[OSGeo-Discuss] Board Candidate's Statement: David Bitner

David William Bitner bitner at dbspatial.com
Wed Aug 10 11:48:26 PDT 2011

Thank you very much for your consideration to become a member of the OSGeo

I have been involved with the community that came to be OSGeo since working
on the planning committee for The MapServer Users Meeting in Minnesota in
2005 (the immediate predecessor to the FOSS4G conference) and helping to
found the Twin Cities MapServer Users Group (now a local OSGeo chapter) with
the others who were involved in planning that conference. I have been the
OSGeo Public Geospatial Data Committee chair since 2007. It is my experience
with that committee that leads me to want to work more strategically with
the OSGeo Board.

The Geospatial Data Committee has been largely ineffective and dormant
throughout it's existence. The importance of geodata has always been
recognized as a critical part of OSGeo leading to the formation of this
committee alongside the founding of OSGeo. There have been a number of false
starts at creating a central catalog on OSGeo resources. There have been
loosely affiliated efforts such as the FlightGear Scenery Project and Open
Aerial Map take 1. The only truly successful geodata project coming directly
out of OSGeo has been led not by the Geospatial Data Committee, but by the
Education Committee with the set of data pulled together for educational
usage. I don't see the inactivity of this group as a failure, but more as a
recognition that while an absolutely critical component of using OSGeo
products, there simply is not the energy within our organization to tackle
everything that we would like.

I have been very excited to see the partnerships and MOUs that have been
coming down the pipe recently. One critical way that we can help to prevent
spreading our resources too thin that we are ineffective is to work with
other like minded groups. The partnerships that we have with the OGC and now
in the works with several educational groups is a great way for us to
leverage the strengths and particular audiences that these other groups
bring in. In particular, I think that there are significant opportunities
for OSGeo to support and partner with domain-specific groups. Having worked
significantly in the humanitarian/emergency response world through my
involvement with the Sahana Software Foundation, OSGeo software is being
heavily used throughout this domain by people and projects like Sahana, the
Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team, CrisisMappers, and Crisis Commons. By
supporting these groups through cooperation we can help more people in this
domain become aware of and use OSGeo software (and correspondingly can make
more OSGeo folks aware of opportunities that they may have to support these
humanitarian efforts). I see additional opportunities in finding ways to
work with groups that have traditionally been stovepiped. In particular
there is much work being done in domains such as public transportation,
aviation noise, city/county public information, large government or
organization SDI. Whether through creating MOUs or informal partnerships
with groups that are already supporting these domains or extending our local
chapter concept to create domain users groups with mailing lists this is the
key direction that I would like to push for OSGeo.

Again, thank you very much for your consideration and I look forward to
seeing many of you in Denver!


David William Bitner

David William Bitner
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