[Geo4All] [geoforall-ab] Ideas invited from "Geo for All" community for Global Week to help demonstrate and raise awareness of "geo" in education at UNESCO

Cozzi, Patrick pcozzi at agi.com
Mon Aug 15 07:24:23 PDT 2016

Hi all,

As an educator and open-source geospatial developer, I admire the principles of Geo4All.

At the University of Pennsylvania, all of my course projects are open-source; I mentor projects and speak in Penn's open-source software development course; and I advise independent study projects that produce useful open-source software [1].  I also serve on conference committees such as FOSS4G NA and FedGeoDay.

At AGI, I started Cesium and open-source development in general, and continue to lead these efforts.  There's some misinformation about Cesium in this thread that I would like to clear up.

1. Cesium is truly open-source as defined by the Open Source Initiative [2].  Cesium uses the Apache 2.0 license (an OSI approved license [3]), follows the Contributor Covenant's Code of Conduct [4], has dozens of contributors not employed by AGI [5], has public roadmap discussions where everyone is encouraged to participate [6], strictly follows Contributor License Agreements [7], has tons of documentation to create an inclusive community for new users and contributors [8, 9], and is considered by many to be an open-source community success story [10].

2. In addition to creating a genuinely useful software project that has, for example, proved to be a successful successor to Google Earth [11] and widely used at NASA (search for "NASA" in [12]), the Cesium team is now creating an ecosystem including open formats to move the 3D geospatial field forward without vendor lock-in.  These formats include glTF for efficient 3D models [13], an open standard that we created as part of The Khronos Group (who also maintain WebGL, OpenGL, COLLADA, etc), and 3D Tiles for streaming massive heterogeneous 3D geospatial datasets [14].  We've fostered these formats in openness by having spec development, editing, and discussion in GitHub repos.

3. The existence of a Cesium Pro version does not imply that open-source Cesium is a distant second.  Cesium Pro could more literally be named "Cesium with niche aerospace features."  It serves a narrow market that creates funding for the sustainability and rapid development of the broad open-source Cesium.  AGI is passionately supporting open-source Cesium for the long-haul as all our new initiatives are built on it.  We would, for example, never make the core terrain and imagery engine faster in Cesium Pro, but not open-source Cesium.  The tangled fork alone would be too much work to maintain.  Open-source Cesium will remain first rate and use only open formats so, for example, data sources can come from any vendor, with open- or closed-source software.

Please let me know if you have specific questions about Cesium.  I'm happy to provide info and respect that ultimately the decision to use Cesium for Geo4All, MapStory, etc. is up to you.

Also, one thought for criteria for Geo4All's endorsement: consider a minimal first requirement of only using projects with OSI approved licenses as this comes with many guarantees about the open use of the project [3].

Finally, I suggest avoiding terms like "license free" since if a project does not have a license, it is technically "all rights reserved."  I would also try to avoid "commercial" in some contexts since, at least in the US government's eyes, open-source software is commercial software [15].


[1] http://www.seas.upenn.edu/~pcozzi/projects.html
[2] https://opensource.org/osd-annotated
[3] https://opensource.org/licenses
[4] https://github.com/AnalyticalGraphicsInc/cesium/blob/master/CONTRIBUTING.md#code-of-conduct
[5] https://github.com/AnalyticalGraphicsInc/cesium/blob/master/CONTRIBUTORS.md
[6] https://groups.google.com/forum/#!topic/cesium-dev/jGgNInY2Fqo
[7] https://github.com/AnalyticalGraphicsInc/cesium/blob/master/CONTRIBUTING.md#contributor-license-agreement-cla
[8] http://cesiumjs.org/tutorials.html
[9] https://github.com/AnalyticalGraphicsInc/cesium/blob/master/Documentation/Contributors/README.md
[10] http://cesiumjs.org/publications.html#growing-an-open-source-community-lessons
[11] http://cesiumjs.org/for-google-earth-developers.html
[12] http://cesiumjs.org/demos.html
[13] https://www.khronos.org/gltf
[14] https://github.com/AnalyticalGraphicsInc/3d-tiles
[15] http://dodcio.defense.gov/Open-Source-Software-FAQ/#Q:_Is_open_source_software_commercial_software.3F_Is_it_COTS.3F
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