Open Innovation, Open Science, Open to the World

The way that science works is fundamentally changing and an equally important transformation is taking place in how companies and societies innovate. The advent of digital technologies is making science and innovation more open, collaborative and global. In this light Commissioner Carlos Moedas has set three goals for EU research and innovation policy: Open Innovation, Open Science and Open to the World. These three goals were first discussed by Commissioner Moedas in a speech in June 2015, showing how research and innovation contribute across the political priorities of the European Commission. These goals do not represent a new policy initiative or funding programme as such, but a way to reinforce existing programmes such as Horizon 2020, and reinvigorate existing policies such as the European Research Area. The book Open Innovation, Open Science, Open to the World – a vision for Europe brings together some of the key conceptual insights behind the “Three Os” and highlights actions that are already taking place or are being prepared at time of publication in May 2016. It is hoped that the ideas and initiatives described in the book will stimulate anyone interested in European research and innovation, and encourage debate and lead to new ideas on what the European Union should do, should not do, or do differently.[1]

You can download the book from the EU Bookshop at

Extract from the book on Open Science below

A Vision of the Future

The year is 2030. Open Science has become a reality and is offering a whole range of new, unlimited opportunities for research and discovery worldwide. Scientists, citizens, publishers, research institutions, public and private research funders, students and education professionals as well as companies from around the globe are sharing an open, virtual environment, called The Lab. Open source communities and scientists, publishing companies and the high-tech industry have pushed the EU and UNESCO to develop common open research standards, establishing a virtual learning gateway, offering free public access to all scientific data as well as to all publicly funded research. The OECD as well as many countries from Africa, Asia, and Latin America have adopted these new standards, allowing users to share a common platform to exchange knowledge at a global scale. High-tech start-ups and small public-private partnerships have spread across the globe to become the service providers of the new digital science learning network, empowering researchers, citizens, educators, innovators and students worldwide to share knowledge by using the best available technology. Free and open, high quality and crowd-sourced science, focusing on the grand societal challenges of our time, shapes the daily life of a new generation of researchers.

I would recommend you to read this book for getting a glimpse of future developments. There is also lot of synergies and will add momentum for our vision for Open Geospatial Science [2],[3],[4].

Best wishes,


Dr. Suchith Anand

Geo for All – Building and expanding Open Geospatial Science


Humanitarian mapathons for Japan and Ecuador

May i request anyone who is interested to help for the humanitarian mapathons for Japan and Ecuador to please contact Dr Marco Minghini asap (Email – )  who is leading the Geo4All efforts on this. Details at

Our thanks to Marco and colleagues for their help and efforts  [1] 

Suchith Anand

Invitation for Expression of Interest for Urban BigGeoData and OpenCitySmart Think Tank on 8th June 2016 

The Geospatial IG of the Research Data Alliance and the Nottingham Geospatial Institute are pleased to welcome expression of interest for the Urban BigGeoData and OpenCitySmart Think Tank meeting and workshop at the University of Nottingham. This will be a free event (limited to 30 delegates) aimed to bring together key stakeholders in GeoBigData and OpenCitySmart research to brainstorm ideas and plan joint research ideas and collaborations for the future.

More details and registration url at

Deadline for application – 15th April 2016

Geo4All Cartographic Challenge – How Openness can help to reduce inequality

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

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

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

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

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

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

How to participate:

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

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

Outputs :

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





Flood Awareness Education Platform

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Read more of the event at


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

Best wishes,

Suchith Anand

United Nations Special Session @ FOSS4G 2015, Seoul

It is our great pleasure to inform  the final program of “Open Source GIS for the United Nations and Developing Countries” special session on 16th September 2015 at FOSS4G Seoul. It was made possible thanks esp. to the efforts of Dr. Junyoung Choi, Sanghee Shin and many colleagues. There is a really great program lined up with examples of Open Source GIS from climate change to improving public health delivery. It is great to see the focus also on smart cities esp. the work on Open source and open data for smart cities in developing countries by Prof. Serena Coetzee ( University of Pretoria, South Africa ) will be really useful for our future.

More details at

During the session, we’ll talk about the adoptions/experiences of open source GIS in UN and developing countries. Also there will be panel discussions on how to utilise the open source GIS for the sustainable development.

On behalf of ‘Geo for All’ we are determined  to build ideas and make this a regular session at all future main FOSS4G Global events. We want all our Geo4All labs to support and work towards the work towards the vision of the UN Millennium Development Goals [1] for building a better world and this session will help us build more collaborations and activities in the future. It is key part of our criteria and principles [2].

Service for the benefit and betterment of humanity is a key fundamental principle of “Geo for All”  and we want to contribute and focus our efforts for the UN Millennium Development Goals.

There are  four areas that we can contribute our joint expertise for global development and eradicating extreme poverty. Even though the scale of these global challenges are big , together we can combine forces and efforts contributing to the UN Millennium Development Goals.

Details at

So this UN focussed session at FOSS4G Seoul is great start for expanding our  collaborations .

There will also be “Geo for All” [3] meetings that will be chaired by Prof. Venkatesh Raghavan (Osaka City University, Japan) during FOSS4G Seoul where we will discuss and plan future collaborations. Everyone planning to attend FOSS4G Seoul are welcome.


Free GIS Info Workshop for UK government organisations, SMEs and startups @ The University of Nottingham

The market for Geo services has been estimated to be worth up to $270 billion per year [1]. The high cost of proprietary software can be a limiting factor for many government organisations, SMEs and start-ups. Developments in Open Source, Open Standards and Open Data mean that there are now huge cost savings and big opportunities for organisations using open Geospatial software and technologies.

Are you a government organisation, local authority, SME or Individuals / groups thinking of initiating their own start-ups and  interested in exploring opportunities of using Open geospatial technologies in your work and operations? Then apply to be considered to take part in a free Workshops on Open Source, Open Standards, Open Data in Geospatial for  government organisations, SMEs  and startups on the 8th October 2015 at the University of Nottingham. Details at

The aim is to bring together all interested players to learn, share and discuss ideas in for future collaboration opportunities in Open Source, Open Standards, Open Data in Geospatial including exploring opportunities for participating in joint H2020 and other bids.

Open principles are now implemented by the UK Government and delivering huge cost savings for government -£409 million in the first half of the year it was implemented (six months in 2012 alone) [2].  Open source GIS software will help  the local authorities and various government departments in reducing huge annual licence fee costs for proprietary software and the UK Government and taxpayers as a whole will  benefit from cost efficiencies,  reduce the cost of lock-in to suppliers and products. This is especially important for future IT investments (for example Cloud Computing) , so that more options are explored and choices available.

We are especially interested in training/capacity building local and regional authorities to make use of open technologies (esp in GIS) for helping reduce the annual proprietary GIS licence costs as it is one of the biggest IT expenses in GIS . There are 433 principal authorities in the UK: 27 county councils, 55 unitary authorities, 32 London boroughs, 36 Metropolitan boroughs, 201 districts, 32 Scottish unitary authorities, 22 Welsh unitary authorities, and 26 Northern Ireland districts . All of them need GIS for their  operations. So you can imagine the cumulative annual costs for the UK government for keeping buying proprietary GIS . Now imagine the costs for  not just one year but in the future 5, 10 , 25 years. The savings will be millions of pounds  and with the UK government action plan on Open Principles implemented, we are in a good position to help these local authorities make transition .

At the University of Nottingham, we  have already experience of running successful  Mentoring program focussed on “Open Source, Open Standards, Open Data in Geospatial”  through the FP7 THE ISSUE  and found it very productive . The  mentoring program enabled us to bring in colleagues from other organisations to work closely  for short periods at Nottingham for building up local capacity and also helped build future collaborations (for example we are now in various H2020 bids with many of them).

Some examples below:

·         Open source GIS Capacity Building for Local Authorities – Dr Agata Ciolkosz-Styk and Pawel Kwiatkowski ((IGiK, Poland) and Fatima Manjra (Leicester City Council)
·         The Integration of GIS, Open Source and Sustainability of the Environment – Dr Rossella Nocera (University of Molise, Italy) and  Dr Teresa Raventos (University of Leicester)

There should also be capacity building  in the national,regional and local government so that “Open first” policy is implemented

* Selecting open standards to minimise dependence on specific suppliers.
* Choosing open source software in the case of equal suitability.

We will be pleased to work with the all interested to expand the Mentoring Program focussed on Open Data, Open Source, Open Standards in Geospatial for Regional and Local Authorities in the UK to  enable huge savings in IT but also ensure we are in line with the UK government policies on open principles.

If you look through our Geo4All  labs lists, you will see there is already good examples of cross fertilisation of activities from universities/industry happening. For example, the Open Source Geospatial Laboratory at at ETH Zurich [3] is linked with  SourcePole [4]  and hopefully this will inspire more university labs in the UK (and globally) to expand collaborations with industry and also help their students to create more startups in the future. If you look at OSGeo UK Chapter and there are now many SMEs in the UK (ranging from one staff to 100 staff) who are  service providers [5] and doing training [6] etc in this and we need to think of ways to expand more opportunities and help create more new highly skilled jobs in the UK .

As more and more government organisations, regional and local authorities rapidly move to QGIS and other Open source solutions for enhanced efficiency and lower costs , there is a need for support services and an ecosystem at the local level which is in fact the BIGGEST OPPORTUNITY for SMEs and startups in the UK to fill in .  There should be a strong ecosystem (universities, local government, SMEs etc)  to enable create conditions  for  many  RedHat [7] opportunities  to be created in Open Geospatial ecosystem in the UK  , so that there will be lot of jobs creation as well as innovation opportunities.

Also this will create innovation opportunities locally. For example the startup  community is especially open to the use of open software and data avoiding licensing restrictions which may impact on their business plans, raise early start-up costs and restrict their ability to innovate and it frees them of the need to use proprietary software and data  allowing them greater branding freedom and product flexibility.

This Workshop is free (but limited to only 20 participants ONLY as we have limited venue space) so book your place ASAP (use registration link) at

Selected participants (from a mix of government staff,SMEs and startups) will be confirmed by email before 30 August 2015.

Best wishes,



Be a “Geo for All” Ambassador

It is good that we are having Geo4All meetings at key conferences to build up and expand research and teaching collaborations. Thanks to Prof. Maria Brovelli  and Prof.  Charlie Schweik for FOSS4G Como meetings [1]. We will have Geo4All meetings and presentations later this month at ICC 2015 (Rio) and FOSS4G 2015 (Seoul) and other events to build up more ideas and collaborations.

In addition to presentations/meetings at big events, it was thanks to efforts of our great volunteers who run informal events that help spread Geo4All ideas to more colleagues worldwide . For example, i just now came across an event that was organised in Ottawa, Canada [2]. Though i do not know Fabien Ancelin , i would like to thank him and all volunteers who are presenting Geo4All in many such events worldwide . These kind of informal events are really good to also expand ideas  and i thank all  volunteers who are doing this.

So if you are  at any events/conferences, please do present about Geo4All and be our “Geo for All” Ambassador. The overview slides are available for download from our website [3], which you can make use of as needed.

Thanks to Dr. Nikos Lambrinos (Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Greece) and his excellent team of coeditors we now have a monthly newsletter [4] for GeoforAll.  We are looking for articles from the wider community on various developments in Open Principles for the next (Sep 2015) newsletter.

So please send any updates to  ideally before 20th of the month to get this added to the next month’s newsletter.

Let me also specifically thank Jason Sadler and all colleagues at the University of Southampton, UK [5] for developing and maintaining our website [6] which has been key for helping us build momentum for Open Principles in Geospatial.

Best wishes,



Geo4All welcomes ideas for building global synergies and collaborations for Access to quality education and opportunities for all

In spite of all the economic & technological developments, it is a sad fact that thousands of schools globally (esp. in developing countries) even today do not have access to  even a single computer. Many of these poor schools do not even have a proper library.

But thanks to the unique convergence of some key developments ( hardware costs will keep decreasing, internet access will keep increasing even in developing and poor countries , availability of free and open source software, open education resources etc),  we are in the first time in history truly have a real opportunity for making quality education opportunities accessible for all. I have seen this already happening even in some poor government schools in rural India and also many examples in our Geo4All community from gvSIG Batovi [1] in Uruguay to GIS at Schools [2] etc  , has proved that it is possible if we have the will power and determination.  So Geo4All aims to  welcome ideas from the wider community on how we can work together for building global synergies and collaborations for enabling this  even for the poorest and remotest schools worldwide to enable quality education opportunities for all.

One of the important decisions made at Como meeting last week was to  welcome Governments, Industry, SME’s , NGOs etc who support Geo4All’s education mission and criteria [1] to join us as “Partners”  . So we have global network of  Open Geospatial Science Research and Education ‘Labs’ and ‘Partners’ to expand more collaborations for the future. We will bring together all key players (Government organisations, Industry, SMEs, NGOs) on the common mission of education and opportunities for all.

I am fully confident that if we are able to focus and bring together the amazing energies and reach of the wider community for our education mission, it will be game changer not just for Geoeducation but for the wider Education also. Our focus in addition to Universities and Higher Education is also on “Teacher Training programs” and accelerating the establishment of small Geo4All labs (with access to internet) even in the poorest and remotest schools worldwide to enable quality education opportunities for all. These “Geo4All” labs (tablets or low cost hardware based) in addition to help teach geoeducation will be help bring quality teaching and learning opportunities for all.  Technology is a big leveller and enabler for the poorer sections of the society to also be part of the global economy and we should not allow creation of artificial barriers (being forced to buy high cost proprietary software ) to deny this opportunity for the bottom billions. It is their right to also be part of the digital opportunities.

I am confident if we keep focus, we can achieve the target to enable digital education opportunities ( tablets or low cost hardware based) in many of the poorest schools globally in just 10 years time and having this partnership with universities, governments, Industry, SMEs and NGOs is key for this. So even if  till now many of these schools did not have access to any proper library or other learning resources , they will now have access to the best digital education resources available globally from wikipedia to MOOCs.

Education + Empowerment = Geo4All

We would like to get the ideas from the wider global community on what we need to do together to achieve this vision.

We look forward to working and building collaborations with all interested on this education mission. Access to quality education and opportunities is key for getting rid of extreme poverty and enable  broadly shared prosperity for all.

Best wishes,



GeoForAll – Global Educator of the Year Award 2015

On behalf of the GeoForAll Educator Award Selection Committee, we are pleased to inform all that the Individual and Team Awards for the “GeoForAll – Global Educator of the Year Award 2015” [1] has been announced at the FOSS4G 2015- Europe “Open Innovation for Europe” conference at Como, Italy on Friday  .The award committee had the very difficult task of selecting the GeoForAll Educator of the Year out of the well deserving list of nominees.

Individual award goes to Sterling Quinn (Pennsylvania State University, Pennsylvania, USA)  for his course on “Open Web Mapping”  and Team award for Kurt Menke (Birds Eye View) Nate Jennings (Urbandale Spatial), Jon Van Hoesen (Green Mtn College), Rick Smith (Texas A&M,) and Phil Davis, Delmar College (all in USA) for their GeoAcademy development efforts.

This is an opportunity for us to thank all colleagues for their excellent contributions to Openness in Education principles in the Geo domain. Our congratulations to all individuals or teams who received one or more nominations for the 2015 GeoForAll Global Educator of the Year Award.  They all are  our stars and  “Geo for All” community  would to like to thank all educators worldwide who have made contributions to open education efforts and being good global citizens by helping spread the benefits of education to all.


On behalf of the GeoForAll Educator Award Selection Committee

Prof. Charlie Schweik (Award Committee Chair)
Prof. Georg Gartner (President, ICA)
Jeff McKenna (President, OSGeo)
Chen Jun (President, ISPRS)
Prof. Maria Antonia Brovelli (Italy)
Dr. Xinyue Ye (USA)
Dr. Luciene Delazari (Brazil)
Dr. Tuong-Thuy Vu (Malaysia)
Prof. Venkatesh Raghavan (Japan/India)
Prof. Ivana Ivánová (Brazil)
Jeroen Ticheler (The Netherlands)
Dr. Serena Coetzee (South Africa)
Prof. Helena Mitasova (USA)
Anne Ghisla (Germany)
Patrick Hogan (USA)
Dr Suchith Anand (UK/India)