[OSGeo-Discuss] Happy news from GeoForAll

Suchith Anand Suchith.Anand at nottingham.ac.uk
Sun Oct 30 12:12:24 PDT 2016

Thank you Bridget  for sharing the experiences from South Africa and i fully agree with your insights on this. Talking to students in  India and many other developing countries, i  understood that they all (esp.  in developing countries) download QGIS  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 later.   So scale of expansion and impact is huge. I am so impressed by innovative thinking of  digital natives. No problem is big for them. In areas where internet is expensive  they come up with simple solution of downloading QGIS in thier university networks (where they have good connection) and then sharing QGIS in USBs to thier fellow students. The values of sharing and caring that  our current students globally have are more important than thier technical skills or knowledge and they inspire me every second. They are all true global citizens. Knowledge without compassion is useless.

I am also very happy that free and open source software like QGIS have  empowered  our students and by sharing the software ,  students are now the biggest donors of GIS software. They are breaking down the artifical barriers created by properitery GIS vendors and bringing down the walls of digital divide.  I was joking to some students in India that if they were a properitery GIS vendor they would be doing big press releases that they are now donating 100 billion USD!  

This week i was at Nairobi and had the opportunity to meet and discuss ideas with many government organisations , educators and students in Africa. I was also invited by colleagues at Kenyatta University to deliver an open lecture to staff and students on Friday evening after my main meetings just before i left Kenya . Kenyatta University  also offers Geo-related courses.   There were also students from Technical University of Kenya, Nairobi University, Jomo Kenyatta University etc  who came for my open lecture . The students also live streamed the lecture for the benifit of others worldwide . It was a pleasure to share ideas with excellent students from different universities and i learned a lot from them . I was really impressed by the scientific abilities of the students but more importantly thier interest and dedication for contributing for the betterment of  others. I really see the potential for all these students to be the future leaders in their respective professions.  For decades students in Africa and the developing world did not benifit from the opportunities of geospatial science because of high GIS software costs but now they themselves are changing it so everyone benifits from the opportunities of digital economy and they are rapidly bringing down the artifical barriers created by properitery GS vendors. The students are now writing the rules of the game not any vendor.

GeoForAll’s mission is make geospatial education opportunities open to all and to make sure we all work together to create global citizens contributing to the betterment of humanity. Having colleagues like Bridget, Serena lead  our African expansion and  Teacher training education is a great privilage for us. Now the whole OSGeo Foundation and OSGeo community (cc in) stands strongly behind education and we will rapidly accelerate our expansion. I thank   all teachers and  students in Africa and worldwide  for your dedication and efforts.

Best wishes,


From: GeoForAll <geoforall-bounces at lists.osgeo.org> on behalf of Bridget Fleming <fleming.bridget at gmail.com>
Sent: 29 October 2016 12:08 PM
To: geoforall at lists.osgeo.org
Subject: Re: [Geo4All] [OSGeo-Discuss] Sharing sad news from the web...

To add my bit from South Africa. Online GIS software is not a solution as internet access for us is expensive and most of our schools do not have connectivity. I’ve written a short paper on my GIS experiences in our local Journal for SA Geography Teachers: http://sagta.org.za/JoGESA-V2.php

QGIS ‘power lessons’ work best where GIS practioners come in and give short courses directly to the students. Even the most IT-savvy teachers are too fearful to give GIS classes. We have started a GIS Olympiad which is being rolled out nationally. My colleague will be presenting a paper at the upcoming AAG conference in Boston and I’ll do similar at the FOSS4G conference, also in Boston in August next year. I’m looking forward to meeting like-minded geographers in education as we need to pool our ideas. Gavin Fleming, my long-suffering husband has helped build a tangible landscape using GRASS GIS. My kids/ grade 8 to 12 love it. GIS has taken geography to another level. Keeping it simple works and Open Source does the trick!

Kind regards
Bridget Fleming

[cid:image001.jpg at 01D231E5.8CA04070]

-------- Forwarded Message --------

Re: [Geo4All] [OSGeo-Discuss] Sharing sad news from the web...


Fri, 28 Oct 2016 13:56:47 +0000


SERGIO ACOSTAYLARA <sergio.acostaylara at mtop.gub.uy><mailto:sergio.acostaylara at mtop.gub.uy>


Jeff McKenna <jmckenna at gatewaygeomatics.com><mailto:jmckenna at gatewaygeomatics.com>, discuss at lists.osgeo.org<mailto:discuss at lists.osgeo.org> <discuss at lists.osgeo.org><mailto:discuss at lists.osgeo.org>


geoforall at lists.osgeo.org<mailto:geoforall at lists.osgeo.org> <geoforall at lists.osgeo.org><mailto:geoforall at lists.osgeo.org>

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



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