[OSGeo-Discuss] What is North America?

Adrian Custer acuster at gmail.com
Fri Nov 11 11:25:16 PST 2011


On Fri, 2011-11-11 at 11:29 +0100, Seven (aka Arnulf) wrote:
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> Now that a North American Regional Chapter is emerging I wanted to
> understand what the term "North America" actually means. Just a few
> example:
> 
> In my cultural context (Germany) the Unites States on their own are
> typically called "Amerika" which in reality is a whole continent. To
> many Germans Kanada (yes, with a "K") is just a US wilderness adventure
> park (Canadians: no offence meant). In many South American countries US
> citizens are nowadays called "Gringo" which originally meant "Green Go"
> and relates to US "interventions" in Middle and Southern America.
> 
> So for many non-North-Americans the term might be really, really fuzzy
> which is why I thought it would be a good idea to define it more
> closely, started here:
> http://wiki.osgeo.org/wiki/Talk:North_America_Regional
> 
> Looking at the typical roles of a local chapter (or in this case a "meta
> local chapter" or "regional chapter") I would suggest that this chapter
> would be the primary point of contact for the organization of a FOSS4G
> event in English language in either the US or Canada. Extending it
> beyond these two countries would probably raise a whole lot of
> additional issues starting with language (Spanish) and ending with
> politics (Cuba) - which will probably complicate things beyond
> recognition. I can also see other meta chapters forming with a more
> Spanish speaking background in the Middle Americas, so there is no
> exclusivity here at all. The Spanish speaking Local Chapter might also
> be a good template to see how this could look.
> 
> But anything I say here is absolutely not fundamental at all, just 2ct
> from an outsider (sent in the hope that this list will see a broadly
> inclusive dialog about how this group will evolve).
> 
> Have fun,
> Arnulf

What a strange mail.

If you are playing with a definition based on geography and nation
states, then you have to include France as well in North America for the
two itty, bitty islands it claims of the eastern coast---doesn't
territorial occupation suck?

Your language argument, however, seems to abandon any geographic basis
and focus on English based on some definition by cultural domination.
For a geographic definition, you would have to include French both for
Qu├ębec and for the French territories in the Atlantic(vis above). To be
realistic, you should probably include Spanish a well since that is an
officially supported language in many regions of America, north of the
Rio Grande. Finally, if you wanted to be correct, then there are many,
many other languages spoken here, many of which are native to the
geographic region. 

Then again, if you leave things vague, then people who want to do 'free
software' in 'the general area around the great lakes' might all want to
play. Oh sorry, not the people focused on freedom, the people focused on
'openness' of source 'code' for whatever benefit that might bring.

But anything I say here is absolutely a waste of time.

~adrian




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