[OSGeo-Discuss] Reflections on the Jornadas gvSIG

Jo Walsh jo at frot.org
Tue Nov 20 22:58:04 PST 2007

dear all,

I got a lot out of the Jornadas gvSIG 3-day user/developer meeting
last week, and wanted to share a few notes with la comunidad

One thing that jumped out is the strength of positive language about
"software libre" amongst the user community; not just acceptance, but
promotion of free software and public data in general, at the highest
levels of public administration. I wrote a little more about this on
the OKFN blog: http://blog.okfn.org/2007/11/20/keeping-open-libre/

Another highlight was getting to sit in on the "Libro SIG" group
meeting, concentrating the local OSGeo-istas. This is a hive of
energetic and committed seeming people, with half a free GIS book
written already, a lot on the mathematics behind analysis techniques
contributed by Victor Olaya of the SEXTANTE project, which sounds like
a sort of Java OSSIM. The whole question or marshalling a lot of
different translators and contributors to a book in potentially many
different languages is a fascinating one. 
http://wiki.osgeo.org/index.php/Libro_SIG - a GIS book that is free
rather than a book about free and open GIS tools specifically.

gvSIG is on close terms with GeoNetwork and Jeroen was there giving a
couple of talks. Metadatos are increasingly attended to, partly due to
the pressure from the INSPIRE SDI Directive in Europe. The metadata
plugin which Michael Gould's group has undere development will one day
share state with and encourage contributions from other plugins.
There's also a nice amount of connection from gvSIG to OpenStreetmap,
both in terms of people like Ivan Sanchez and Miguel Montesinos, and
in the software in terms of UI integration and data re-use.

The talks at the Jornadas were mostly oriented towards the user
community - policymakers, planners, researchers and educators - the
technical depth and excitement seemed rather higher in the gvSIG talks
at FOSS4G. One thing that stood out for me was the absense of visible
commercial culture really hanging around the event. There were a few
sponsored sessions (Eclipse, SGI) but no booths, some poster
presentations but no promotional material on display. 

I cast my mind back to what so amazed me at FOSSGIS in Berlin last
March; stalls and displays for a dozen, maybe two, open source and
open hardware oriented commercial consultancies. I wonder why there's
not more evidence of this sort of thing here. There seems no obvious
impedance, there's so much apparent enthusiasm for "tecnologia libre"
in the public authority market, which in its regionalism and
municipality is not so different from how it looks in Germany. I
wonder how (and if!) this sort of thing can be encouraged...

hasta luego,


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