As of a couple of days ago, the UK local chapter of OSGeo is now official, rather than “in formation”. Thanks to the board for passing our proposal. It might not seem much to some people, but to me it feels an awful lot easier to persuade sceptics and doubters that there is an open source GIS “scene” in the UK with an officially recognised chapter. For information, these are our terms of reference:
OK, so this is a slightly delayed New Year post, partly due to the happy fact that I was without an internet connection for most of Christmas. It’s good to go without sometimes! My love-affair with Mapfish continues with the news that it’s now possible to integrate the google earth browser plugin into your map. I am really keen to try this out, but there is the problem that there’s no google earth browser plugin for linux yet.
I have been musing all week over my response to some questions posted originally by James Fee and answered by Paul Ramsey and Jody Garnett. The question has become one about the value of OSGeo as a brand- well personally I think the marketing aspects are really important. I’ve stood up and talked about open source GIS an awful lot recently, to a diverse range of people, trying to persuade them that it’s a viable choice for their business.
I’m just back from the AGi Geocommunity 2008 conference in Stratford-upon-Avon. A very enjoyable time was had by all I think! I would have posted from the conference itself, but the hotel wifi wasn’t keen on playing with my linux laptop. I’ll talk more in other posts about the actual presentations, but this is just some of my general thoughts about the conference. My overall thought was that the AGI got it right with this event.
I had a lightning-fast trip to Nottingham on Tuesday to do a short talk on OSGeo and the role of Local Chapters at the Centre for Geospatial Science’s Geospatial Web Services Workshop. I wish I had been able to attend more of the workshop, as it looked pretty good, but alas I was holidaying at the time. All the presentations were recorded as webcasts and are available on the website. The Centre is looking for feedback on how well this approach works, so do check it out.
Time for a quick catch up… Last Thursday was the first get-together for the UK OSGeo local chapter. Actually we’re not a formal chapter yet- we have to get approved by the board first but it’s a start! People came along from a wide variety of different GIS sub-disciplines, which was nice, although there was a comment that perhaps archaeology was over-represented! We had a selection of quick talks from Tyler Mitchell (intro to OSGeo), Suchith Anand (OGC Interoperability), me (Portable GIS) and Jason Jorgenson (FOSS for archaeological site catchment analysis), and then had a lively discussion about what we thought the local chapter should do.
I am proud to finally announce the inaugural meetup of the nascent UK local chapter of OSGEO on Thursday 1st May, from 4.30 to 7pm (or later if we can find a suitable hostelry) at the Radisson SAS Hotel, Stansted Airport, just outside London. For those that don’t know- OSGEO is a global organisation founded to encourage and support development in open source GIS. We have been trying to get together some interest in a UK local chapter for some time now, so I am really pleased to announce this event.
So- the last day of FOSS4G for 2007- roll on 2008 in Cape Town (must start saving). Definitely a resounding success! For me today, the theme was GeoFOSS as a) a business and b) as a community. For the first case, there were several presentations by geospatial consultancies on doing GeoFOSS as a business- what makes for best practices and so on. This seems to suggest a certain maturity in the discipline-an idea that was picked up by Adena Schutzberg of Directions Magazine in her review of the conference at the close.
There have been a few heads-up over the last week about 52Â°North, who have just announced an initiative for geospatial open source software. Of course, we’ve heard this before, but this time ESRI are on board. So, we have Autodesk supporting OSGEO, and ESRI supporting 52North’s initiative (it needs a snappy title or acronym). The approach seems different though, because Autodesk chipped in right from the word go by open-sourcing one fork of MapGuide, which they freely admitted was not a core product.
At FOSS4G last week, my colleagues and I got chatting with the folks from OSGEO. It was difficult not to, given that they played such a huge part in organising the conference. Anyhow, we identified that it would be a good idea to set up a UK Local Chapter, to provide a UK-specific focus and slant on the work that OSGEO are doing. The kind of things we might look at include providing a first port-of-call to newcomers to the world of geomatics in the UK, with a particular focus on the open source tools available; providing a focus for lobbying for public access to Geodata (you know, the stuff we’ve paid for with our Taxes but have to pay again to use).