GeoForAll Lab of the month – Institute of Geography, Faculty of Science, Pavol Jozef Šafárik University in Košice, Slovakia

It is my great pleasure to introduce our colleagues at the Institute of Geography, Faculty of Science, Pavol Jozef Šafárik University in Košice, Slovakia as the GeoForAll lab of the month. I would like to thank Dr.Michal Gallay for providing me all background information on the lab activities.

The Institute was established in 1998 and it is located in Košice – the second biggest city in Slovakia. Their research and education is organized by three research groups: Physical Geography, Human Geography and Regional Geography, and Geographic Information Science. The list of projects and publications provides an overview of their research is at .

Currently, the Institute is led by Prof. Jaroslav Hofierka, who is the director and a professor in Geoinformatics. He specialises on developing methods for multivariate environmental modelling and spatial analysis of environmental phenomena in the open-source GRASS GIS.

Recently, their GIS group ( has focused on 3D applications of combined use of terrestrial and airborne laser scanning in speleology and karst geomorphology (, which relates to optimization of processing and analysing big spatial data by the means of distributed computing. The findings improved the understanding of morphogenesis of the Domica cave by the means of 3D geomorphometry, assessing the photovoltaic potential in urban landscape also on buildings facades as 3D vector data. Some new methods of modelling the DEM surface, water flow and solar irradiation by parallelized modules in the GRASS GIS and the OpenMP library are currently under review. The most recent research initiatives specialise on spaceborne and UAV-based remote sensing. The feasibility study for the European Space Agency looks at the suitability of the Sentinel 2 multispectral imagery for ascertaining solar transmittance of urban greenery ( The project SEGMENT, with the partners from Comenius University in Bratislava, searches for new methods for land surface segmentation from microscale level to coarser level. High-resolution mapping with UAV and terrestrial lidar is the core method of data collection in this project.

Their research is closely integrated with teaching. Currently, they are running single Geography programme and Geography combined with another discipline in Bachelor level. The Master level offers two single degrees: (i) Geography and Geoinformatics and (ii) Geography with another discipline for teaching at primary and secondary schools. Since September 2017, they started the first year of a doctoral programme in Geoinformatics and Remote Sensing as the only institution in Slovakia. The PhD. programme is also open for anyone interested from abroad speaking good English ( ).

The students gradually develop the GIS skills from the first year as undergraduates. The compulsory courses of Cartography and GIS involve necessary theoretical knowledge needed in the practical classes. The practical develop standard skills of geospatial data handling and analysis in the two alternatives, the proprietary and open source GIS. Later in the following two years, the students can opt for Open-source GIS or Graphics in Geography. The Master programmes strengthens and expands the skills in the classes such as Geospatial analysis and modelling which elucidates procedures of solar irradiation modelling, soil erosion modelling, geographically weighted regression, water flow analysis, etc. The Unmanned Aerial Systems teach practical aspects of mapping with UAVs, related aspects of the national legislation, processing of aerial imagery by image-matching techniques. In a similar sense, the classes of Terrestrial Laser Scanning and Global Navigation Satellite Systems provide practical experience and data processing skills with the technologies. The Remote Sensing class focuses on theory and practise of processing the satellite and airborne imagery, lidar or radar data and interpretation techniques. Land Information Systems develop skills in web-based presentation of geographic data for management land management. Details of their study programs at










The students employ their geospatial competences in other classes of partial disciplines in Physical Geography and Human Geography. All GIS courses are provided in English for incoming ERASMUS+ students, the list can be found at .

The stated software, but also the hardware and geodata infrastructure are concentrated in two laboratories: the Laboratory of GIS and the Laboratory of Remote Sensing (

From the international point of view, two items have recently expanded the standard geospatial infrastructure that makes the labs unique. It is the Riegl VZ-1000 terrestrial laser scanner capable of online full-waveform processing up to 1400 meters and 550 kHz measurement rate. They are using it now for acquiring time-series of 3-D vegetation for ground truthing the solar transmittance derived from Sentinel 2 imagery in the project for ESA. The second item is a custom integration of the state-of-the-art technologies within an UAV platform capable of high-resolution and high-accuracy laser scanning, hyperspectral imaging, and photographic imaging. The technological solution comprises the latest development of a completely autonomous, unmanned helicopter by Aeroscout, the Scout B1-100 UAV helicopter that provides a payload capacity of up to 30 kg. Production of the UAV system and payload integration was financed within the project of University Science Park TECHNICOM co-funded by the European Union Structural Funds and the Ministry of Education, Science, Research and Sport of the Slovak Republic. More details are summarized in this ISPRS Archives paper ( ). They invite all interested researchers to contact them and in order to collaborate and use this specific equipment.

I want to thank Jaro Hofierka  and all colleagues and students at Pavol Jozef Šafárik University for their contributions to the GeoForAll initiative . We are looking forward to working and building more collaborations with all interested on this education mission.

Best wishes,


A Small Circle in Asia Contains More Than Half the World’s Population – But How many GI Scientists are from here?

For decades high cost proprietary GIS reduced the education and entrepreneurship  opportunities in GIS for the economically poor.



But now Thanks to the Open Source Geospatial Foundation and all OSGeo and open education volunteers , these inequalities for access to geospatial software and learning opportunities  is changing fast.It is the efforts of OSGeo volunteers that helped make tools like QGIS  available free to all schools worldwide forever.

Future is shaped by the decisions made by  everyone everyday. 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.

More details at

Lab of the Month – the Department of Civil, Environmental and Mechanical Engineering of the University of Trento, Italy

It is my great pleasure, to introduce our colleagues at the Department of Civil, Environmental and Mechanical Engineering of the University of Trento, Italy as the GeoForAll Lab of the month .The laboratory aims to support the research in the spatial information field, the development of FOSS4G systems and the education using FOSS. Research has lead to the development of new data processing techniques which have been implemented as FOSS4G, see e.g. the signal and image segmentation software by Alfonso Vitti [0] or GRASS’ modules for GNSS planning [1].geo1The PyGRASS library [2], which allows the access to low-level GRASS APIs using the python language, has been developed by Pietro Zambelli while he was PhD student at the laboratory for the Google Summer of Code 2012. Clara Tattoni and Marco Ciolli research is focussed on the use of FOSS4G in ecology: conservation of endangered species, invasion of pests and historical spatio temporal variation of alpine forest coverage and developement of future scenarios.     They have been organising a Summer school for Tanzanian Ecologists and International students for several years (see newsletter V2 n3). They recently digitized and distributed the historical map of the Italian Kingdom of 1936[6].









The laboratory has published a lot of educational material on its main web site [3]: GRASS and QGIS tutorials, lectures slides, live DVDs and Virtual Machines. It has organized many one-day workshops about FOSS4G during national and international conferences, including international FOSS4G meetings and for professionals [5]. The laboratory is involved in the Italian GRASS users and has hosted its 2001 and 2011 meetings. In 2002 the laboratory organized the “Open Source Free Software GIS – GRASS users conference 2002″, the first GRASS meeting in 8 years, starting a series of conferences which converged in the FOSS4G meetings in 2006.

geo4On behalf of the GeoForAll community, we thank Clara Tattoni, Paolo Zatelli and all colleagues from the the University of Trento’ lab for their contributions to the GeoForAll initiative and look forward to working and building more collaborations with all interested on this education mission.

Best wishes,













GeoAmbassador– Prof. Dr. Josef Strobl

It is my great pleasure to introduce our excellent colleague Prof. Dr. Josef Strobl as our GeoAmbassador. Josef Strobl is Professor at the Department of Geoinformatics at the University of Salzburg, Austria. He is one of the pioneers involved in expanding geoeducation esp. online GIS education through the UNIGIS International Association . He is not only the chair of UNIGIS but also the brains behind the success of UNIGIS . Josef  is the force behind GI_Forum GeoInformatics Forum Salzburg which helped establish University of Salzburg at the centre of key developments by bringing together the GI-Forum community to discuss new ideas and developments for the future.

I greatly admire his leadership abilities and vision. When we established GeoForAll, he was one of the first visionaries that we approached to serve on our Advisory Board . We thank Josef and colleagues for establishing the 75th OSGeo lab at the University of Salzburg.











A geographer by training and research, Dr Strobl has over 30-years research and teaching experiences. He obtained his Master and PhD from the University of Vienna in 1982 and 1984, respectively. His research interests are in Geographical Information Science and Systems, Remote Sensing and Image Processing., Spatial Analysis, Digital Terrain Models, Spatial modelling of renewable energy potentials, Spatial Statistics and Geostatistics. Modelling and Simulation of dynamic processes. Open Systems architectures, interfaces, metadata and catalogues – SDI, Location based services. Internet-based distance education. Active learning in online environments and design of interactive learning materials, Learning with Geoinformation – from spatial awareness to thinking to citizenship.

His services to the geo community are immense. He serves as the Full Member, of Austrian Academy of Sciences (ÖAW) and Chair ÖAW Commission for GIScience. He is the Co-Founder and President (2007-2011) Austrian Umbrella Org. for Geographical Information (AGEO).. Board. He is the Founder and President since 1999 International Institute for Geographic Information (IIG).

Josef is member of GISIG Executive Committee , Member of Eurogi Executive Committee , Council Member of the International Society of Digital Earth (ISDE ). Josef serves in the Editorial board memberships of GIScience , International Journal of Geoinformatics , ISPRS International Journal of Geo-Information ,Journal of Geomatics .He has (Visiting) faculty positions at many universities worldwide.
I am grateful for this opportunity of introducing some of our amazing colleagues from different parts of our world each month as our GeoAmbassadors and get inspired by their amazing work and contributions for the wider community. We are proud to honour Josef as our GeoAmbassodor and we are extremely grateful for his contributions to Geo for All. Josef is a great ambassador for Geospatial Science globally. May I also use this opportunity to send greetings on behalf of GeoForAll to all colleagues now  at GI_Forum 2017 this week (July 4-7 , 2017) and wishing them productive meetings and discussions.

Best wishes,
Suchith Anand

FOSS4G Africa 2017 spreads ideas to expand GeoEducation and empowerment across Africa

Greetings to all our colleagues who worked for the success of FOSS4G Africa 2017 in Johannesburg this week. It is also a great lead-up to FOSS4G 2018 in Dar es Salaam and to expand the wave of ‘Openness’  that is  sweeping across the world and gains traction and momentum in every facet of society.

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Thanks to  SAGTA (Southern African Geography Teachers’ Association) and  it is great to see that they have teamed up with the world of secondary and tertiary education .  Our thanks to every member of the GeoForAll Team who made this happen and the impacts that you all are now starting will be felt everywhere in the future.

The full conference program, keynotes at


GeoAmbassodor – Patrick Hogan

It is my great pleasure to introduce our colleague Patrick Hogan (NASA) as our GeoAmbassador.











Patrick Hogan began his U.S. Government career with the Environmental Protection Agency in 1990, and then joined NASA a year later as their senior environmental geologist at Ames Research Center. In 2002 Patrick was asked to lead the NASA Learning Technologies program. This is where NASA World Wind was born, the world’s first open source virtual globe program. In 2009 World Wind received the prestigious NASA Software of the Year award. There are versions of World Wind in Java, Android and for the Web in JavaScript.

NASA has a motto, ‘for the benefit of all.’ In this spirit, NASA World Wind helps the world advance innovative solutions for spatial data in the realm of free and open source software, as well as proprietary. In recognition of this work, Patrick was awarded the NASA Exceptional Achievement Medal.

Patrick graduated in 1985 with a Masters in Earth Science and a teaching credential and was a High School science teacher for a couple years and then, as a licensed Professional Geologist and Registered Environmental Assessor, did geo-tech subsurface cleanup work for major refineries and the mining industry. Patrick is a former commercial deep sea diver and pilot, as well as a big fan of the Italian Renaissance.

We are especially grateful for Patrick’s efforts in creating the NASA Europa Challenge initiative which adds great momentum to our efforts to promote openness in education and research worldwide. Now in its fifth edition  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

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. This challenge is open to all on our home planet. 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 and 2016!) 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 and overview video at

Those interested in being part of this global enterprise, please subscribe here  . Your participation is very welcome.

We look forward to your strong participation for the NASA CitySmart Challenge 2017and joining our mission to make geospatial education and opportunities available for all.

Geo for All is a worldwide movement that provides immediate benefit to the world. We aim to create openness in Geo Education for developing creative and open minds in students which is critical for building open innovation and contributes to building up Open Knowledge for the benefit of the whole society and for our future generations. We are proud to honour Patrick as our GeoAmbassodor and we are extremely grateful for his contributions to Geo for All.

I am grateful for this opportunity of introducing some of our amazing colleagues from different parts of our world each month as our GeoAmbassadors and get inspired by their amazing work and contributions for the wider community.






GeoAmbassador– Dr. Peter Mooney

Dear colleagues,

It is my great pleasure to introduce Dr. Peter Mooney as our GeoAmbassador. Peter Mooney received his PhD in Computer Science in 2004 from Maynooth University. The topic of his PhD research was on shortest path optimisation. For the next number of years he worked with the Irish Environmental Protection Agency as a Research Fellow. During this time he began working in the areas of FOSS4G, Open Data and Volunteered Geographic Information (VGI). Indeed Peter has been actively working as a researcher in the area of VGI and Citizen since 2009. With the EPA he has worked as a web developer, database administrator and more recently as a software developer for the National Ambient Air Quality network.


Dr Peter Mooney

In 2015, Peter took up a temporary position as lecturer in Computer Science at Maynooth University and in early 2017 he was appointed as a tenure track lecturer. In the summer of 2015 he became the European Co-Chair of GeoForAll with Prof. Maria Brovelli. Peter led a strong Irish proposal to host the global FOSS4G 2016 conference in Dublin but narrowly missed out to the fantastic Bonn FOSS4G 2016 bid. With colleagues in 2017 he is working to establish the first Irish OSGeo Local chapter. At the end of May this year there will be the first Irish OSGeo event with the 1st Irish OSGeo Symposium [1].

Peter is involved in many key activities. Summary of current activities below

– establishment of the first Irish OSGeo Local chapter
– co-editor on a number of special issue journals on Volunteered Geographic Information and Citizen Science namely [2]  [3]  [4]
– OSGeo Rebranding project  – Peter has volunteered to give input from  an academic perspective, making sure the website/rebranding supports the work we do with GeoForAll. He will also be providing a perspective from OSGeo local chapters.
– Data Quality Working Group Co-chair for the European COST Action “Citizen Science to promote creativity, scientific literacy, and innovation throughout Europe” [6]
– Recently co-chaired a very successful international workshop on Crowdsourcing in National Mapping [7]. Peter is passionate in his research and advocacy of VGI usage by government organisations and for use in policy making at a regional, national and international level
– Peter teaches on an MSc in Geocomputation in the university on topics such as web-based mapping (Leaflet and OpenLayers) and spatial databases (PostgreSQL PostGIS)
– In Peter’s other teaching activities to undergraduate and postgraduate courses he focuses on always using open source software and open data. For example in teaching Database Technologies to undergraduates he uses PostgreSQL and uses openly accessible data from sources such as OpenStreetMap for the purposes of examples.
– He encourages all of his research students to use the OSGeo Live Lubuntu O/S distribution for their work.
– His own research work focuses on developing methods to assess the quality of VGI and CS data, emphasis their usability and fitness for purposes, and the use of FOSS4G and OpenData as complimentary/ integrable components to official or authoritative processes.
We are proud to honour Peter Mooney as our GeoAmbassodor and we are extremely grateful for his contributions to Geo for All and this selfless contributions for expanding geoeducation opportunities for all.

Best wishes,






GeoAmbassador – Michael P. Finn ( U. S. Geological Survey)

It is my great pleasure to introduce Michael P. Finn as our GeoAmbassador. Michael P. Finn is a Research Cartographer in the U. S. Geological Survey’s Center of Excellence for Geospatial Information Science. He holds a BS in Geography with a Minor in Cartography and Map Technology from Southwest Missouri State University (now Missouri State University) and an MS in Civil Engineering from Virginia Polytechnic Institute & State University. Mike has worked as a Computer and IT Specialist, and a Research Cartographer with the US Geological Survey for the past 17 years. He also has 10 years of experience with the US Air Force and 7 years with the Defense Mapping Agency.


Mike Finn

Mike serves or has served on the Boards of Directors of the Cartography and Geographic Information Society (CaGIS), the American Society for Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing (ASPRS), and the Cyberinfrastructure Specialty Group of the Association of American Geographers (AAG). He has also served as the Director of the GIS Division for ASPRS. Mike is currently serving as President of CaGIS after serving as President-Elect in 2015 and Vice President in 2014. In addition, Mike is a member of the Editorial Board for the journal Cartography and Geographic Information Science.

For international scientific service, Mike is currently serving as Vice-Chair of the International Cartographic Association (ICA) Commission on Open Source Geospatial Technologies for the 2015 – 2019 term. In addition, he is and has been an active member of the ICA Commission on Map Projections. Previously, Mike served as a Co-Chair of the International Society for Photogrammetry & Remote Sensing’s (ISPRS) Technical Commission IV (TC – Geodatabases and Location Based Services), Working Group 4 (Geospatial Data Infrastructure) for the XXIIIrd ISPRS Congress (2012 – 2016) and Co-Chair of the TC IV (Geodatabases and Digital Mapping), WG 1 (Geospatial Data Infrastructure) for the XXIInd ISPRS Congress (2008 – 2012).

His research interests are in data-intensive and high-performance computing for scientific applications using digital geospatial data; in geodesy, spatial coordinate systems, and map projections; in quantitative approaches to imaging in environmental modeling and GIS. Mike is the Principal Investigator for CEGIS’ research project for Data-Intensive and High-Performance Computing. The principal objective is to explore data-intensive and high-performance computing, particularly within the CyberGIS domain, to support lidar and spatial data processing for te 3D Elevation Program (3DEP) of the US. A second objective is to investigate big data approaches and workflows with lidar and 3DEP as well as other big data integration with other USGS science data.

Mike’s recent research has been focused on on varied spectrum of activities from CyberGIS data services for enhancing the usability of high-resolution national topographic datasets to MPI and parallel file systems for processing large files in the LAS format. He has also worked on CUDA-based parallel map projection methods as well as problems with spatial binning relative to map projections. He has also contributed actively to the scientfic community from serving as member of the Editorial Board of the journal Cartography and Geographic Information Science to International Scientific Committee for the International Cartographic Conference, 2017

Mike and Silvana Comboim has been leading the ICA commission on Open Source Geospatial Technologies . They have successful organised the ICC workshop on Spatial data infrastructures, standards, open source and open data for geospatial (SDI-Open 2015)  jointly with the ICA Commission on Geoinformation Infrastructures and Standards, the Commission on Open Source Geospatial Technologies , Open Source Geospatal Foundation (OSGeo) and the Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC) on 20 and 21 August 2014 at Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics (IBGE) in Rio and the conference itself   was a great opportunity to strengthen the “Geo for All” initiative and to reinforce the key projects and research links for the future. Mike organised the workshop on “Advancing GIScience with Open Source Technologies,” on behalf of the ICA Commission on Open Source Geospatial Technologies, held in conjunction with AutoCarto 2016, in Albuquerque, New Mexico. A report with pictures on the workshop can be found at and

Mike is the co-organizer of the International Cartographic Conference 2017 Pre-Conference Workshop on Spatial data infrastructures, standards, open source and open data for geospatial (SDI-Open 2017), Washington, DC ( ). I believe OpenSDI is a very important initiative

I want to thank Mike for all his contributions to GeoForAll community. I understand Mike will be retiring from government service later this year but i am sure he will be closely involved with GeoForAll activities as before. We are proud to honour Mike as our GeoAmbassodor and we are extremely grateful for his contributions to Geo for All.

Best wishes,


“GeoForAll” Lab of the Month – Czech Technical University in Prague, Czech Republic

It is my great pleasure, to introduce our colleagues at Faculty of Civil Engineering, Department of Geomatics, Czech Technical University (CTU) in Prague, Czech Republic as our “GeoForAll” lab of the month. CTU is one of the founding labs as part of the worldwide network of OSGeo laboratories following the motto Geo for All.

The GeoForAll Lab [1] (formerly OSGeo Research and Education Laboratory) is located at the Czech Technical University in Prague, Faculty of Civil Engineering, Department of Geomatics, Czech Republic. Their mission, as one of the laboratories in the OSGeo worldwide university network, is to develop collaboration opportunities for academic, industrial, and government organizations in open source GIS software and data . See the announcement and info at GIM) [2].


Figure 1 – Summary of CTU’s FOSS4G education activities [4]

The laboratory was established by Martin Landa and was the first lab to be established under the ICA-OSGeo MoU in Czech Republic. It has been expanding and providing support for the development and documentation of open-source geospatial software . The laboratory is devoted to education in geoinformatics using FOSS4G, and to research in open source software development for geospatial applications. CTU in Prague has a strong track record in Geoinformatics . Prof. Aleš Čepek has established a study program in geoinformatics since 2005 (originally with Prof Leoš Mervart), he is the author of project GNU Gama and of a minor project GNU Sqltutor (both hosted at GNU servers) and the editor in chief of Geoinformatics FCE CTU journal [2].

The major focus of CTU GeoForAll lab is software development. They are contributing to various international Open Source Geospatial Software projects, namely GRASS GIS, QGIS, and GDAL. Martin Landa is an OSGeo charter member since 2011 and a member of the GRASS Development Team since 2006. He is actively involved in the GRASS project as the lead architect of graphical user interface (GUI) development and PostGIS integration in GRASS vector architecture.

I am impressed to see the excellent student projects done at CTU. For example for the Google Summer of Code 2016 , Adam Laža’s project on “Complete basic cartography suite in GRASS GIS wxGUI Map Display” and Ondřej Pešek’s project on “PyQt GUI generated from XML” are great exampes of contributions from the CTU sutdent community to the wider OSGeo community.

There is also an impressive range of Masters student projects [3] of GeoForAll (OSGeoREL) Lab at CTU in Prague at

I would like to thank Martin and all colleagues and students at CTU for their contributions to the GeoForAll initiative . We are looking forward to working and building more collaborations with all interested on this education mission.

Best wishes,






Open innovation for Europe – FOSS4G-Europe 2017 – Call for academic GeoForAll track papers (coorganised by ICA, OSGeo and ISPRS)

FOSS4G-Europe 2017 will be held  at the National School of Geographic Sciences (ENSG) in Marne La Vallé, France, from July 18th to 22nd, 2017 . The third edition of the conference is organized at École Nationale des Sciences Géographiques (ENSG).  Following an established tradition, FOSS4G-Europe organizes an academic track  which will run as a single-track over one day. FOSS4G-Europe invites original research contributions scientific papers dealing with Open Data, Open Software, Open Hardware and Open Science in general are highly welcome. Submissions focusing on INSPIRE, Big Data and Societal Challenges are particularly encouraged. All types of papers are welcome, such as on results achieved, case studies, work in progress, and demos. We discourage, however, mere presentations of technology or use cases without properly justifying originality against the scientific state of the art and without particular novelty.

Submission deadline: March 31, 2017
Acceptance notice: April 14, 2017
Camera ready version: May 15, 2017
Conference: July 19, 2017

Details at

We look forward to your submissions and strong participation for Open innovation for Europe – FOSS4G-Europe 2017