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/