[OSGeo-Edu] BOF notes

Scott Mitchell smitch at mac.com
Thu Oct 22 19:41:22 EDT 2009

Here's my attempt to take notes yesterday at the BOF (second attempt  
sending it, this time from the right address):

Notes on Education/Curriculum BOF discussion, FOSS4G2009, 23 Oct 2009,  
Sydney NSW - taken by Scott Mitchell

- participants, please don't hesitate to correct/add/expand on the  
mailing list if I've missed or misrepresented anything in these notes

- started meeting with a quick review of Charlie's email - clear  
consensus that we all really appreciate all the work Charlie has put  
in, we send best wishes to him and his family;  we are very happy with  
the leadership he has provided as Chair, and we hope he will  
continue.  At the same time, we recognize the workload issues in the  
tasks we want to tackle, and encourage volunteers to take ownership of  
sub projects within our group

- started curriculum discussion - Tyler gave brief summary of what  
we've done so far for newcomers to the group - the efforts to document  
what's out there is working really well - the online database was a  
good development, much improved over the wiki

job - need to finish checking re: things that are in wiki but not in  
the database - Venka will do this - if still valid / current etc,  
transfer to database

- but this is courses, not a whole curriculum - showing the AAG "Body  
of Knowledge" book as an example - outline freely available, but need  
to buy the book to get the real content - organized well - we examined  
the document's outline and quickly looked into some of the modules

Tyler's idea was to use this or something like it as an outline  
instead of starting from scratch; Venka wonders if there are any  
similar ones elsewhere?  Only one we know about is the older NCGIA work.

Tyler would like to get a digital copy of the text if possible - take  
the subsections, e.g. map algebra, etc., use the curric as is, but put  
in sample data sets and instructions to use FOSS4G tools to explore  
the concepts being taught - so how to learn the lesson using the tools  
we know/like/advocate - come up with OS examples

Maria: this curric can be too much and too little - hardly anything  
re: the Internet, for example, one bullet point on web mapping only

Discussion: could still use and figure out what to fill in - maybe  
even contribute back?; On the other side, it's quite long / big -  
could be challenging to get it all covered

The existing content inventory is normally focussed on specific  
technologies, whereas the curriculum idea would be more concept  
based;  might want to concentrate on specific areas within the curric,  
work together (at the beginning, while we explore the process), and  
see what it takes to complete the process to a consensus approval

Massimiliano: could also have parallel demonstrations - e.g. how to do  
it with QGIS, how to do it with GRASS, etc...

Venka: see example Hengl and Reuter (2008) Geomorphometry - has  
examples on how to do it with GRASS, QGIS, Arc etc.

--> could add other software versions through time

general agreement that it makes sense to agree upon topics to start with

Venka suggests AM3 and AM4 (basic spatial processing);  discussion -  
in addition to these, group has interests especially in data,  
cartography, etc.

purpose - enable more tool-independent education of GIS/geomatics/geo- 
infomatics education, so that it can more easily include OSGEO tools

prioritize by things we already have (harvest from existing database  
of lessons etc)

- also take advantage of the software groups in OSGEO - make requests  
to them for help - could do things like "using the same dataset, and  
what we want to show, how would you use your software package to  
accomplish the task"; define approach and collect examples of  
implementation - sell it as improving their documentation (or, where  
stuff exists, maybe collect the links to the specific steps; no need  
to rewrite everything)

Thierry: in Québec, has worked with education ministry people - they  
have identified Questions in the program, and gather information on  
how to answer the question - so like we're talking about, but  
specifically using the model of "how to answer this question" - e.g.  
instead of typical software documentation "how to set up a WMS  
server", questions like "What is WMS?"  "What are the requirements to  
set up a WMS service?" (what needs to be done to data, etc etc…)

- could go after future contributors and/or local chapters for  
extending versions that have other localized data set examples - so we  
would need to define from the beginning what kind of data set is  
needed for this module, and then what we want to show with it, so then  
other peoples can be clear on how to extend to new examples -->  
documenting clearly the data needs will really help others provide  
localized data - also refer to possible sources as we learn them so  
that others can follow - and think when choosing about the fact that  
some things are available for free with global coverage, so examples  
using these would be the easiest to port to new places

Do we choose some now?

Maria proposes she can coordinate GS-5 - adding practical exercises to  
sharing geospatial data - or maybe need a new one e.g. "IN-1" - the  
Internet section
AM-4 and AM-5 seem very do-able
Tyler could go through and match up existing modules to the modules of  
the curriculum (recognizing limitations of using just existing stuff),  
and is interested in CV-4 - but maybe AM4/5 first?

Where possible, be software version independent, but could focus on  
the Arramagong image, and include links to install instructions etc,  
but our interest is not to write software installation

- use keywords where possible to make searching easily - the structure  
of the curric good, but adding keywords will further aid finding what  
one needs

- develop an outline for what data is needed, the approach to get it,  
and how to demonstrate the concepts in the learning modules

people committing to help with AM4/AM5:  Venka, Tyler, Scott

people committing to help with Internet mapping: Maria, Scott

Other people also expressing interest in helping, but I didn't keep up  
- let's follow up with this on the mailing list

FreeGIS book - Lorenzo here now - over many hurdles in the past years,  
but not much in the past year - recognize need to find sponsorship -  
need a professional editor; huge logistics involved; hope to part of  
Barcelona conference income to fund some of this work; then can also  
translate - dream is to have a book capable of multiple contributions,  
easy to update, allow sponsors, etc.  Not clear yet re: costs for the  
editing, but thnking of someone half time for one year; will research  
this more;   concentrate on coming up with a version 1, but still 0.x
--> lead to discussion of the 2010 conference

Adjourned to go catch the cruise
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