[OSGeo-Discuss] Capacity development and Open Innovation opportunities for all

Suchith Anand Suchith.Anand at nottingham.ac.uk
Fri Oct 27 13:14:23 PDT 2017

Dear colleagues,

I participated in the Group on Earth Observations Plenary meetings at GEO Week in Washington DC this week and had the opportunity to meet and discuss ideas with colleagues from around the world.

I want to thank  the excellent work of the GEO Secretariat Team for the excellent GEO Week 2017 . I am happy to see that Capacity Development is a key focus for GEO and lot of activities happening.  Capacity Development needs to empower the developing world. Having Open Data alone will not help the economically poor countries/regions if the GIS tools needed to make use of Open EO data is expensive and proprietary. Free and Open Source GIS tools will enable developing countries to also benefit and be equal partners. It will help also create and accelerate local innovation opportunities in EO and location based technologies and stimulate local industry and accelerate new jobs creation in digital economy for value added services building upon technologies.

The startup community is especially open to the use of open software and open data avoiding licensing restrictions which may impact on their business plans, raise early start-up costs and restrict their ability to innovate allowing them greater branding freedom and product flexibility. There are now many excellent startups happening especially in Europe , USA  and  Asia  building upon Open EO data and we need to make sure these ecosystems prosper. It is important that there are no monopolies are created by any  existing properitery GIS vendors. There should be many platforms and systems to make sure there is vibrant innovation ecosystem. If there is only one big proprietary GIS platform to deliver all services (based on publicly funded and released EO data ), then the proprietary GIS vendor will become monopoly.  Hence, it is important there is lot of competition to ensure no monopolies are created.  If there is lot of competition then Governments and taxpayers as a whole will benefit from cost efficiencies, reduce the cost of lock-in to suppliers and products.

There is already a fast growing ecosystem of SMEs and startups in open geo data services and this need to be supported by the right policy frameworks and instruments .  The right policy frameworks are needed to help create the conditions for creating and sustaining thousands of highly skilled jobs in the future.   I have highlighted the need for capacity development activities to empower everyone.

There was lot of mention of OSGeo and our various software projects in many sessions that I attended at Geo Week but I did not see any startups or companies from the Open Source Geo ecosystem at the GEO Week. There was also many interesting projects like Open Data Cube (ODC)  https://www.opendatacube.org  that was presented  to support interactive data science and scientific computing which might be of interest  .

Open innovation is key in driving Digital Economy opportunities and we are determined to make sure that everyone benefits. I really hope that we keep building the momentum on Capacity Development for enabling Open Innovation opportunities for all.

Best wishes,


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