[OSGeo-Discuss] Board Candidate's statement: Jo Cook

Jo Cook jocook at astuntechnology.com
Tue Aug 9 01:43:50 PDT 2011

Dear All,

Firstly, it's an honour to be even nominated, so many thanks to Antony and
Saber for that!

I recently heard someone say that in terms of the overall information
technology "sphere", geospatial is such a small niche part that it's like a
pimple on IT's bottom. However, we've all heard the fact about the amount of
corporate data with a geospatial component! If you take those two statements
together, along with the slightly uncertain financial market at the moment,
there's a lot of room for growth for geospatial technology, particularly
open source. I think OSGeo should be facilitating that growth, as an enabler
for coders and end-users alike.

I think OSGeo does need to grow as an organisation- both in terms of sheer
numbers, but also in terms of profile. I would like to get to the point
where I don't have to start every discussion about OSGeo with a quick
translation of what the name stands for, and what it's all about. I think
opportunities at governmental level are being missed, or left to local
chapters, whereas high-level involvement by OSGeo globally could be
incredibly useful and persuasive. I want people (as individuals, companies,
or even governments) to come to OSGeo to find out about good, sustainable,
well-managed software, reputable training courses, meet-ups and mailing
lists. OSGeo doesn't have to provide all of these things itself, but (at the
risk of repeating myself) can act as an enabler- providing the
infrastructure and the "brand", drawing people in, to the benefit of
everyone involved. We do still (unfortunately) need to prove that open
source geospatial software is sustainable and viable- our proprietary
friends have not stopped the FUD, and OSGeo is best placed to provide the
reassurance that end-users need.

The challenge is, how to do all of this with not a lot of cash! I don't
propose any radical changes to how things work- I'd like to see whether
there would be some benefit for spreading the pot of money for sponsoring
events around a little more to raise the profile of the organisation outside
of the US. I'd like to see more infrastructure in place to help local
chapters (this is ongoing, so not a criticism), and I'd like to look at
whether more can be done to promote company involvement in OSGeo- be that in
terms of sponsorship or some other way. I guess these are both the goals I
have for the organisation, and the kind of things I'd like to look at if I
was elected. I'm not a coder, I'm a facilitator, and I want to make OSGeo a
success by contributing in any way I can.

Thanks for reading,


***Jo Cook*
Astun Technology Ltd, The Coach House, 17 West Street, Epsom, Surrey, KT18
t:+44 750 095 8167
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