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Open Source Geospatial Foundation

Posted by jive on February 6, 2006 at 8:57 AM PST

Open Source Geospatial and Java

Open Source Geospatial Foundation

I arrived late to the meeting, after a brief chat with Jeff from DM
solutions (thanks Jeff). And was very happy to see broad base of
projects represented, and community in attendance via IRC. In general I
use this blog to talk about Java hacking, spatial stuff, and tend to
keep industry or open source commentary down to a dull roar. I should
learn, industry and open source commentary are my only postings that
get much in the way of hits ;-)

First of all a bit of context, so I don't have to repeat themselves:

  • href="">Introducing
    ... the Open Source Geospatial Foundation - mapping hacks
  • Open
    Source Geospatial Foundation
    - import cartography (aka Sean)
  • rel="bookmark">First thoughts on the Open Source Geospatial
    - PerryGeo (aka Matt)
  • href="">Open
    Source Geospatial Foundation Meeting - Review - Spatial
    Galaxy (aka Gary)
  • And of course the href=""> IRC logs
    (this is open development after all)

There are a couple points I want to address:

  • Java Representation
  • Scale of OSGEO
  • Community

Java Representation

A couple points that were raised, were based around the theme of Java
representation in the open source spatial scene. The Java Spatial
community does keep in contact (Hi href="">Deegree we
miss you), and do have collaborative/outreach projects in in place
(cough GeoAPI)
and GeoTools.

And the GeoTools community is very serious about href="">being
represented in this foundation - the IRC meeting will be href="">today
at 11am PST on freenode#geotools.

Finally all of our representatives at Saturdays meeting were nominated
for the intern board. A big thanks to Chris Holmes (and indeed all
the interim board) for taking on these roles, no pressure.

In short the Java community has a history of co-operating, we
are interested in the foundation ( href="">email
thread is collection +1 votes now), and we are represented on
the interm board.

I do expect some projects to hold back, but you have us where it counts
- where we collaborate. Which brings a question -
would projects
"Powered by GeoTools" get a "Built on OSGEO" sticker as well? Heck we
could have a lot of fun with those stickers: "OSGEO - Think way outside
the box", or "OSGEO:  It's a Spheroid get over it".
Okay I
will stop before you stop reading...

The other way to view this concern is - can we cooperate with those of
the C++ bent?

This is where open standards comes to play, it is front and center part
of the OSGEO swath of construction. And we are pretty good, and getting
better on all sides. Now if GeoNetwork will just gain some (more)
momentum ...  This is the only point where we hoped a
would be able to help. Not all standards (cough ISO) are open, and yet
they still show up referenced in other standards. A solution to this is
something we all need to work out, we have workarounds but an IP review
may still provide some fun.

In case you think I have forgotten C++ - you are right. We also have
the ability to work with others on the uDig side, we have looked into
osgPlanet, have some great demos with href="">OSSIM.
I am confident we can serve up C++ code when the time and place is

The fun question is if the C++ community is ready for us ;-)

Scale of OSGEO (I lost my projection here somewhere)

This was more a comment I saw slide by, that I felt was interesting
(the conversation was not in IRC land so we must read between the

14:48:10 Schuyler: the argument is whether to start
out large or small
14:48:13 steeler: john weathersby says: "show me the
14:48:16 mpg: Autodesk wants to submit $250, but
is fearing we are not planning large enough?
14:48:17 Schuyler: i.e. hiring an executive director
14:48:31 Schuyler: Arnulf is arguing to start small
and sustainable
14:48:38 Schuyler: Gary is arguing to start big to
stay big

I would also like to see the open source spatial community go for it,
build some momentum and take on the world. After all we are spatial
hackers - the world is our Domain :-)

Aside: we are realists, professional, and know that data
is what is important here. More importantly your data.  One of
things that would be very benifitial, and was mentioned during the
meeting, was testing facilities with the usual suspects present. So
defacto standards need to come along for the ride.

I hope press releases are held back until we get more
communities on board. I am sure we have all had to explain that the
established open source projects with a broad base of developers will
be represented after the next round of project IRC meetings. I have
explained at least 4 times and it has only been a day.


Over the course of the meeting I made several silly suggestions:

- a reverse bounty system, based on the success of the href="">PostGIS
GiST Improvement Project, went over like a brick...

- setting up test data and services, and making our verification
scripts available to OSGEO supporters, yep another silly idea

The point is this, we are a productive community, willing to share (and
shoot down) ideas with abandon.  We do already work with each
other: OSSIM and uDig are working towards a bit of integration - come
OSSIM we need WKT CRS parsing before it can go live); and promote each
other (GeoServer
and MapBuilder
is in our uDig
walkthroughs, MapServer
and PostGIS
in our demos). Open source spatial is already the great alternative,
now we have a name.

As for my ideas, this one faired better (in response to selecting the
interim board based on those present:

- I am well content with the range of projects represented - and in
open source we start from a position of trust.

I can't say it better then that, lets rock and roll.