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Press release

Open Source Geospatial Foundation

An umbrella for community-led GIS and mapping projects

The Open Source Geospatial Foundation has been created to support and build high quality open source geospatial software. The foundation's goal is to encourage the use and collaborative development of community-led projects. During a meeting in Chicago structure and vision were defined.

During the meeting a interim Board of Directors was formed. Five project managers were elected from a longer list. They come from North America and Europe and represent various communities along with different technology (C, C++, Java, PHP, Python, Javascript, etc.):

  • Arnulf Christl - Mapbender, CCGIS, Germany;
  • Chris Holmes - GeoServer/GeoTools, The Open Planning Project, U.S.;
  • Gary Lang - MapGuide, Autodesk, U.S.;
  • Markus Neteler - GRASS, Istituto Trentino Di Cultura, Italy;
  • Frank Warmerdam - GDAL/OGR, Canada.

The first set of board members will be extended by another four members to be selected by the community subsequently.

OSGF draws governance inspiration from several aspects of the Apache Foundation, including a membership composed of individuals drawn from foundation projects. The initial membership consists of the five board members plus 16 other participants who attended the meeting. The target of 45 members is being established through a public nomination process from the wider open source geospatial community. Each nominated person shall be recognized due to her/his contribution in terms of software, documentation, translation or other. From the list of nominations, 24 members will be elected by the current members.

The foundation will only accept projects released under Open Source licenses certified by the Open Source Initiative (OSI). The long term goal is to encourage licenses that allow the different projects to work better together and permit for code exchange among the foundation projects. Means of avoiding the inclusion of proprietary or patented code will be established. Foundation projects are focused on interoperability, with one another at the library level, and with other proprietary and open source projects through the use of open standards.

While an initial set of projects was proposed as founding projects, several projects such as MapServer and GeoTools are currently seeking for a decision within their communities weather to join. Initial OSGF projects are Mapbender, MapBuilder, MapGuide, GDAL/OGR, GRASS, and OSSIM.

The foundation will also be pursuing goals beyond software development, such as promoting more open access to government produced spatial data. Access under reasonable conditions to geospatial data is a major problem outside of Northern America.

Thanks to the use of Internet Relay Chat (IRC) during the meeting, discussions were open to peers outside of the meeting room. The consensus reached at the Chicago meeting paves the way to establish a powerful, inclusive foundation.