Education for the City we need – how to integrate the UN-Habitat NEW URBAN AGENDA in higher education curricula?

Last week (7 – 9 June 2017) TU Delft organised  an Urban Thinkers’ Campus (UTC ) on Higher Education for the New Urban Agenda. The title of the UTC was “EDUCATION FOR THE CITY WE NEED”.  A concept sponsored by UN HABITAT in partnership with the World Urban Campaign.delft

The aim of the meetings was to explore how to integrate the UN-Habitat NEW URBAN AGENDA in higher education curricula. How do we prepare young professionals to understand and implement challenges related to the New Urban Agenda in diverse national and local developing environments? That’s the question the Urban Thinkers’ Campus aimed to answer.

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The New Urban Agenda is the outcome document agreed upon at the Habitat III cities conference in Quito, Ecuador, in October 2016 and signed by all the UN member states.This event brought together speakers and participants  to discuss strategies, methodologies, literature and practical exercises that can be implemented in higher education courses in Europe and elsewhere. Our attention is on social, economic and environmentally sustainable urban development everywhere, but the challenges of urbanisation in the Global South are truly urgent.

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I would like to thank the organisors for the excellent initiative and for inviting me to share our ideas and the need for Open Principles in Education for  “EDUCATION FOR THE CITY WE NEED”. I hope Open Principles in Education is firmly included in the education ideas for the future.

I fully support TUDelft Global mission statement “Science for the benefit of people. All people. Worldwide.”

“GeoForAll” Lab of the Month – WorldBridge

Dear GeoForAll Colleagues,

As I started on this “Lab of the month” series for the Geo for All newsletter, I myself started learning more and more about the excellent work that our amazing colleagues globally have been doing. This month, I am pleased to share the excellent work of WorldBridge who are involved in International Real-time, Real-world Collaborative Projects by Trillium Learning. WorldBridge is an international award-winning program for learning 21st Century Skills, using advanced teaching methods that incorporate real-world projects involving industry and government partners. A World Bridge continually advances educational models for international leadership, economic development and educational research. These dynamic projects involve the design and implementation of Real-world, Real-time Project-Based Learning into the curriculum. Students develop professional skills while working on locally-oriented projects that have relevance to the larger global community, such as urban management and sustainable resources. Details at http://aworldbridge.com

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I was particularly impressed by their work with students through NASA Europa Challenge . Alaska’s A World Bridge program in Kodiak won back-to-back NASA Europa – International Grand Challenges the past two years, competing against the world’s “Best and the Brightest” to generate solutions to societal issues that will benefit both the local and world communities. The competition includes top universities and commercial organizations – the 2015 Alaskan team represented the first high school to be involved in the competition. The Earthquake Signal Precursors (ESP) project (aka Global Earthquake Forecast System) is a revolutionary initiative that will advance the field of earthquake science using a dynamic monitoring system of earthquake precursor signals that have the potential to forecast imminent seismic activity. ESP can serve as a cornerstone to inform the community for the increasing risk of an earthquake. The current work monitors the Earth’s magnetic field for anomalies. These anomalies have been consistently shown to shortly precede actual seismic events by several hours to a few days.

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Members of the Kodiak Team working on their project (picture courtesy of Trillium Learning)

The students are also working on the NASA OpenCitySmart global initiative, which challenges “the world’s best and brightest” to find solutions for creating sustainable communities. They are looking for renewable energy solutions and the development of shared energy grids suitable for Arctic conditions. Students are also working on building new types of greenhouse systems that can withstand extremely cold temperatures, technology that could have enormous impact on agriculture in the Arctic. This is a great example of accelerating academic performance for students in STEM to greatly enhance the quality of our next generation of scientists, technologists, engineers and mathematicians. See more details at

http://www.gettingsmart.com/2017/03/building-world-bridge-college-career-life-readiness/

http://www.arctic.gci.com/blog/2017/1/31/kodiak-students-team-with-scientists-to-impact-arctic-the-world

We thank Ron Fortunato who is a pioneer and innovator in the development and implementation of educational technology. He is one of the original five Christa McAuliffe Educators in the USA selected by the National Foundation for the Improvement of Education, and a NASA Space Ambassador for the United States. His understanding of teaching and learning processes, real world project-based learning and program implementation enable him to design and produce effective learning environments.

Thank you Ron and WorldBridge Team for making possible. It is important that we can share these amazing ideas with all, so that it keeps building more synergies. We are a global community and it is this global perspective which gives us strength. It is important that we highlight and share ideas from colleagues in different parts of our home planet.

Best wishes,

Suchith

 

Recording of Webinar on “Publishing open data from an organisational point of view”

Currently, nearly 800 million people struggle with debilitating hunger and malnutrition and can be found in every corner of the globe. That’s one in every nine people, with the majority being women and children. The Global Open Data for Agriculture and Nutrition (GODAN) supports the proactive sharing of open data to make information about agriculture and nutrition available, accessible and usable to deal with the urgent challenge of ensuring world food security. A core principle behind GODAN is that a solution to Zero Hunger lies within existing, but often unavailable, agriculture and nutrition data.

At the GODAN Summit [1] in September 2016, GODAN launched a new Working Group on Capacity Development [2]. We have started a webinar series to reach out to the wider community on the importance of open data.  The first webinar took place on  March 2017 where we gave an overview of the activities of the WG and how you all can get involved. The webinar recording is available at http://aims.fao.org/activity/blog/recording-past-webinar-godan-wg-capacity-development

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The second GODAN Capacity Building  webinar was on  “Publishing open data from an organisational point of view” and was lead by GODAN Action colleagues from the Open Data Institute [3] in London.

Webinar Speaker – Dr David Tarrant joined the Open Data Institute from the University of Southampton where he was a Lecturer in the Web and Internet Science Group. David has over 12 years of experience with the open agenda including a PhD on measuring the impact of open science. Before leaving the University, David created the first undergraduate course focussing on open data science.

The recording of the webinar is now available at https://youtu.be/WXUSBU6cRAo
This webinar focussed on  key aspects:

– Why publish open data
– What benefit can publishing open data bring
– Why licenses are the most important aspect of publishing open data
– How to start with publishing open data

This webinar will draw on content available in existing eLearning and in particular, will focus on the following eLearning modules available in the European Data Portal.

We shall also be drawing on the following module to outline the importance of staying focused in publication activities.

4) Measuring success for open data – https://www.europeandataportal.eu/elearning/en/module6

 

We welcome all interested in joining the GODAN WG on Capacity Development and contributing to education and training on Open Data in food and agricultural sciences. This is open and free to all interested. Join at https://dgroups.org/fao/godan_cd

 

 

“GeoForAll” Lab of the Month – the Laboratory of socio-geographical research of the University of Siena, ITALY

Dear Colleagues,

It is my great pleasure, to introduce our colleagues at the Laboratory of socio-geographical research of the University of Siena, as our “GeoForAll” lab of the month. The University of Siena is one of the most ancient Italian Universities, founded in 1240. LADEST is the Laboratory of socio-geographical research of the University of Siena, based in the Department of Social, Political and Cognitive Sciences. The laboratory specialises in data collection and spatial analysis, Geographical Information Science, and territorial data mapping. Since the area of geography is a cornerstone of the activities, the expertise of LADEST – which includes volunteered geographic information (VGI), user-generated content (UGC), semantic analysis, photo-sharing, social networks dynamics, data mining and GIS based data visualization – will benefit the endeavour impacting on different projects.

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Prof. Cristina and colleagues at LADEST, University of Siena

LADEST employ mainstream GIS tools as well as applications developed in house to retrieve photo from Flickr or Tweets from Kowalski which has been one of the first experiment (in 2013) to retrieve georeferenced Tweets. They also developed TEA, TouristExperienceApplication at http://tea.ladestlab.it/

LADEST benefits from international exchanges and recently had two visiting professors namely Georg Gartner (TU Wien) and Claire Ellul (UCL) who have enriched the work done at LADEST with their lectures and citizen science experimentation.

In 2011 the University of Siena founded a sustainability network, Nesso (Network Siena Sostenibile) to foster fruitful exchanges with interested parties in order to define sustainable policies and operating solutions and then became a regional centre of the UNSDSN network. So Ladest is also engaged in sustainable development, sustainability indicators, smart cities.

LADEST has been the leader of a 4 year COST Action: IC1203 ENERGIC (2012-2016) on the harnessing crowdsourced geographic information from sources to software and methodologies (www.vgibo.eu) ENERGIC developed the “VGI Knowledge Portal”. This Portal provides information about the domain of Volunteered Geo-Information (VGI) by presenting its relevant concepts, products and their relationships. As the portal is a Wiki, it is used both to browse and to edit its page content.

LADEST current research focus is on the following:

The effect of airBnB in urban disneyfication process ( see http://ladestlab.it/maps/70/airbnbscapes , http://ladestlab.it/maps/68/the-airification-of-cities) citizen science and, territorial marketing and environmental monitoring.

A permanent Observatory on the use of Twitter platform by the Italian municipalities in collaboration with Twitter and ANCI (Associazione Nazionale Comuni Italiani).

(see https://ladestlab.it/maps/66/i-comuni-italiani-su-twitter-l-evoluzione-2013-2016)

Regional and urban analysis integrating crowdsourced geographic information with other authoritative data (e.g. Census data) to be employed for example in political geography. Their latest experiment on Brexit’s results (see http://ladestlab.it/maps/54/urban-britain-and-the-brexit-vote )

Landscape as a material and immaterial resource. Cristina Capineri founded the Museum of Landscape in Castelnuovo Berardenga (Siena) almost twety years ago (see http://www.comune.castelnuovo.si.it/?q=museo-paesaggio )

http://ladestlab.it/maps/60/mapping-flickr-number-of-flickr-photographs-per-country

The GeoForAll lab in University of Seina welcomes collaborations from all interested and work for making contributions to the wider society. More details at http://ladestlab.it

On behalf of the GeoForAll community, we thank Prof. Cristina Capineri and all colleagues from the University of Siena 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,

Suchith

Open Source Scientific Software for Open Science

The annual European Geoscience Union (EGU) General Assembly was held from April 24 in Vienna. As in the previous years, there will be a dedicated Townhall event organised by the Open Source Geospatial Foundation (OSGeo) on Thursday, April 27, 2017

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The paradigm of Open Science is based on the tiers Open Access, Open Data and Free Open Source Software (FOSS). However, the interconnections between the tiers remain to be improved. This is a critical factor to enable Open Science. This Townhall meeting reaches out all across EGU, especially welcoming Early Career Scientists, to network and discuss the current challenges and opportunities of the FOSS tier

Recording of the Global Open Data for Agriculture and Nutrition (GODAN) webinar on capacity development

The Global Open Data for Agriculture and Nutrition (GODAN) supports the proactive sharing of open data to make information about agriculture and nutrition available, accessible and usable to deal with the urgent challenge of ensuring world food security. At the GODAN Summit in September 2016, GODAN launched a new Working Group on Capacity Development. Background information at http://aims.fao.org/activity/blog/recording-past-webinar-godan-wg-capacity-development

The recording link of the first Global Open Data for Agriculture and Nutrition (GODAN) webinar on capacity development is at https://youtu.be/ezOEhsm7hGI

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The webinar will help understand the current developments including overview on the GODAN Action project [1]  and how to be part of the capacity development activities.  Join the Capacity Development WG at https://dgroups.org/fao/godan_cd/join

[1] http://www.cta.int/en/article/2016-08-03/the-godan-action-project-an-innovative-approach.htm

Help Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team map against malaria!

Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team (HOT) is calling all mappers to help us and our partners eliminate malaria with our biggest project to date! Nearly half of the world’s population is at risk of malaria. In 2015, there were roughly 212 million malaria cases and an estimated 429 000 malaria deaths.*

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Fig 1 – A very special and successful mapathon with more than 200 ,10-year old children was held in March 2016 at GEOlab , Italy, see this post on HOT’s blog.
HOT is working on two projects, mapping over 500,000 square kilometers in 7 countries. This project collective is part of the Missing Maps initiative in conjunction with DigitalGlobe, the Clinton Health Access Initiative, the Gates Foundation, PATH and MapBox.  We’re dedicating this whole week to support this crisis mapping project, including a competition for our Youth Mappers chapters.

“GeoForAll” Lab of the Month – Open Source Geospatial Lab, Belgrade, Serbia

Today, The Open Source Geospatial Foundation celebrates our 11th Anniversary. On behalf  of the Open Source Geospatial Foundation i would like to  send our greetings to everyone on the happy occassion of 11th Anniversary of when our  Foundation was founded (4th Feb 2006) at http://www.osgeo.org/node/1672

It is my great pleasure, to introduce our colleagues at the Open Source Geospatial Lab of The Department of Geodesy and Geoinformatics of the Faculty of Civil Engineering, University of Belgrade as our “GeoForAll” lab of the month. The Department of Geodesy and Geoinformatics of the Faculty of Civil Engineering, University of Belgrade has been actively using open source software in education of geodetic engineers at the undergraduate, graduate and PhD studies. A large number of bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral thesis has been created using open source software. Additionally, a significant number of scientific papers written by members of the department has also been published using open source software. The development of Laboratory for development of open source geospatial technologies – OSGL Belgrade at the Department of Geodesy and Geoinformatics seemed like the logical next step in the process of promotion and cultivation of a open source approach to the improvement of teaching and research at the University of Belgrade. In addition to intensive use of open source in BSc and MSc courses, there is an example of contribution to open source community from Luka Glušica, an OSGL Belgrade member and master student of the Geoinformatics module at the Department of Geodesy and Geoinformatics who has got Google Summer of Code scholarship. Luka is currently working on his master thesis in the field of Information Technologies in Cartography at OSGL Belgrade, under the mentorship of Dr. Milan Kilibarda. Luka works on development of JavaScript framework that will allow developers to easily implement istSOS functionality in existing or new web application. (details: https://webpractice-lukag.github.io/istSOS-Web-API/)

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In addition to their teaching obligations, members of OSGL lab are also involved in international and national scientific and innovation projects. One of the ongoing projects is APOLLO, the EU-funded HORIZON 2020 project aiming to develop a market-ready platform of agricultural advisory services for primarily, but not exclusively, at smallholder farmers in Europe. The APOLLO project aims to bring benefits of precision agriculture to farmers through affordable information services, making extensive use of free and open Earth Observation data, such as those provided by the European Union’s Copernicus programme. These services will help farmers to make better decisions by monitoring growth and health of crops, providing advice on when to irrigate and till their fields, and estimating the yields. Ultimately, these interventions should lead to decreased costs and higher yields – and therefore increased profitability and competitiveness. (http://apollo-h2020.eu/)

Recently completed Serbian research data portal which was developed under Danube Data and Services Infrastructure (DRDSI) project was also made at OSGL Belgrade using open source Geonetwork (http://osgl.grf.bg.ac.rs/en/services/geonetwork/). “The purpose of the work within the Serbian research data portal is to establish a ‘local node’ for the DRDSI in Serbia and to explore how this approach could be adopted by key actors in the country. This work created a ready and sustained means to harvest metadata using an Open Data approach, based on the technologies used by the DRDSI platform. In addition, it acts as a demonstrator for other organisations to share data by documenting the approach and experience gained, creating further content for the DRDSI Platform.” (from: Data Infrastructures in Support of Macro-Regional Development. Experiences and Lessons Learned from the Danube Region; EUR 28297 EN; doi:10.2791/42047 )

Many workshops and conferences were organised by OSGL Belgrade. Some examples below

GeoMLA: Geostatistics and Machine Learning Applications in Climate and Environmental Sciences; (http://geomla.grf.bg.ac.rs/)

WorldDailyMeteo: space-time interpolation of daily meteorological variables at 1 km resolution;(http://dailymeteo.org/2014), folowed by Special issue in Spatial Statistics

Spatial and spatio-temporal modeling of meteorological and climatic variables using Open Source software (http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2211675315000536)

R+OSGeo in higher education (http://geostat-course.org/R_OSGeo_in_Education_Belgrade)

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OSGL Belgrade core team from left: Nemanja Branisavljevic, Dragutin Protic, Branislav Bajat, Milan KIlibarda, Ognjen Antonijevic, Luka Glusica, Aleksandar Sekulic

The GeoForAll lab in University of Belgrade welcomes collaborations from all interested and for making contributions to the wider society. More details at http://osgl.grf.bg.ac.rs/en/

On behalf of the GeoForAll community, we thank Dr. Milan KIlibarda and all colleagues from the University of Belgrade and for their contributions to the GeoForAll initiative and look forward to working and building more collaborations with all interested on this education mission.

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/

“GeoForAll” Lab of the Month – Texas A&M University – Corpus Christi , USA

Dear Colleagues,

On behalf of GeoForAll and the Open Source Geospatial Foundation let me take this opportunity to wish you and your families a very Happy New Year 2017 [1] and a successful year ahead. It is also my great pleasure, to introduce our colleagues at Texas A&M University – Corpus Christi , USA as our “GeoForAll” lab of this month in the New Year.

The Spatial {Query} Lab [2] at Texas A&M University – Corpus Christi [3] has a mission of making spatial technology, education, and information accessible to everyone. A large part of meeting this mission is the continued development and maintenance of the GeoAcademy curriculum (http://spatialquerylab.com/foss4g-academy-curriculum/).

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Richard Smith (Assistant Professor and Program Coordinator of GISc/GSEN) said “Over the past several months, we have been working to update the labs to match the latest versions of QGIS, GRASS, and Inkscape, as well as releasing related lecture materials. Combined, the GeoAcademy curriculum offers five college-level courses of content, all Creative Commons licensed and freely available to all who wish to use it. As an example of recent use, the GeoAcademy curriculum is being used as the inaugural curriculum for the UN Open GIS Initiative where we are currently teaching our third cohort of students and will be teaching the fourth and final cohort starting in December. Students at the Spatial {Query} Lab worked hard to get the curriculum updated to QGIS 2.14 for the course and are thrilled that their work is having an immediate benefit and being used by the UN Open GIS Initiative. The beauty of maintaining this type of open curriculum is seeing its adoption, use, and collaborations that are taking place. Another project we are working on at the Spatial {Query} Lab is our map scanning project (http://spatialquerylab.com/projects/map-scanning/) where we are scanning, cataloging, transcribing, and rectifying tens of thousands of historic maps from South Texas (we occasionally blog about interesting things we find as we scan them at: http://spatialquerylab.com/tag/find-of-the-week/).

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We will begin publishing this collection online to the public, for free, starting in Spring 2017. Something we are particularly proud of is the software we wrote to operationalize our scanning project, BandoCat, has been so useful to us, and, as we have demonstrated it to others, looks to be potentially useful for them, we are going to be open sourcing the BandoCat software beginning in Spring 2017 in the hopes that it can be useful to others who are looking at digitizing hard copy maps and documents.” Thank you Richard for these excellent updates from your lab. This is truly amazing work you and colleagues are doing…

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On behalf of the GeoForAll community, we thank Richard Smith and all colleagues the Texas A&M University – Corpus Christi , USA for their help and for their contributions to the GeoForAll initiative and look forward to working and building more collaborations with all interested on this education mission. We believe in empowering people with spatial decision making tools to help build a better society for all of humanity. Open principles in geoeducation (open educational resources, free and open software, open data, open standards etc) are key for  true empowerment of staff and students globally and making geospatial education and opportunities accessible to all . Access to quality education and opportunities is key for getting rid of extreme poverty and enabling broadly shared prosperity for all.

Millions of globally connected minds working together on the common mission of enabling Open Education opportunities for everyone will be key for making these developments possible. An idea whose time has come is the most powerful force in the universe, and the time for “Access to quality education opportunities for everyone” has arrived. We look forward to working and building collaborations with all interested in this education mission.

Happy Year of Open 2017 …

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Best wishes,

Suchith Anand

[1] http://opensourcegeospatial.icaci.org/2017/01/happy-year-of-open-2017/

[2] http://www.spatialquerylab.com

[3] http://gisc.tamucc.edu

Summary of the workshop on Advancing GIScience with Open Source Technologies

The ICA Commission on Open Source Geospatial Technologies held a very well-attended, successful one-day workshop on Advancing GIScience with Open Source Technologies the day before the start of Auto Carto. The agenda consisted of seven invited speakers and an open discussion session. The Chair of the commission, Silvana Camboim, opened the presentations and led the discussion. The Vice-Chair, Michael P. Finn, organized the workshop and served as the moderator. Summary of the workshop on Advancing GIScience with Open Source Technologies are at http://icaci.org/summary-of-the-workshop-on-advancing-giscience-with-open-source-technologies/