[OSGeo-Discuss] Geospatial LoB RFI

Ned Horning nedh at lightlink.com
Tue May 2 12:59:07 PDT 2006

Hello again,

I made a few changes to the RFI wiki. I probably won't be able to spend time
on this tomorrow (Wednesday) but may be able to look at it again on
Thursday. It has to be turned in by e-mail by 5:00 PM EDT this Friday so
there isn't a lot of time to wrap this up. Comments and edits are needed. As
I mentioned yesterday this is not my area of expertise and I'm hoping some
other folks will be able to help craft this into a decent document.  

At this point it's probably best to write in full sentences unless there is
someone willing to convert some of the (excellent) bullets into a paragraph
format Thursday or Friday.

Here is what I added today in case you can't access the Wiki. There is some
other good text on the Wiki page from other contributors so I encourage you
to check it out if you can.

2.2.2 What are the critical change management issues and best practices for
successful transition to and full implementation of common solutions?

A fundamental change management issue is to promote and adapt open standards
for the collection (protocols), storage (file formats, media, and metadata),
access, and processing of geographic data. A recently released report by the
Digital Connections Council of the Committee for Economic Development, "Open
Standards, Open Source, and Open Innovation: Harnessing the Benefits of
Openness" (http://www.ced.org/projects/ecom.shtml#open) highlights the
benefits from adapting open standards. This report found that openness can
be used effectively to build standards that in turn can be used to enhance

2.2.3 What cultural impediments and training issues are paramount at which
stages of the transition? What are the solutions to them?

Although the United States is a global leader in providing public access to
data the process of collecting/creating, storing and processing these data
are less open largely because vendors providing these services use secret
and proprietary methods with the intent of gaining a competitive edge over
their competition. This approach is rooted in traditional intellectual
property protection ideals and can result in incompatibly and high costs to
the government. This mindset is a significant cultural impediment to
achieving common solutions for working with geospatial data and can be
overcome by developing open data and software standards and promoting the
benefits of this approach to the business community and government

2.2.8 How do you retain the advantages of competition while reaping the
benefits of geospatial coordination and optimization?

Advantages of competition are perceived to be improved innovation (producing
a better product) and reduced cost to the consumer. By developing and using
open standards innovation is improved because of the size and diversity of
the community developing the standards. Cost is also reduced because once
the standards and clearly defined metrics of success are in place the cost
of entry to begin developing products is reduced. Competition is important
but to strengthen competition it helps if companies can compete on a level
playing field that is promoted through the use of open standards.

2.2.9 How do you ensure and manage ongoing innovation in geospatial
coordination and optimization?

The most effective way to ensure continued innovation with regard to
geospatial coordination and optimization is to promote and adopt open
standards for the creation/collection, storage, access, and processing of
geospatial data. This includes contributing to the development of open
source geospatial software. It is in the data users' and producers' interest
to have interoperable solutions and the most effective way to accomplish
this is to include them in the process of developing standards and software.
The benefits of using open methods are becoming well publicized (could use a
citation here). To further benefit from current open approaches it is
necessary to fund research to further develop open geospatial-focused
standards for improved interoperability and access. Research should also be
conducted on innovative open approaches for creating and maintaining
geospatial data layers in an open environment. The potential of openness in
the geospatial sector is great but funded research is needed to expedite the
realization of these benefits. 

2.2.12 What governance model do you use or would you recommend for
coordinating the use of geographic information or optimizing related spatial
data activities?

A refined and clear cut governance model for coordinating the use of
geographic information and related activities does not exist but as with
developing standards this should be developed using an open process. There
is a wealth of information related to governance models that can be drawn
from the open source software community. The open source software community
is thriving by leveraging the expertise and interests from a diverse group
of individuals and a similar model can be used to benefit from and better
coordinate the use of geographic information and to optimize related spatial
data activities.  

2.2.13 What is the best approach for assembling and using multiple data sets
from diverse fields where scale, units of analysis and data types differ?

The key to working with diverse data is interoperability and this can be
best achieved through the use of open standards for data and software. Open
source geospatial software offerings have a proven track record for often
being the first to implement geospatial standards developed by the Open
Geospatial Consortium (OGC). 

The inability to read a particular file format is often the factor
preventing access to a particular data set. This can occur for several
reasons but two common problems are an insufficient capability of a software
program to read a particular file format or the inability to read a
proprietary file format using incompatible software. Adopting open standards
and open source software can alleviate both of these problems. Having a
community of individuals and organizations build on open source software
libraries can help strengthen the ability of software packages to handle a
wide variety of format. A good example of this is the open source Geospatial
Data Abstraction Library (GDAL) and OGR which are raster (GDAL) and vector
(OGR) translator libraries. Building on open source libraries provides
excellent resources for open source and proprietary software developers

All the best, 


> -----Original Message-----
> From: Ned Horning [mailto:nedh at lightlink.com]
> Sent: Monday, May 01, 2006 4:34 PM
> To: discuss at mail.osgeo.org
> Subject: [OSGeo-Discuss] Geospatial LoB RFI
> All,
> I'm going to have to run for the day but wanted to let you know what I
> to do with this document tomorrow and maybe later in the week. I would
> like to put out a couple requests for help. Again, here is the URL to the
> document:
> http://wiki.osgeo.org/index.php/Response_to_RFI_for_US_Gov_GeoSpatial
> It is probably best to focus on a few sections of this RFI that are in
> with the OSGeo ideals and that we can put together a worthy response. This
> RFI does not focus on software but I think OSGeo can make a significant
> contribution. I may take a shot at the following sections:
> 2.2.2
> 2.2.3
> 2.2.8
> 2.2.9
> 2.2.12
> 2.2.13
> Scenario 2
> If someone wants to start any of the above sections please do. I'm just
> letting folks know where I think I can contribute something. I'm not the
> most qualified person to be writing these sections but I do think this is
> good opportunity to discuss some of these issues and hopefully begin to
> our presence known within the US Government. Please feel free to shred
> whatever I write and let me know if sections or the entire document are
> worth submitting.
> We need to supply contact information (point of contact, phone number,
> e-mail address). Any idea on how we should approach this?
> Someone should write a paragraph or more for section 2.4 which is
> "additional information beyond the questions". This would be a good place
> promote the ideals of OSGeo although we do have to be careful not to
> OSGeo (this is explicitly frowned upon). Can anyone volunteer? We can
> probably get a lot of reuse out of this section.
> In haste,
> Ned
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