[Geo4All] Ideas/inputs needed for spatial literacy geoeducation needs

Suchith Anand Suchith.Anand at nottingham.ac.uk
Sun Aug 14 03:50:18 PDT 2016


Thank you for your reply. Though MapStory and Cesium might be different issues, in a way it is really good we are having this discussion now as it helps us find the best direction forward on our education aims for the future .

I fully agree with you  that in the spirit of the Geo4All community, we should have a frank, open discussion that is inclusive of everyone . Our maillists are open to all and we have everyone from students to all the major properitery vendors who have joined our Geo4All list. This inclusiveness and openness is key to our DNA. Everyone is welcome to share thier view points and ideas. Anyone interested can join and share thier views/suggestions at http://lists.osgeo.org/mailman/listinfo/geoforall

I fully understand that there is no "one solution" that fits all needs and requirements. The point you made on government organisations having policy requirement  that demanded commercial support contracts is valid .  You also gave an important example that  "US government customers could include open source geo components in operational systems, which, under policy, demanded commercial support contracts.  Without this, the US Government's uptake of FOSS4G technologies in its various  systems was largely limited to R&D and prototype systems.  Now, with commercially supported FOSS4G technology, the USG has vastly expanded its use of FOSS4G tech in its production systems."  This is also true for other government organisations in UK, Europe etc who might have similar requirements that demand commercial support  for FOSS4G technologies. The requirements for governments, industry, SMEs are all different and needs  different solutions tailored for each requirements. OSGeo ecosystem has now lot of big and small companies, SMEs etc and that is a good sign of a healthy ecosystem.

Geo4All's  focus in on Education only and for that it is important that all tools that we use (or endorse) should be fully free and open to all forever. I thank you for  your commitment that "The MapStory Foundation would be happy to sign something that commits it to the Open Principles that Geo4All stands for" and i also appreciate your efforts that  the MapStory Foundation has, for 5 years, worked to ensure that the technical platform driving www.mapstory.org is license free and sustainable off in to the future.

I believe that the Geo4All community and Geo4All Advisory Board should discuss this and then decide how to move forward on our endorsing any software, tools, initiatives etc.  All the tools and initiatives that we endorse (currently OSGeo Live, gvSIG Batovi etc are all to follow this). I request the Geo4All Advisory Board to provide us guidance on this.

My thinking is that even if it is initially difficult, OSGeo should work to build our own tools for spatial literacy needs. That is only way to ensure that all these tools are freely available to all for the future. If we look at the GIS Education, for over many decades there was a monopoly created by  properitery GIS vendor. Only in the last few years, we were able to remove this monopoly  and the way we did it was making truly free and open software and educational resources available for all. This  empowered academics and educators globally and brought down the "Iron Curtain"  build over decades by the vendor. Now no vendor can dictate terms to any academic or educator or student.

My focus has been to build strong foundations and frameworks for Geo4All, so that colleagues can keep building up this for the future. I am truly grateful for all our colleagues who have put huge amounts of thier time and efforts for Geo4All, so that we can ensure geoeducation opportunities are open to all and for our future generations.

Even though we don't have have our own spatial literacy education tool at this moment, we have strong foundations in place and a vibrant community to put this in place for the future . We have the whole OSGeo stack of software  that the  OS community can apply to build   solutions (OpenLayers etc). If we depend on external vendors for education then there is always a risk which is beyond our control . For example, Google Earth's early days of an open API, that eventually went lights out is a reminder  that we should not depend on vendors for our education needs. We should also support other organisations who are working for Open Principles in Geoeducation globally and build synergies but always have our own tools/platforms developed in the long term.

I welcome ideas/inputs from the everyone on this. I request the Geo4All Advisory Board to give time (2 months), so that everyone gets fair time to put forward thier views/suggestions and then come up with a clear strategy and framework for endorsing software/tools that we use for our education needs.

Best wishes,


From: Christopher Tucker <tucker at mapstory.org>
Sent: 13 August 2016 5:31 PM
To: Anand Suchith
Cc: geoforall at lists.osgeo.org; geoforall-ab at lists.osgeo.org; Smith, Todd
Subject: Re: [Geo4All] Ideas/inputs needed for spatial literacy geoeducation needs

Repost with Todd Smith cc:d.  Sorry for the oversight.

On Aug 13, 2016, at 11:57 AM, Christopher Tucker <tucker at mapstory.org<mailto:tucker at mapstory.org>> wrote:


I appreciate your concern, and your willingness to stand guard in support of the Open Principles that we all stand for.  I am, however, concerned that this discussion is conflating two important issues.

The MapStory Foundation would be happy to sign something that commits it to the Open Principles that Geo4All stands for, if that is any help.  The MapStory Foundation has, for 5 years, worked to ensure that the technical platform driving www.mapstory.org<http://www.mapstory.org/> is license free and sustainable off in to the future.  To not do so would violate our own charter.  I do not know how to be more clear on this.  Hopefully this issue is settled.  If it is not, please make it very clear what the MapStory Foundation and its Board of Trustees can do to settle this issue.

The second issue is simply whether Cesium is an open source toolkit that the Geo4All community can rely upon, based on an adherence to the Open Principles promulgated by Geo4All.  I simply do not know the answer to this.  Neither I nor MapStory are part of the Cesium project.  And, I have no idea what the specific intellectual property regime surrounding it is.  It is good to hear that the Geo4All initiative is standing guard, and providing feedback to its members about its concerns regarding the motives surrounding various open source geospatial projects.  However, I would actually want to hear from the Cesium team before making any decisions about whether it conforms with the Geo4All Open Principles.  The posts by Patrick and yourself quote websites.  In the spirit of the Geo4All community, I think that we should have a frank, open discussion that is inclusive of all of the parties that have something at stake.  Anything short of that would seem to run counter to Geo4All Open Principles.

I don’t know if anyone from the Cesium team is on the Geo4All list.  But, I am cc:ing Todd Smith, who I met many years ago (a decade ago?) when he showed up in the Open Geospatial Consortium process.  Todd was a leading voice inside AGI making the case for Open Geospatial Consortium standards, and the net result has been a transformation in how AGI architected its products, resulting in robust implementations of the OGC standards-based architecture.  Perhaps he can provide us some personal insights as to the motivations and plans of the Cesium team at AGI.

Thanks again for standing up for the Geo4All Open Principles and helping spark much needed discussion.

Dr. Christopher K Tucker
Chairman of the Board of Trustees
The MapStory Foundation
tucker at mapstory.org<mailto:tucker at mapstory.org>

On Aug 13, 2016, at 7:53 AM, Suchith Anand <Suchith.Anand at nottingham.ac.uk<mailto:Suchith.Anand at nottingham.ac.uk>> wrote:

Dear Geo4All community,

We are an open community and it is important that we always listen to different views/ideas and  work to find a consensus. That is our strength.  I am also learning more on  spatial literacy tools needs and requirements listening to different colleagues ideas/viewpoints and  i do not have the answers but i hope the "combined wisdom of the community" will help us find the ideas forward [1].  So please share your ideas  as i think it is important the various views are discussed and considered before we make a decision.

For geoeducation needs , I  dont think that there is only one open source virtual globe platform  and i think it is important for a healthly ecosystem there has to be many different open source solutions.

Ideally we would like to have a simple and easy to learn platform for our geoeducation needs but what i am concerned is there is now a pro version for Cesium and what the implications of this might be in the long term (20 + years) for geoeducation if we depend on it . If we support MapStory and they start using Cesium and in say 20 + years or so time there is changes to AGI plans , all the efforts we will put in might go wasted. This is a good time to discuss ideas on this and work to have a decision on this now as currently we are just starting our initial ideas for spatial literacy  for geoeducation so we can explore many options.

Personally, i always try to ask the simple question in GeoEducation " Is what we doing  will ensure that free and open geospatial education opportunities  are available not just to current generation but also to our future generations" . Quite frankly with Cesium's new pro version i am concerned on depending on this for any of our geoeducation needs even if it is indirectly. Maybe i am wrong and AGI will provide strong support for thier open source version for the long term but i dont know.

I think  we need to find an answer as a community on how we move forward on MapStory or any other platform we want to use for our education needs.  I am sure all of us working together and sharing ideas will help us find a good solution forward. So i encourage you to please share your ideas so we can find a solution.

I also greatly appreciate rather just saying yes/no, please provide us ideas on solutions that as a community we can explore to have our own  spatial literacy tools for geoeducation and how you can help us on this. If we come together as a community we can do this. Everything we did so far was like that. For example, initially when we wanted to start our webinar series we did not have our own system so initially depended on an external provider but as soon as one of our labs had the capacity , we decided to run our own webinars (Thank you Rafael)  and also reached out to working together for joint webinars with like minded organisations like UCGIS and ASPRS etc.

Easy to use spatial literacy tools is important for our education needs and currently we do not have our own tool/platform for this but if the OSGeo community can come together , we should be able to build upon ideas to build our own tool for this in the future. That way we can ensure that this will be available for free and open to all in the long term. So help us by proposing solutions for our spatial literacy tools needs. Thanks.

Best wishes,


[1] http://lists.osgeo.org/pipermail/geoforall/2016-August/003112.html

GeoForAll mailing list
GeoForAll at lists.osgeo.org<mailto:GeoForAll at lists.osgeo.org>


This message and any attachment are intended solely for the addressee
and may contain confidential information. If you have received this
message in error, please send it back to me, and immediately delete it. 

Please do not use, copy or disclose the information contained in this
message or in any attachment.  Any views or opinions expressed by the
author of this email do not necessarily reflect the views of the
University of Nottingham.

This message has been checked for viruses but the contents of an
attachment may still contain software viruses which could damage your
computer system, you are advised to perform your own checks. Email
communications with the University of Nottingham may be monitored as
permitted by UK legislation.

-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: <http://lists.osgeo.org/pipermail/geoforall/attachments/20160814/4995e555/attachment-0001.html>

More information about the GeoForAll mailing list