Geo4All Cartographic Challenge – How Openness can help to reduce inequality

This year is International Map Year [1], a worldwide celebration of maps and their unique role in our world. It’s organized by the International Cartographic Association (ICA) and supported by the United Nations (UN).

To celebrate this year, ICA Commissions are preparing a series of activities to demonstrate the ability of Cartography helping to solve global issues, accordingly to the UN Sustainable Development Goals [2]

The result of this will be a poster exposition and an Atlas published by ICA. Each goal (there are 17) will have one poster. The Open Source Geotechnologies Commission got the Goal number 10 (“Reduce inequality within and among countries”). Under this goal, there are 7 targets detailed in page 21 of this document [3].

UN Sustainable Development Goal 10 –  Reduce inequality within and among countries

10.1  By  2030,  progressively  achieve  and  sustain  income  growth  of  the  bottom 40 per cent of the population at a rate higher than the national average
10.2  By 2030, empower and promote the social, economic and political inclusion of  all, irrespective of age, sex, disability, race, ethnicity, origin, religion or economic or other status
10.3  Ensure  equal  opportunity  and  reduce  inequalities  of  outcome,  including  by eliminating discriminatory laws, policies and practices and promoting appropriate legislation, policies and action in this regard
10.4  Adopt  policies,  especially  fiscal,  wage  and  social  protection  policies,  and progressively achieve greater equality
10.5  Improve  the  regulation  and  monitoring  of  global  financial  markets  and institutions and strengthen the implementation of such regulations
10.6  Ensure  enhanced  representation  and  voice  for  developing  countries  in decision-making in global international economic and financial institutions in order to deliver more effective, credible, accountable and legitimate institutions
10.7  Facilitate  orderly,  safe,  regular  and  responsible  migration  and  mobility  of people,  including  through  the  implementation  of  planned  and  well-managed migration policies
10.a  Implement the principle of special and differential treatment for developing countries, in particular least developed countries,in accordance with World Trade Organization agreements
10.b  Encourage  official  development  assistance  and financial  flows,  including foreign direct investment, to States where the needis greatest, in particular least developed  countries,  African  countries,  small  island  developing  States  and landlocked  developing  countries,  in  accordance  withtheir  national  plans  and programmes
10.c  By  2030,  reduce  to  less  than  3 per cent  the  transaction  costs  of  migrant remittances and eliminate remittance corridors withcosts higher than 5 percent

This challenge is a call for all Geo4labs for inputs to construct this poster in an open and collaborative way. The idea is to expand the poster to a website, where projects, applications, and other solutions could be shared. This is a great opportunity to showcase the labs outcomes in the UN environment in this very sensitive and important global issue.  Any other ideas on this project are welcome!

How to participate:

  • Send and abstract from 500 to 1000 words include as many pictures of classes, projects, field works, mapathons, and, of course, maps and map interfaces.
  •  Optional: Video with up to 5 minutes presenting your lab activities.
  •  Send the results to geo4all.cartographicchallenge@gmail.com until March 31st, 2016.

During the month of April, the posters layout ideas will be open to vote and collaboration.

Outputs :

  •    Poster and ICA Atlas
  •    Website with results and edited video
  •    Publication of the abstracts with ISBN

 

[1] http://mapyear.org//

[2] https://sustainabledevelopment.un.org/

[3] http://www.un.org/ga/search/view_doc.asp?symbol=A/RES/70/1&Lang=E

Future of GIS should be empowerment NOT enslavement – Examples needed for Geo4All newsletter

Around six months ago , i send an open letter to AAG humbly requesting to include Open Education principles  firmly in the new Advanced Placement course in Geographic Information Science and Technology (GIS&T) [1].  I was concerned by the enslavement strategy in geoeducation . I haven’t heard any updates but i really hope AAG will consider my humble request.We have moral responsibility to be the voice for open principles in geoeducation and protect open principles for our future generations.

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).
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. In order to achieve UN Millennium Development Goals 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 .But with the availability of Open Source GIS technologies now it offers a great opportunity for governments and municipal authorities in developing countries also to implement GIS tools for their decision making and implementation needs (without having to pay huge annual licencing costs to proprietary GIS vendors) 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 (NOT enslaving them by forcing them to pay high licencing costs ) to make sure future generations are fully empowered.

Thanks to our Geo4All colleagues, we have already seen lot of examples from our amazing colleagues globally of the potential of Geo technologies in empowering communities and helping improving the lives of some of the most poorest people and by capacity building staff and students and giving the geospatial tools to the municipal authorities for their infrastructure upgradation programs ( which in the long term will result in providing clean water, proper sanitation and hygiene facilities etc) and will help in improving the living standards of the people. It is with these aims that the Geo4All community decided to work on
OpenCitySmart – The Open platform for Smart Cities [2]. We will have an article on OpenCitySmart for our March 2015 newsletter.

So i request you all to
please send us examples of GIS empowering people, companies, startups and governments worldwide for our Geo4All monthly newsletter http://www.geoforall.org/newsletters 

Geo for All is the Open Source Geospatial Foundation’s Educational outreach and our mission for making geospatial education and opportunities accessible to all. Our monthly newsletters are key to reach out our ideas to thousands of readers and build new collaborations.We request wider geocommunity to share any updates/developments as short reports for next issue of Geo4All newsletter.

Also we want to hightlight the geospatial industry, SMEs and service providers building on OSGeo ecosystem [3]  in our future editions of our newsletter. The aim is to get the wider community know about the excellent companies and startups (generating hundreds of highly skilled jobs) that make the OSGeo ecosystem and encourage more collaborations and startups which will help accelerate digital economy for the future . This will create innovation opportunities globally and locally. For example, the startup community is especially open to the use of open software and data avoiding huge licensing costs and 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.


So please email our chief editor [email-  labrinos@eled.auth.gr  ] a short article about your company and how OSGeo software has been empowering you and enabling your growth . We also welcome
usecases and implementation examples of how OSGeo software and open principles in education are empowering universities, government organisations, NGOs etc. We will get your articles published in our newsletter in forthcoming issues. Please make sure you send your articles before 24th of every month to get it published in the next month’s edition.

We are looking forward to your contributions on examples of GIS truly empowering people, communities and organisations.We welcome everyone interested to join synergies and work together to support open principles in geoeducation and enable Geo technologies in empowering communities and helping improving the Quality of Life and standards of living for everyone. Let us all work together to help create a world that is more accessible, equitable and full of innovation and opportunities for everyone.


Best wishes,


Suchith Anand

http://www.geoforall.org/

[1] http://lists.osgeo.org/pipermail/ica-osgeo-labs/2015-June/001742.html
[2] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aWuMfMMPfPw
[3] http://www.osgeo.org/search_profile?SET=1

Flood Awareness Education Platform

On 16/17 January, the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF)  organized the first hackathon on a Global Flood Awareness System (GloFAS). More than 60 participants from research organizations, universities and industries joined for improving accessibility and visualization of GloFAS data by creating new downstream applications.

Anticipation and preparedness of large-scale flood events play a key role in mitigating their impacts and optimizing the strategic planning of water resources. Although a lot of countries have well-established systems for river monitoring and early flood warning, an increasing number of inhabitants is affected by floods every year. The Global Flood Awareness System (GloFAS) has been set up providing an overview on upcoming floodings in large world river basins.

On 16/17 January ECMWF hosted a hackathon aimed at improving GloFAS by developing innovative ideas and approaches. More than 3.5 TB of data have been prepared, partly served in an OGC-compliant Web Coverage Service Standard (WCS) for easier data access and retrieval. In the EarthServer-2 project, this WCS service is currently set up at ECMWF and further institutions in Great Britain.

Five teams submitted their work, most of them based on the Big Datacube server rasdaman running at ECMWF which offers 5-dimensional river discharge data, among others:

FloodIT: Providing more intuitive information based on GLOFAS which helps forecasting local floodings and pre-empting a catastrophe.
GloFAQ – Global Flood Awareness Queries: Innovative ways of providing end users with key information on potentially impacted infrastructures due to flooding.
Interception: A flood awareness education platform which helps informing people about alternative courses of action when a flood watch/warning alert is issued.
LIVE – Logistic and Infrastructure Visual Evaluation: Using GloFAS forecast information to create a ‘time to respond’ map.
The (flooded) Italian Job: An automatised modification of fixed GloFAS thresholds for warnings.

The winning team, LIVE, used GloFAS information creating a “time to respond map” that helps prioritizing decision making before or during a flood event. The second prize went to FloodIT, the third winner was Interception.

The GloFAS system is currently used by the International Red Cross in a pilot project in Daares-Salaam, Tanzania for finance forecasting which enables Red Cross to spot early on where flood disaster support is required. The FloodHack price money – in total 1,050 GBP – was donated to this project.

I would like to request colleagues  to please help with expanding ideas for  Flood Awareness Education Platform  that was developed at this event, so more educators and school teachers worldwide can make use of these resources for increasing awareness of extreme flood events and to help inform students about what they should be doing when a flood watch/warning alert is issued in their region. Overview at
https://docs.google.com/presentation/d/1p6LPj5nZAGzyI7jpRfdUScsnOVFDQyowWgoxqlkMR00/edit#slide=id.ged8e06e1a_1_0

Read more of the event at http://floodhack.devpost.com/

ecmwf

On behalf of Geo for All , i would like to thank  Julia and all our ECMWF colleagues for hosting an excellent event and all volunteers who gave thier time and time and expertise for helping improve the Global Flood Awareness System.

Best wishes,

Suchith Anand

OpenCitySmart – The Open platform for Smart Cities

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 (without having to pay huge licencing costs to proprietary GIS vendors) 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 (NOT enslaving them by continuing forcing them to pay high licencing costs) to make sure our future generations are fully empowered .

Thanks to our Geo4All colleagues globally, we have already seen many examples  of the potential of Geo technologies in empowering communities and helping improving the lives of some of the most poorest people . By capacity building staff and students and by providing the geospatial tools to the municipal authorities for their infrastructure upgradation programs etc ( which in the long term will result in providing clean water, proper sanitation and hygiene facilities, electricity etc)  will help in improving the living standards of the people.

It is with these aims that the Geo4All community decided to work on OpenCitySmart – The Open platform for Smart Cities. Thanks to the leadership shown by Patrick Hogan (NASA) and Prof.Chris Pettit (University of South Wales) and our amazing team of volunteers, we are now rapidly expanding this in collaborations with universities, government organisations and industry.

Open City Smart builds and uses open solutions to build richer toolboxes that empower organisations and people all around the globe to handle spatial (and non-spatial) data.This will create innovation opportunities globally and locally. For example, the startup community is especially open to the use of open software and data avoiding huge licensing costs and 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. 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 ETH Zurich [1] is linked with SourcePole [2] and more university labs are working to expand collaborations with industry and also help their students to create more startups in the future  expanding the digital economy creating more highly skilled jobs both locally and globally . If you look at OSGeo UK Chapter and there are now many SMEs in the UK (generating hundreds of highly skilled jobs) who are service providers [3] and doing training [4] etc in this and we need to think of ways to expand more opportunities and help create more new highly skilled jobs locally and globally .

GeoforAll have at our disposal all the most advanced and powerful geospatial software from the Open Source Geospatial Foundation, NASA’s World Wind, AURIN’s What if and many more open solutions (build on open standards and open data) to build richer toolboxes that empower people all around the globe to handle spatial (and non-spatial) data for Open City Smart. We also have dedicated global infrastructure through over 100 ICA-OSGeo-ISPRS research labs now established across the planet in the top research universities (mostly in USA and Europe but we are rapidly expanding in Asia and globally) and more importanly we have the amazing, dedicated and talented people power making this happen.

So we warmly welcome you to join us and expand collaborations through joint research projects and bids that our colleagues are actively working on. If you and your research group have the expertise in urban science, smart cities, and wish to be part of these collaborations, please make you add your details and expertise to our list at https://wiki.osgeo.org/wiki/Opencitysmart  and we will contact those with needed expertise for our various bids (to H2020, NSF and other national research funding organisations) that we are working on.

We also welcome active participation from universities and SMEs for our NASA Europa CitySmart Challenge . Details at http://eurochallenge.como.polimi.it  (Thanks to Prof. Maria Brovelli and Patrick Hogan for thier help)

We will have a dedicated session on OpenCitySmart at the GeoBigData workshop organised by the Geospatial IG of the Research Data Alliance https://rd-alliance.org/groups/geospatial-ig.html  on 8th June 2016 at University of Nottingham (coinciding with RDA Chairs meeting which will be hosted jointly by the University of Nottingham and British Geological Survey in Nottingham).

You can view overview of OpenCitySmart at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aWuMfMMPfPw  (This was presented at European Space Agency’s Earth Observation Science 2.0 conference at ESRIN, Frascati, Italy) . Thanks to Ant Beck for the video.

We welcome everyone interested to join synergies and work together to expand OpenCitySmart opportunities and enable Geo technologies in empowering communities and helping improving the Quality of Life and standards of living for everyone. Let us all work together to help create a world that is more accessible, equitable and full of innovation and opportunities for everyone.

Best wishes,

Suchith Anand
http://www.geoforall.org

[1] http://osgl.ethz.ch/osgl/index.html
[2] http://www.sourcepole.com
[3] http://www.osgeo.org/search_profile?SET=1&MUL_COUNTRY%5B%5D=00002
[4] http://www.osgeo.org/uk/training_providers

Invitation to NASA CitySmart Challenge – Solutions For Sustainable Cities

On behalf of “Geo for All”   , we would like to welcome strong global participation for the fourth edition of the NASA Europa challenge. The aim of this challenge is to inspire ideas for building great applications that serves the INSPIRE Directive and uses NASA’s open source virtual globe technology World Wind.

This NASA challenge attracts the best minds to develop their ideas covering a broad range of domains from transportation to air quality to linked data. The previous competition winners work is available at

http://eurochallenge.como.polimi.it/projects2013
http://eurochallenge.como.polimi.it/projects2014
http://eurochallenge.como.polimi.it/projects2015

We thank Professor Maria Brovelli (Politecnico di Milano, Italy) and Patrick Hogan (NASA) for their efforts for this initiative which adds great momentum to our efforts to promote openness in education and research worldwide. The Europa Challenge has always had Europe’s INSPIRE Directive to guide project development. This year we continue to have INSPIRE guide us and more specifically, we are looking for solutions specific to urban management. The CitySmart Europa Challenge is challenging the world’s *best and brightest* to deliver sustainable solutions serving city needs.

Almost every city needs the same data management tools as every other city. How can we help cities work together to be more sustainable, more livable and more resilient? If cities were able to share their solutions with each other, this would multiply their investment by the number of cities participating. Each city could develop different functionalities and then ‘share’ these with each other, massively increasing our planet’s collective productivity.

Simply build a great application that serves some aspect of the OpenCitySmart [1] [2] [3] design and uses NASA’s open source virtual globe technology, WebWorldWind. Whether you win or not, you will advance a platform that allows every city to win! This challenge is open to all on our home planet. See the 2015 Projects, 2014 Projects and 2013 Projects. China had top teams these past two years, India had an excellent team last year and Italy every year! A USA High School team from Alaska won First Place in 2015!  So students and SMEs are welcome to join the competition this year.

This year’s Europa Challenge is an excellent opportunity for the global community to begin working in collaboration and prepare for the increasing climate change scenarios in cities context.   Students are our future and looking at previous year’s contributions from Global Earthquake forecasts systems ( developed by some high school students from Alaska who went on to win the first prize in 2015!) http://www.edlinesites.net/pages/America_Bridge_Project/Europa_Challenge  to Urban Traffic Visual Analytics Simulator , it just shows the amazing contributions of these students and SMEs made for the global good and for the benefit of all.

Details at http://eurochallenge.como.polimi.it/

Those interested in being part of this global enterprise, please subscribe here http://lists.osgeo.org/cgi-bin/mailman/listinfo/opencitysmart . Your participation is very welcome.

We look forward to your strong participation for the NASA CitySmart Challenge 2016 and joining our mission to make geospatial education and opportunities available for all.

Best wishes,

Suchith Anand
http://www.geoforall.org

[1] http://wiki.osgeo.org/wiki/Opencitysmart
[2] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aWuMfMMPfPw
[3] http://lists.osgeo.org/pipermail/ica-osgeo-labs/2016-January/005027.html

The Open Source Geospatial Foundation turns 10

The Board of Directors of the Open Source Geospatial Foundation have send their greetings to everyone on the happy occassion of 10th Anniversary of when our  Foundation was founded (4th Feb 2006) at http://www.osgeo.org/node/1672 

Also i take this opportunity to welcome our  new OSGeo President Professor Venkatesh Raghavan and our new  Vice Presidents Professor Helena Mitasova and Dirk Frigne.

Details at http://www.osgeo.org/node/1667

By coincidence, i was reading  the  United Nations report on  Future trends in geospatial information management: the five to ten year vision report that some  colleagues send me this week . It is very interesting and relevant.

Executive Summary
. . .the most significant changes in the geospatial industry will come not through a single technology, but rather from linking multiple technologies and policies. [ this is exactly what OSGeo & Geo4All are doing :)]

and
Due to increased global urbanisation, it is expected that more focus will be placed on urban environments. The integration of smart technologies and efficient governance models will increase and the mantra of ‘doing more for less’ is more relevant than ever before. The emerging trends of Smart Cities and the Internet of Things, coupled with of smart resource management and interoperable services, will lead to a focus on citizen services, better land management, and the sustainability of resources. [ This is exactly our OpenCitySmart – – The Open platform for Smart Cities ideas in action [1], [2]  :) ]

Details at http://ggim.un.org/docs/UN-GGIM-Future-trends_Second%20edition.pdf

Happy birthday to OSGeo Foundation and may God’s grace and blessings be with all of us and OSGeo for our efforts to empower everyone with open geo principles  to help create a world that is more accessible, equitable and full of innovation and opportunities for everyone.

Best wishes,

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

[1]  http://lists.osgeo.org/pipermail/discuss/2016-January/015555.html
[2]  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aWuMfMMPfPw