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

Statement of the Ministers for Agriculture at the Global Open Data for Agriculture and Nutrition Data (GODAN) Conference and the 4th Agritec Africa Exhibition

We recognize that data and innovation creates opportunities for people to influence their lives and future, reduce poverty, increase productivity, create jobs and participate in decision-making.

We underscore that sustainable agriculture can only be achieved with a broad alliance of people, particularly women and youth, governments, small holder farmers, civil society and the private sector, working together to secure a world that is food secure, without hunger and malnutrition.

We therefore resolve to take urgent actions to achieve sustainable agriculture, reduce food insecurity and nutritional challenges by constituting an African Intergovernmental Network on Open Data for Agriculture and Nutrition, under the auspices of GODAN.

We therefore decide to establish an Intergovernmental Coordination mechanism to support the network. The Intergovernmental Network on Open Data for Agriculture and Nutrition will hold an annual meeting. The next conference will be held in Uganda.

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The GODAN conference held in Nairobi  (14-16th June 2017) is a result of a commitment made by Kenya’s Cabinet Secretary for Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries, Mr. Willy Bett at the September 2016 Global Open Data on Agriculture and Nutrition (GODAN) Summit held at the margins of the UN General Assembly, in New York.

Thanks to the government of Kenya and Africa for their leadership for Open Data in Agriculture and Nutrition


Global Soil Week 2017

I want to thank the organisers and all participants for the very successful Global Soil Week 2017  in Berlin . The event brought together  representatives from governments, and scientific and civil society organizations to assess some the gaps and synergies in Sustainable Development Goals implementation.

Screen Shot 2017-05-26 at 11.25.14ISRIC, CIAT, GODAN and GIZ coorganised the Institutionalization of Open Data Workshop at the event . The aim of this workshop was to dentify gaps and challenges concerning the access to, the use of and the sharing of data; reflecting on strategies to make this data available and accessible to all: In order to improve the quality of agricultural extension services and to support decision-making concerning SLM implementation at the farm level, access to and availability of data (pedological, agro-ecological, socioeconomic) should be improved and ensured. In many cases, data are not available to agricultural service providers and/or are unavailable to the public. The underlying reasons for the unavailability of data can be manifold, ranging from unclear intellectual property rights to budgetary constraints which prevent making data usable and disseminating them. This working group will concentrate on the methods and mechanisms needed to render data available and accessible to all stakeholders, including local populations.

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All images thanks to GSW 2017

Thanks to Christina Ketter (GIZ) who coordinated the workshop ,  Ben Schaap (GODAN) , Leroy Mwanzia (CGIAR/CIAT) who did lot of  background work for this successful workshop. Thanks to Andries Bosman (ISRIC),for presenting GODAN Soils Working Group and ISRIC , Daniel Jimenez (CGIAR/CIAT ) , country presentations from India, Ethiopia, Columbia and all participants for the productive workshop.

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The links to presentations at:

Introduction to GODAN: Why we would need open data to achieve impacts with regards to SDG 2

Institutional Change from a capacity development perspective: Open data developments for policy making on a global level

It is good to see that the need for open data was acknowledged in the recommendations of GSW 2017 for the SDG HLPF.  We look forward toworking with you for expanding research ideas for contributing to the successful implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals .

The Open Source Geospatial Foundation (OSGeo) and the  Association of Geographic Information Laboratories in Europe (AGILE) signs MoU

On behalf of GeoForAll, i warmly welcome the MoU between The Open Source Geospatial Foundation (OSGeo) and the  Association of Geographic Information Laboratories in Europe (AGILE) to establish a collaborative relationship between the members of the AGILE and OSGeo communities.  The MoU was signed at the the 20th AGILE International Conference on Geographic Information Science at Wageningen, Netherlands on 10th May 2017 by Anita Graser (Board of Director, OSGeo) and Martin Raubal , Marinos Kavouras (co-chairs AGILE).












Anita Graser (OSGeo) with Martin Raubal , Marinos Kavouras (AGILE) at the MoU signing ceremony during AGILE 2017


The MoU with AGILE will add to the excellent synergies building with our other MoUs with  like minded organisations such as University Consortium for Geographic Information Science (UCGIS), the International Cartographic Association (ICA), International Society for Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing (ISPRS) etc and will build a cooperative research agenda for open geospatial science.

OSGeo-AGILE MoU details at

Best wishes,


The Twentieth Session of the United Nations Commission on Science and Technology for Development

The Twentieth Session of the United Nations Commission on Science and Technology for Development was held from 08 – 12 May 2017 ,Palais des Nations, Geneva, Switzerland. The twentieth session will review the progress made in the implementation of the outcomes of the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS).In addition, the Commission will hear presentations on national science, technology and innovation policy reviews.

Participants included Ministers and representatives of governments, civil society, the business community, academia and international and regional organizations. Most member States was represented by high-level delegations.

The first day consisted of an opening ceremony and two ministerial roundtables:

  • Contribution of the Commission to the 2017 theme of the Economic and Social Council, “Eradicating poverty in all its forms and dimensions through promoting sustainable development, expanding opportunities and addressing related challenges
  • Review of progress made in the implementation of World Summit on the Information Society outcomes,  held in the afternoon.

The Commission will address two priority themes, namely:

  • New innovation approaches to support the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals
  • The role of science, technology and innovation in ensuring food security by 2030

I am thankful for the opportunity to present my inputs to the esteemed members at the 20th session of the UN Commission on Science and Technology for development

UNThe slides of my presentation at

My presentation recording at

Open data and open principles in science and education are key for ensuring food security by 2030. It is now for us to make use of it, for the benefit of all. Let us work together to eradicate extreme poverty and enable shared prosperity for all. Thank you.

Best wishes,

Suchith Anand

















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,






Geospatial Data Science

Thanks to all who participated at the Research Data Alliance Geospatial IG meetings in Barcelona last week  to keep building ideas for the global research agenda for Geospatial Data Science [1],[2],3]. It was a pleasure meeting and discussing ideas with all.

Overview slides at



geodatascWe had a very packed agenda ,so could not get time for detailed discussions, so i would like to get more ideas and discussions by email  on all topics esp. on “The Rise of OpenStreetMap as a World Mapping Agency” [4].

How will OSM look in 2030?

*   What are the opportunities?
*   What are the barriers?
*   How will it contribute to economic development in the poorest regions of our world?
*   What role will digital natives play in widening participation, diversity, inclusiveness especially for the poorest people (who have less access to costly technologies)?

The full list of slides of all presentations are at

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

Is Geographic Information Science Proprietary?

Dear colleagues,

It has come to my attention that some proprietary GIS vendors are doing big marketing of thier proprietary products as the Science!  Science is not any specific GIS proprietary tools!


GeoForAll is a global community of scientists, academics and teachers  who are all working for  expanding Open Principles in Science and Education.  Our aim is to empower all academics and students worldwide. Openness is fundamental in harnessing the true potential of Geospatial Science and expanding digital economy opportunities for all . Open innovation is key in driving Digital Economy opportunities and we are determined to make sure that everyone benefits.

Why are Open Principles important in science and education ? Please see the links below

My presentation slides on this is at

For anyone opposing Open Principles in Education , i humbly request them to please consider supporting Open Principles in Education  as education and empowerment are key for getting rid of extreme poverty and help create digital economy opportunities also for billions of our economically poor brothers and sisters across our planet . Access to quality education opportunities is everyone’s birthright. So do join us and let us all work together to enable open principles in education to help create a world that is more accessible, equitable and full of innovation and opportunities for everyone.

Best wishes,


Dr. Suchith Anand

GeoForAll – Building and expanding Open Geospatial Science

Open Principles in Education & Science for bridging the digital divide