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

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