Please support Presidents of Universities United against Hunger (PUSH)

Dear colleagues,

It was World Food Day [1] earlier this week  . It is very worring that Hunger levels are increasing globally. We need to promote worldwide awareness and action for those who suffer from hunger and the need to ensure food security and nutritious diets for all.

On behalf of Presidents of Universities United against Hunger (PUSH), I take the liberty to share with you the global pledge PUSH is  launching, attempting to gather as many universities worldwide as possible, in this common pledge against world hunger.

PUSH

PUSH is an initiative which unites universities in the fight against hunger and malnutrition. Nearly 800 million people struggle with debilitating hunger and malnutrition in every corner of the globe. That’s one in every nine people, with the majority being women and children. Leadership from the top will expedite progress in addressing this critical local and global issue. Presidents/Chancellors from four continents have signed the PUSH Commitment, establishing a framework for collaboration and a blueprint for action to achieve food and nutrition security. Details at http://wp.auburn.edu/push

As you will see in the PUSH_Presidents’CommitmenttoFoodandNutritionSecurity, there is no financial or other obligation from those who support the pledge, other than their commitment and the one of the university they represent, to state their commitment to be part of this global movement against hunger.

We would be most grateful if you could share this pledge with your contacts in universities to seek his/her signature to the attached pledge.  In turn, the signed copy could be scanned and sent back either to me or to the address appearing on it. Looking forward to your prompt response and strong support for our common pledge against world hunger.

Best wishes,

Suchith

 

[1] http://www.fao.org/world-food-day/2017/theme/en/

Call for tutors for the UN Open GIS Initiative

If you have expertise in QGIS and would like to volunteer your expertise for UN Open GIS Initiative online self paced  courses [1] please email  directly Prof. Maria Antonia Brovelli ( email – maria.brovelli@polimi.it )

The UN Open GIS Initiative aims at identifying and developing open source geospatial solutions that meets the requirements of UN operations, taking full advantage of the expertise of mission partners. The scope of the UN Open GIS initiative covers not only the development of geospatial software for the entire lifecycle of geospatial information at enterprise level from data collections, management, and sharing of geospatial data to geospatial analysis and web and mobile geospatial applications for UN operations, but also the capacity building of the UN for the sustainability and eventual technology transfer to other potential user groups.

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More details are at http://unopengis.org/about.html

Your help and support for the UN OpenGIS Initiative will be greatly appreciated.

[1] https://lists.osgeo.org/pipermail/geoforall/2017-September/004118.html

The Open Source Geospatial Foundation and the International Geographical Union sign MoU

Tsu, Japan, 30 September, 2017

The Open Source Geospatial Foundation (OSGeo) and the International Geographical Union (IGU) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to establish a collaborative relationship between the global community of Geography professionals and the Open Source Geospatial community. The goal of this agreement is to promote the distribution and use of open geo-data in research, teaching and applications, promote the development of related GIS and Remote Sensing Open Source software, to work closely with the GeoForAll initiative in promoting open principles in education and science, and to organize joint international workshops on global geo-information sharing through the use of open geo-data and Open Source Geospatial software

IGU1Fig: Professor Venkatesh Raghavan (President of OSGeo) and Professor Yukio Himiyama, (President of the IGU) at the MoU Signing at Tsu, Japan on 30th Sep 2017

Professor Yukio Himiyama, President of the IGU, said “The IGU Executive Committee believes that this MoU offers potential of to IGU and OSGeo to make great contribution to society, and is excited to assist bridging the world geographic community with the Open Source geospatial community, and to support this bottom-up initiative.Some IGU Commissions may plan to organize joint international meetings on global geo-information sharing, while still others may wish to promote the distribution and use of open geo-data sets, So, let’s work together!”

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Professor Venkatesh Raghavan, President of OSGeo, said “Partnership with IGU will help further the goals and objectives of the OSGeo Foundation and foster R&D of high societal value. This MoU will bring OSGeo and IGU communities closer and complement each others strengths and extend their global reach. This is exciting news for the OSGeo community and its GeoForAll educational outreach. Look forward for fruitful collaborations between IGU and OSGeo

*About IGU*

The International Geographical Union (IGU) is an international,non-governmental, professional organization devoted to the development of the discipline of Geography.The purposes of the IGU are primarily to promote Geography through initiating and coordinating geographical research and teaching in all countries of the world.

*About OSGeo*

The Open Source Geospatial Foundation (OSGeo) is a not-for-profit organization whose mission is to support and promote the collaborative development of open source geospatial technologies and data. GeoForAll [1] is a collaborative education and research outreach initiative of OSGeo for making geospatial education and opportunities accessible to all.

[1] http://www.geoforall.org/

GeoAmbassador – Sven Schade

On behalf of the GeoForAll community, it is my great pleasure to honour Sven Schade as our GeoAmbassador. Sven Schade is a Scientific Project Officer at the European Commission’s science and knowledge service, the Joint Research Centre (JRC). He is based at the Ispra site in Northern Italy. Being a Geospatial Information Scientist by education (among the first to study Geoinformatics in Europe), Sven became a strong promoter of open principles and public participation in scientific research. Building on a wide range of experiences reaching from Spatial Data Infrastructures (SDIs), data interoperability and Semantic Web technology, via environmental research and Citizen Science, all the way to decision support systems and scientific support to policy making, he got into the rare position of being able to interconnect highly diverse communities and to foster multi-disciplinary collaborations.

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Sven Schade

Examples of his service include his contributions as a member of the Advisory Board of the GeoForAll initiative (http://www.geoforall.org/), the Advisory Board of the European Citizen Science Association (ECSA, https://ecsa.citizen-science.net/) – as co-chair, and the council of the International Society for Digital Earth (ISDE, http://www.digitalearth-isde.org/). As an editor-in-chief of the International Journal of Spatial Data Infrastructure Research (IJSDIR, http://ijsdir.jrc.ec.europa.eu/) he also supports open and free publication practices. Recently the portfolio of research papers and critical notes from the field has been extended to geospatial data set descriptions, so that also research on gathering and processing data can be better rewarded.

One of his main activities at present concentrate on the relationship between Citizen Science (i.e. research conducted – at least partially – by laypersons) and environment-related policy making. As part of the so called Environmental Knowledge Community (EKC), Sven leads the related collaborative work with colleagues from the European Commission (DG Environment, DG Joint Research Centre, DG Research and Innovation, DG Clima, SDG Eurostat and the European Environment Agency), and external partners with a view to develop a shred understanding of environmental issues, improve decision making and strengthen trustful relationships. Apart from openness and transparency, the potentials in using geospatially-aware methods and tools are immense, and a highly important – but not the only – part of new and innovative solutions. Current investigations include, for example, the use of mobile application to monitor invasive alien species – plant and animals that spear outside their usual territory and cause harm to e.g. human health or agricultural production – (see http://digitalearthlab.jrc.ec.europa.eu/app/invasive-alien-species-europe); a mobile phone app and its use for raising awareness and collect data about natural protected areas, Natura 2000 (see http://digitalearthlab.jrc.ec.europa.eu/app/mynatura2000); and work on an open source (hardware and software) solution to accurately measure air quality (see http://www.mdpi.com/1424-8220/16/3/403).

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Parts of the above mentioned work is routed in the MYGEOSS project (http://digitalearthlab.jrc.ec.europa.eu/mygeoss/), to which Sven also contributed as part of the project team. It was an initiative to develop GEOSS-based (Global Earth Observation System of Systems) smart Internet applications informing European citizens on the changes affecting their local environment. Apart from few applications that were developed in-house by the JRC, the majority of applications was developed through three open calls for innovative ideas (with the condition to use and produce open source software and data). All source code has been made available openly. Behind the scenes, the experiences gained from this work, also helped to evaluate submissions to the University Challenge of the Copernicus Masters program (see, for example, http://www.copernicus-masters.com/prize/university-challenge/), NASA World Wind Europa Challenges (see, for example, http://www.nasaeuropachallenge.com/).

Alongside his services as program committee member to conferences such as AGILE, Big Data from Space, INSPIRE, and Earth Observation Science 2.0, Sven provides continuous support to the scientific tracks of the European and the International FOSS4G conferences. His ambitions to push for open science is also continued when reviewing scientific articles for journals such as PlosONE, First Monday, Transactions in GIS, International Journal of Geographic Information Science, Computers & Geosciences, and Semantic Web – Interoperability, Usability, Applicability Journal.

Sven is working for the JRC since 2013, where he was already employed for three years as a post-doc (2009-2012). Before re-joining the JRC, he worked at the European Environment Agency (EEA) as project manager for the Shared Environmental Information System (SEIS). In his early career, Sven spent ten years with the Institute for Geoinformatics (IfGI) of the University of Muenster – where he completed his diploma and PhD studies (in 2004 and 2009, respectively) and contributed to numerous national and European-level research projects in the area of geospatial information science. At IfGI, Sven was employed as a member of the Münster Semantic Interoperability Lab (MUSIL) and between 2006 and 2009 he also worked as technical consultant for Geospatial Partners s.r.l.

Everybody reading this and identifying items of interest I kindly invited to contact Sven directly. You are also kindly invited to submit an article contribution to IJSDIR, here: http://ijsdir.jrc.ec.europa.eu/index.php/ijsdir/pages/view/authors

We are proud to honour Sven Shade as our GeoAmbassodor and we are extremely grateful for his contributions to GeoForAll and for his selfless contributions for expanding geoeducation opportunities for all.

Best wishes,

Suchith Anand

 

The State of GeoForAll

The Slides from The State of GeoForAll presented by Helena Mitasova, Vaclav Petras, Anna Petrasova from North Carolina State University (NCSU) GeoForAll Lab  at FOSS4G 2017 Boston is at https://ncsu-geoforall-lab.github.io/geoforall/#/

State of GeoForAll

I also want to congratulate GeoForAll colleagues at the North Carolina State University, USA  for their excellent course “Tools for open geospatial science”.  Details at https://ncsu-geoforall-lab.github.io/open-science-course/

This is excellent course covering all key foundation topics of open geospatial science. This will be a really good structure for other universities to replicate ideas in their GIS courses.

ESA’s Earth Observation Open Science 2017

The European Space Agency (ESA) is organizing the 3rd consultation meeting of EO Open Science in ESRIN (Frascati, Italy) on  25–28 September 2017 to explore new challenges and opportunities for EO research created by the rapid advances in Information and Communications Technologies (ICT).

EOOpenScience

This includes open tools and software, data-intensive science, virtual research environment, citizen science and crowdsourcing, advanced visualization, e-learning and education of the new generation of EO and Data scientists. The conference will present activities in EO Open Science and Innovation and develop a Roadmap for future ESA  exploitation activities under the EO Science for society programme.

The schedule is at http://eoopenscience.esa.int

There is live streaming at https://livestream.com/ESA/OpenScience2017

 

btw we launched the OpenCitySmart ideas at EO Open Science in 2015 http://opensourcegeospatial.icaci.org/2015/07/launch-of-opencitysmart-the-open-platform-for-smart-cities/

Inviting everyone to contribute for keep building the global research agenda for Geospatial Data Science

Research Data Alliance (RDA) https://www.rd-alliance.org      is  a global community-driven organisation launched and supported by the European Commission together with partners from other regions of the world. RDA has the goal of building the social and technical infrastructure to enable open sharing of research data across geographical boundaries and disciplines. The RDA Plenaries are working meetings held every six months in different places around the world focused on helping move the community forward in creating tangible deliverables that improve data sharing across disciplines, technologies, and countries.

RDA10

The 10th RDA Plenary meeting will be held in Montrèal, Canada, 19-21 September 2017 . The Geospatial IG will be  meeting  at Montreal to keep building ideas for the global research agenda for Geospatial Data Science .  Details at https://www.rd-alliance.org/groups/geospatial-ig.html

The agenda and online connecting details at
https://www.rd-alliance.org/ig-geospatial-rda-10th-plenary-meeting

Please note one more important presentation  is now added to the agenda

The EarthServer Initiative [1]: Towards a Standards-Based Datacube Federation – Peter Baumann

I look forward to welcome you all for productive discussions and actions for keep us building  the global research agenda for Geospatial Data Science.

Best wishes,

Suchith Anand
[1]  http://www.earthserver.eu

Team of high school and undergraduate NASA interns win the GODAN Local Farming challenge Award 2017

On behalf of the G7’s Global Open Data for Agriculture and Nutrition (GODAN), I want to thank all students and mentors who contributed for the NASA Worldwind Europa Challenge 2017.

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In January 2017, GODAN released a call for participants to take part in a Local Farming Challenge, with support from the NASA Europa Challenge. The call aimed to bring together researchers and students to find solutions for local farming in growing cities, using open agriculture and nutrition data. Agriculture must respond to an increasing urban population and changing climate conditions. Optimising local food production to wisely support our nutrition needs is an area where creative solutions are essential to our future.

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We had a range of amazing projects submitted for this challenge . In August 2017, at the final awards ceremony event held in Nokia headquarters in Finland  we announced the winner of the GODAN challengeAgroSphere which was developed by a team of high school and undergraduate NASA interns

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AgroSphere is an educational web application that visualizes the effects of climate change on agriculture using a large collection of global agriculture and climate data.

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You can see all the amazing projects at http://eurochallenge.como.polimi.it/projects2017

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GODAN Award details at http://www.godan.info/news/agrosphere-wins-2017-godan-nasa-local-farming-challenge

Video recording of the event at https://livestream.com/Coup4/nasa-europa-challenge-2017/videos/162117612

Well done everyone and thank you for sharing your expertise for the benefit of all.

GeoAmbassador – Bridget Fleming

It is my great pleasure to introduce Bridget Fleming from South Africa as our GeoAmbassador. Bridget Fleming is the regional chair of GeoForAll Africa (along with Serena Coetzee and Rania Elsayed ) and has been actively expanding geoeducation opportunities for all. Bridget is a passionate advocate for using Geotechnologies in the classroom. She is the IEB (Independent Examination Board) geography national moderator and has authored a number of textbooks and digital classroom resources. She has recently returned to the classroom after a few years of running a start-up GIS company where she was involved in Geospatial education and training. She is on the National GISSA council (Education portfolio) and is the Chair of the Southern African Geography Teachers’ Association (SAGTA). She is presently HOD Geography at St John’s College  in South Africa.

Bridget is also one of the key organisors behind the success of the recent SAGTA+FOSS4G Africa conference hosted by St John’s College in Houghton, Johannesburg.. Bridget kindly send me the summary and photos which I have included below to give the bigger idea of the amazing work that she and colleagues are doing.

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From 26-30 June 2017 for the SAGTA, OSGeo Africa and the QGIS South Africa User Group held the FOSS4G Africa 2017 conference at the school, hosted by the geography department.  GIS is a burgeoning industry and is part of the school curriculum in South Africa. However, many schools do not have the facilities to teach it and most teachers don’t have the training. The first two days of the conference saw forty plus geography teachers and academics gather to address these issues, share their insights and get some hands-on training. GIS is a small component of the curriculum yet its greatest impact is through using it to teach geography and other subjects. It can play a major role in improving spatial literacy in learners.

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Highlights included talks and a workshop by Malcolm McInerney, the Australian keynote speaker, demonstrations of the tangible landscape in Mrs Jones’ geography classroom and hands-on QGIS workshops.

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On the Tuesday, SASDI (South African Spatial Data Infrastructure) held a successful workshop for fifty GIS professionals, academics and government officials in the Jeffrey auditorium.

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On the Wednesday, another thirty members of the GIS industry arrived for their three day technical conference, along with seventy members of GIS Society of South Africa (GISSA) for their quarterly general meeting. This was the big day of the conference, intended as an overlap between education and industry. Amongst several excellent education-related and technical GIS presentations, were two panel discussions. In one, educators discussed their requirements and how industry could help. In the other, industry discussed career paths and the skills required from the education system.

The Thursday and Friday saw some technical presentations and six four-hour hands-on workshops. Some adventurous teachers from Mthatha stayed on for this part of the conference! The guest speaker was Stephen Mather from Cleveland, Ohio, who started the OpenDroneMap (ODM) project. Besides the keynote, he presented a workshop on ODM where the class learnt how to process images from drones.

Some of the geekier delegates moved off campus on the Saturday for a GIS software code-sprint at the Johannesburg Centre for Software Engineering in Braamfontein, a great new IT innovation hub opened recently by Wits.  More details at https://foss4g-africa.org/en/home/

I am sure Bridget and colleagues will expand these ideas for the future. We are looking forward to building  strong research and teaching collaborations  worldwide in Open Geospatial Science. We are proud to honour Bridget as our GeoAmbassador and we are extremely grateful for her contributions to GeoForAll.

Best wishes,

Suchith Anand

OSGeo-Live 11.0 Released and available free for the benefit of everyone

Version 11.0 of the OSGeo-Live GIS software collection ( http://live.osgeo.org ) has been released, ready for FOSS4G 2017  http://2017.foss4g.org/ in Boston, USA.

We are very thankful for the  efforts of all  who have directly helped with OSGeo-Live packaging, documenting and translating, and thousands who have been involved in building the packaged software.   There is whole range of excellent software (DesktopGIS,  Databases, Webservices etc) available free for the benefit of everyone.

OSGeoLive

Full list of software available at http://live.osgeo.org/en/overview/overview.html

Download the OSGeo-Live 11.0 image at http://live.osgeo.org/en/download.html

This excellent resource is made  available to the global community thanks to the hardwork and selfless dedication of thousands of amazing volunteers. Thank you all for making this possible. Full details at http://www.osgeo.org/node/1809

Thank you to all OSGeo volunteers for your work that has made possible  Geo education opportunities  accessible  for all . Be our GeoAmbassadors and let  us pledge and work  for open principles in science and education  to eradicate extreme poverty and enable shared prosperity for all. Please support and share the philosophy of Openness in Geospatial Science  and Education

http://opensourcegeospatial.icaci.org/2017/07/the-pledge-i-support-open-principles-for-science-and-education-for-building-a-better-world-for-everyone/