so it is good to see more collaborations developing at UN organisations).

Thank you to all of you, we have now put strong foundations for our “Geo for All” initiative from Australia to Uruguay and i am looking forward to working with you all in 2014 to rapidly build upon this. I also request all established labs to also help other universities in your region to establish Open Source Geospatial Labs as a new year resolution and be the ambassador of the initiative in your regions/country.

I wish you and your families very happy holidays and Happy New Year.

Best wishes,

Suchith

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