[Live-demo] Teaching Spatial Programming - Raspberry Pi

Ari Jolma ari.jolma at gmail.com
Fri Jun 1 12:59:39 PDT 2012

On 06/01/2012 08:35 AM, Suchith Anand wrote:
> Thanks all for these valuable inputs. For the long term, It will be really good if we can start planning ideas for geospatial educational packages for OLPC, Raspberry Pi etc. I will start plans to arrange a special workshop session in OSGIS 2012 to focus on this. In fact, Ari Jolma (Aalto University, Finland) has send a workshop proposal focusing on packaging for OSGeo-Live , so that might be a good opportunity to plan future developments.
> Ari, let us know your thoughts as well .

huh? Isn't this thread specifically about Raspberry Pi? It's an 
interesting concept - kind of a whole computer in a space where we 
previously had just a memory stick. ARM hardware is very different from 
the traditional PC.

Yes, I'm committed to prepare a workshop (with help from the Ubuntu GIS 
people) (partly practical partly OSGeo-edu strategic) on packaging stuff 
so that it's compatible for the OSGeo live. It seems to me very 
practical to be able to bootstrap virtual machines or live sticks with 
complex setups (software, data, configurations, materials) for classes.

Best regards,


> Best wishes,
> Suchith
> ________________________________________
> From: Alex Mandel [tech_dev at wildintellect.com]
> Sent: Friday, June 01, 2012 12:12 AM
> To: Cameron Shorter
> Cc: Jim Klassen; Suchith Anand; Giles Foody; A.S. Bradbury; live-demo at lists.osgeo.org; Robert Mullins; Mike Jackson; Jeremy Morley
> Subject: Re: [Live-demo] Teaching Spatial Programming - Raspberry Pi
> Yes, it's a different cpu architecture and could require some changes to
> ensure compilation. Debian maintains an ARM build but I think QGIS or
> GRASS fails to build on that arch. Ubuntu does have some support as it's
> necessary to port to many tablets which now run ARM (e.g. kindle, nook,
> etc) but it does not build on launchpad normally only x86 does (i386 and
> amd64(x86_64)).
> So for things that need compiling, we'd need to make sure they compile
> or have packages for the arch. For stuff like Java it requires that
> there be a jre for the arch (I'm sure openjdk from debian is there) and
> that it has all the pieces people expect. As far as osgeolive goes it
> would be a special VM or emulator of an arm chip or an ARM based machine
> that we'd do a special ARM build on. So it would be akin to offering an
> amd64 build too in terms of work, once we have a proper ARM system
> somewhere.
> Long term yes, I think a RasberryPi could be used for teaching
> geospatial. Initially I think that might be limited to gdal/ogr, geos
> and python built around those, thought the work on the QGIS android port
> might be applicable.
> OLPC would probably happen sooner since that x86 based (could likely
> happen now).
> Thanks,
> Alex
> On 05/31/2012 03:56 PM, Cameron Shorter wrote:
>> Jim,
>> I'm unfamiliar with ARM, and what impact it will have on us as software
>> developers. Anything we need to know about?
>> On 1/06/2012 8:47 AM, Jim Klassen wrote:
>>> The other key spec to the Raspberry Pi is that it is ARM rather than
>>> x86 based.
>>> On May 31, 2012, at 16:12, Cameron Shorter<cameron.shorter at gmail.com>
>>> wrote:
>>>> Hello all,
>>>> I've been asked whether OSGeo-Live would run on Raspberry Pi, to be
>>>> used as a teaching device a.
>>>> Raspberry Pi is a $25 credit card size computer. It runs Debian and
>>>> only has 256 Meg of RAM. http://www.raspberrypi.org
>>>> I've CCed the OSGeo-Live email list, as I expect there will be many
>>>> on the list with an interest, and probably a few opinions too.
>>>> The challenge will be the size of RAM. Up to version 5.0, we ran
>>>> OSGeo-Live with 512 Meg of RAM, but with version 5.5 we discovered
>>>> that some of the Java applications required more RAM, and we
>>>> recommend at least 768 Meg RAM, and preferably 1 Gig.
>>>> The problem will be all the java based applications, which are RAM
>>>> intensive.
>>>> You could potentially run OSGeo-Live, without invoking the java based
>>>> applications and there are a C based applications for most, if not
>>>> all the tasks you would likely to be teaching.
>>>> You could test this be running OSGeo-Live in a Virtual Machine, and
>>>> limiting the size of the RAM in the Virtual Machine to 256 Meg of RAM.
>>>> You can see approximate RAM usage, and core language for many of our
>>>> applications in the following spreadsheet:
>>>> https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/ccc?key=0Al9zh8DjmU_RdGIzd0VLLTBpQVJuNVlHMlBWSDhKLXc#gid=13
>>>> OSGeo-Live is based upon Xubuntu (which is a small version of
>>>> Ubuntu), and I note from the faq that Ubuntu is not supported by
>>>> Ubuntu. That might be a problem.
>>>> What you may need to do is start with a Debian Squeeze distribution,
>>>> then execute the OSGeo-Live build process, probably with a few
>>>> tweaks, to build a custom OSGeo-Live. In this process, you might also
>>>> only select applications which will run within the 256 Meg limit.
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