[OSGeo-Discuss] Vision for an OSGeo education program

Suchith Anand Suchith.Anand at nottingham.ac.uk
Fri Oct 28 20:02:44 PDT 2016

Excellent to see all these ideas coming in.  +1 for simplicity. One of things i learned talking to students from India to Africa to Europe is that they are all using QGIS  . In Spanish speaking regions this might be different (gvSIG) . Students  are not using the 50 + software that is available in OSGeo Live and they are not interested in all of them. 

I also learnt that students (esp.  in developing countries) download the software  usually from their university network and  then share it in USBs, so in fact one student who downloads one copy of QGIS is making thousands of copies . So scale of expansion is huge. 

In fact, having a properitery vendor is really good as now students and staff really appreciate the value of free and open source software like QGIS and they are empowered to share it with their fellow students.

Thanks Cameron, Angelos, Randal, Jeff , Gert-Jan and everyone who are contributing new ideas for planning our future expansion in education.

Best wishes,

From: Discuss <discuss-bounces at lists.osgeo.org> on behalf of Gert-Jan van der Weijden - Stichting OSGeo.nl <gert-jan at osgeo.nl>
Sent: 28 October 2016 8:52 PM
To: 'Cameron Shorter'; 'Randal Hale'
Cc: discuss at lists.osgeo.org; geoforall at lists.osgeo.org
Subject: Re: [OSGeo-Discuss] Vision for an OSGeo education program

Cameron, Rabndal,

Not just for kids in schools, but for any outreach towards new potential users (of any age) a stripped-down version of OSGeo-Live can fulfil an important role.
Supplying the OSGeo-Live user with 7 desktop FOSS4G products, 8 browser based GIS-es, 15 webservice-oriented pieces of software etc.  is a bit overwhelming.

In the field of webdesign Steve Krug's  "Don't make me think" [1] is a classical saying  , just as "less is more" is in architecture.

Of course , it's hard and trivial to make a selection. But Stripping the OSGeo-Live DVD down to a Live CD (or CD Single?)

Main selection criteria should be the easy of use of individual packages and the ease of combining a few packages.
Not necessarily the packages with the best performance, the most functions etc.

Kind regards,


Van: Discuss [mailto:discuss-bounces at lists.osgeo.org] Namens Cameron Shorter
Verzonden: vrijdag 28 oktober 2016 21:31
Aan: Randal Hale; discuss at lists.osgeo.org; geoforall at lists.osgeo.org
Onderwerp: Re: [OSGeo-Discuss] Vision for an OSGeo education program

<changing email title to a solution focus>


I love your OSGeo educational vision. Its practical, it has a clear vision, it sounds achievable, it is something which could start small and then scale, and I think it has the potential to inspire people to contribute to it. If it attracts a few motivated and driven contributors, I believe it has all the hallmarks of a successful Open Source project [1]. I want in!

I can also help out with setting up processes and reviewing documentation.

I think the first step to work out is our vision, and then clearly define our first few releases, ensuring they are achievable. Randal, you've made a great start on that. Maybe something like:

* Simple for teachers to use.

* Focus on quality over quantity

* Has clear teaching goals.

* Makes use of cool, inspiring use cases that kids will connect with and find relevant.

* Maybe a really engaging use case would be to allow kids to add the school's basketball hoop to Open Street Map, and then know that their contribution will be around forever

* Re content, are there national or international learning guides we can trace back to? If proprietary vendors are linking back to these, and we do the same, it will provide opportunities for teachers to mix-and-match classes, similar to switching applications which all access datasets using the same WMS standard.

One of the key requirements we are going to need is user feedback. Having teachers report back on the success of their classes, describing what they'd like to achieve so that we can help implement it for them. Randal, as you appear to have already built that connection, I suggest you'd be the best person to start defining what the first classes should look like?

What should be our first target audience? What age group? Who is prepared to drive that?

[1] http://cameronshorter.blogspot.com.au/2011/06/memoirs-of-cat-herder-coordinating.html

On 29/10/2016 1:54 AM, Randal Hale wrote:

The way I look at it - and this is from watching Teachers at the school: Imagine getting a disk full of software. Have a colleague come over and repeatedly poke you in the head while you try to figure out what is on the disk and where the instructions are. In a few more minutes have someone come over and start singing while you are getting poked in the head. Maybe someone pours water in your shoe in another 2 minutes.

It needs to be that simple. That's what the ESRI folk are doing "Lessons, 'free', and here is the Documentation".

Simple: software, x directories with x lessons.

A giant Red button with "Don't Panic" in nice friendly letters.

On 10/28/2016 10:39 AM, Angelos Tzotsos wrote:
So according to Randal, to reach out to schools we need a scaled-down and lighter OSGeo-Live build (probably without the server side applications), with different documentation included. Maybe based on Edubuntu?

I volunteer to make a custom OSGeo-Live iso for kids, but we will need lots of feedback and volunteers to shape up a new documentation.

Last year I had the chance to teach several hours of OpenStreetMap to school kids in a municipality initiative and I can totally agree that things are different with kids. They did not seem to have much difficulty with the OSGeo-Live UI, but we ended up playing with iD and less with desktop applications, like josm.

just my 2c


On 10/28/2016 04:55 PM, Randal Hale wrote:
If I can just chime in (I told my cat I wasn't).

The kicker in this is ESRI is deeply entrenched everywhere. They've entire groups of people just focused on "giving to schools". I was at the helm of rolling out a full ESRI rollout to a school in 2012. We had a 50 seat lab setup. I ended up moving them over to FOSS4G 2 years ago - and I need to go back and update their setup (they don't know how). The school is Title 1 (which means the school is very poor). The computers are better than what they normally get - BUT - they will be using them longer than what they need to. They will be unable to run the next version of ESRI Software. The computers can still run FOSS4G software.

The teachers here in the US (and I have no doubt this is the case everywhere) are stretched thin. That's what makes ESRI so nice. They show up and go "here is a curriculum (of sorts) and here is 'free' software". It's a short term win. They have people targeted to do just that.

So what would Randy do (and I've thought about this more than I care to mention) to introduce FOSS4G into the schools:

A bootable disk with FOSS4G software (I am partial to QGIS - other things exist) and not everything like the OSGEO Disk. A few select pieces of software with a purpose:

 * 10 lessons of 1 hour apiece to work through that are student
   oriented (maybe pick an age range - 12-16)
     o Start globally and work down to locally. Maybe we have different
       local datasets.
 * An explanation for the teachers. They don't understand like we do -
   they need us there for hand holding and encouragement. They can
   manage kids - We need to help manage the lessons. I'm not a teacher.
   I can teach adults - but not kids - it's a whole different  game.
 * A spot where teachers can get the lessons (NOT GITHUB) and the disk
   (maybe we combine all things into a bootable USB stick).
 * Help - a place where they can get help (NOT GITHUB). My town has 30+
   schools. If more than 1 does this I can't be everywhere. ESRI put
   out a call for Geomentors. We put out a call.
 * We have COMMUNITY - I don't believe ESRI currently does. They have
   an advertising budget. 20 years ago they had community. We have
   momentum now. Community is greater than an Advertising budget.
 * Advertise it. Ask for help from the teachers.
 * Update it.

I know I'm asking for a lot - it's time intensive - but I think it's 100% doable. I go to speak at 2 colleges on GIS Day on nothing but FOSS4G.

We've got all the pieces to make this work except time. I'll carve out some time if this gets going.

I wished the cat had stopped me. Now I'm in it.

On 29/10/2016 12:56 AM, SERGIO ACOSTAYLARA wrote:

Thank you Jeff for your great answer to my ¿call? It's a pity the Geo4all Teacher Training and School Education Thematic Group (http://wiki.osgeo.org/wiki/GeoForAll_TeacherTraining_SchoolEducation) isn't as active as I think it should be as I find it's the group that can best answer to this "huge opportunity" as you call it. Sure Bridget is doing great work and we need to publicise it much more. We here are also doing hard work in order to disseminate the use of FOSS4G in schools (post -in Spanish- about last news: https://gvsigbatovi.wordpress.com/2016/10/25/jornada-taller-en-ceibal-y-creacion-de-equipo-de-seguimiento-gvsig-batovi/) but we surely need to work harder. It is not an easy task but it deserves doing the effort. It`s scaring to know that "youth -only- learn what ESRI means". We all know this provision of free ArcGIS online organization accounts to all K-12 schools in the US (note this: ALL K-12 SCHOOLS) is not at all philanthropic. Cameron, I agree with your idea and I can help with it.


Sergio Acosta y Lara

Departamento de Geomática

Dirección Nacional de Topografía

Ministerio de Transporte y Obras Públicas


(598)29157933 ints. 20329/20330



De: Discuss <discuss-bounces at lists.osgeo.org><mailto:discuss-bounces at lists.osgeo.org> en nombre de Jeff McKenna <jmckenna at gatewaygeomatics.com><mailto:jmckenna at gatewaygeomatics.com>

Enviado: jueves, 27 de octubre de 2016 21:34

Para: discuss at lists.osgeo.org<mailto:discuss at lists.osgeo.org>

Asunto: Re: [OSGeo-Discuss] Sharing sad news from the web...

Maybe what we are missing are the existing OSGeo-led education labs

inside highschools - I was cooking now and thought of the great work

being done by Bridget Fleming with the South African highschool

geography teachers.  How can we publish and share this great work, and

spread that out to other highschools around the world - can OSGeo's

Geo4All committee make that its focus now?

Anyway, 'food' for thought!

Thank you again Sergio for bringing this to everyone's attention.

Night all,


On 2016-10-27 6:04 PM, Jeff McKenna wrote:

> Hi Sergio,


> Thank you for sharing this news.


> I'd like to take this opportunity to take a moment for us, our

> foundation, to look in the mirror.  Like this article points out

> strongly (yet indirectly), we still have much work to do to reach the

> youth of today and tomorrow. And I don't mean the United States or any

> one country, as I see this in my own backyard in Canada and everywhere I

> travel for OSGeo: a focus on universities and industry (where the money

> and funding is), and a pure lack of focus on those fresh energetic and

> unbiased minds of youth in highschool and middleschool.  I see it each

> year in the Geo4All day (or PostGIS day, or GISDay, whatever we all call

> it) where events are held for university students and industry

> professionals, all over the world - the problem is those attendees of

> the events already know the thrill of the Open community, of geospatial,

> of our passion.  We miss the focus on today's youth.


> I always tried to speak to the back row of the theatre, to sing to those

> at the very back too shy to come forward yet so eager to be part of the

> spotlight, part of the community, and I put much focus on those rarely

> heard of communities and countries around the world, giving them the

> spotlight and the microphone to shine and grow and be seen and heard on

> the world stage - well, the time is now for us to give that spotlight to

> the youth as well.


> Now that Geo4All is the official education committee for the OSGeo

> foundation, we can use that committee to tackle this huge hole, or

> rather this huge opportunity.  Maybe the Geo4All committee feels that

> they are indeed handling this already, in the highschools etc, and this

> message can help Geo4All promote and recruit more champions for their

> existing work.  Great!  I'd like to hear of our equivalent for this

> ConnectED initiative by Esri, focusing on the youth (and not directly on

> universities), of how youth learn what "OSGeo" is, what "OSGeo" means -

> as this article strongly points out, youth learn what "Esri" means,

> indeed Esri continues to do great work and focus on that huge future

> market of youth.  But what are we doing as the OSGeo foundation? Talking

> here about that can help build this momentum.


> Just how many highschools and middle schools are involved in our Geo4All

> initiative by OSGeo's education committee?  Can someone come up with a

> total from the list of current labs?

> https://wiki.osgeo.org/wiki/Edu_current_initiatives  What does that

> total tell us?  How can we improve on that total?


> I actually was on the stage and handed an award to about 4 highschool

> students in person at the FOSS4G-Europe event in Como last year, on

> behalf of OSGeo; I saw their passion and spoke with them right after the

> session, they were thrilled to be included in this community.

> This was an award led by the Geo4All committee, so, this is an example

> of their great work with the youth of today - but I bet few knew of that

> award, well we can hopefully change that here through Sergio's wakeup

> message.


> I hope this message brings all those passionate leaders out there in

> OSGeo's Geo4All committee here, with their great examples of their work,

> and we can use this news shared by Sergio to help change this myth that

> OSGeo isn't a part of the youth activities today, get more press on the

> great work by the Geo4All committee of OSGeo (as mentioned by Cameron),

> and gather more champions to keep spreading our passion to the youth of

> tomorrow - as I've said many times, we're currently hiring champions


> -jeff
On 10/28/2016 09:16 AM, Jeff McKenna wrote:

As if someone is reading this ha, a tweet just came across my desk: https://twitter.com/GIS4Teachers/status/791981572991746048

So, we need to also get into that huge K-12 market, plant the open seed early :)  A challenge indeed.

Think on this over the weekend,


On 2016-10-27 12:36 PM, SERGIO ACOSTAYLARA wrote:

Sadly, only ESRI seems to exist for some in the USA...Imagine the
consequences of
this: http://www.pobonline.com/articles/100610-gathering-up-geospatial-pros-to-meet-massive-market-growth

Sergio Acosta y Lara
Departamento de Geomática
Dirección Nacional de Topografía
Ministerio de Transporte y Obras Públicas
(598)29157933 ints. 20329/20330
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Angelos Tzotsos, PhD

OSGeo Charter Member



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North River Geographic Systems, Inc


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