Geodata @ FOSS4G

Jo Walsh jo at
Mon Sep 18 01:48:29 PDT 2006

dear all, here's my attempt to summarise some of the activity at
FOSS4G in terms of the geodata committee's mission statement. 
I had a great time last week, it was good to connect with so many.

In France, David Jonglez and camptocamp are heavily socialising the Public
Geodata License at local government level. It will help a lot to get
the PGL license to v1.0, debug the English translation and encourage
more translations. I am on at least one PGL-interest mailing list and
I bet there are more. It would be good to merge them and try to have
short summary translations of traffic. OpenStreetmap legal-talk would
also be a good place to consult on this. It would be of benefit to
have a good namespace for the PGL, I would happily offer or or
anything along those lines.

There is a lot of interest in having a "safe pair of hands" for
public geodata, especially among people doing NGO/'development' work,
and academic projects across Europe. Getting the licensing right up
front is an important element of this. There is way more interest than
OSGeo is set up to handle immediately. For social technical and
political reasons people are going to want more local mirrors. Working
to put together a blueprint and best practise for an open source data
archive/library and search system, and then trying to persuade
different institutions to run one, is going to be fun. OpenSDI
connects here - isn't "SDI" a bit like "Web 2.0"? ;) and the imminent
incubation of FAO GeoNetwork as an OSGeo project is an exciting

A short but super constructive BOF on metadata models and
catalog interfaces felt promising and work/discussion about this will
continue on the OSGeo geodata mailing list. Thanks Stefan Keller and
Tom Kralidis for organising the get-together. Developments on a
"simplest, least useless thing" model that is neutral of interface and
format and can be translated between them should progress over the
next few months.

The proposed INSPIRE directive establishing a spatial data
infrastructure in Europe is in a behind-closed-doors phase and could
go either way; either greatly opening the public's right at least to
discover and to "view" public geographic information free of cost; or
it could exempt state-collected geodata even from inclusion in
metadata catalogues if collecting/brokering agencies hold
"intellectual property rights" in that data. 
There should be a lot of opportunities for open source geospatial
projects with a strong standards orientation to rapid prototype for
INSPIRE's "implementing rules", given a sane directive passes.



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