UnitedNations Committee

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The OSGeo Board of Directors met with the UN GIS team at FOSS4G in Seoul, Korea in September 2015. The UN GIS team is very interested in having OSGeo "at the table". Mr. Kyoung-Soo Eom, chief of the UN Geospatial Information Section, has invited OSGeo to be part of a working group on Geospatial Information and Services for Disasters to support the UN migration to Open Source Geospatial software solutions.

UN Open GIS initiative

"... it is to identify and develop an Open Source GIS bundle that meets the requirements of UN operations, taking full advantage of the expertise of mission partners (partner nations, technology contributing countries, international organizations, academia, NGOs, private sector). The strategic approach shall be developed with best and shared principles, standards and ownership, in a prioritized manner that addresses capability gaps and needs without duplicating efforts of other Member States or entities. The UN OpenGIS Initiative strategy shall collaboratively and cooperatively develop, validate, assess, migrate, and implement sound technical capabilities with all the appropriate documentation and training that in the end provides a united effort to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of utilizing Open Source GIS around the world."

UN Open GIS Initiative Terms of Reference (draft)

1. Objectives

The Objective of the UN Open GIS Initiative is to identify and develop open source geospatial software and services that meet the requirements of UN operations, taking full advantage of the expertise of mission partners including partner nations, technology developed by contributing countries, international organizations, academia, NGOs, and private sector.

2. Terms of Reference

These Terms of Reference are effective as of (date) and will be ongoing until terminated by agreement of the Strategic Board (SB).

3. Membership

The members of the UN Open GIS Initiative are composed of:

  • Contributors: Any organization who agrees with the objectives of the UN Open GIS and actively contributes to the UN Open GIS Initiative in terms of financial, materials, solutions, technologies, or human resources. The Contributor membership shall be decided by the Strategic Board.
  • Observers: Any individual person or organization who agrees with the objectives of the UN Open GIS and participate in the UN Open GIS Initiative activity. The Observer membership shall be granted by the Strategic Board.

4. Roles and Responsibilities

The governance structure of the UN Open GIS Initiative comprises of:

  • Strategic Board:
  • Co-Chairs and Secretariats
  • Technical Advisory Group
  • Requirement Advisory Group
  • Assessment Team
  • Spirals

4.1 Strategic Board (SB)

The Strategic Board consists of representatives from each contributor where each contributor nominates one representative to the Strategic Board. The Strategic Board is responsible for deciding goals, strategic planning, creation of new spiral, election of co-chairs, appointment of technical advisory group members, requirement advisory group members, and assessment team members.

4.2 Co-Chairs

There are three Co-Chairs, where one Co-Chair is appointed from UN and two Co-Chairs are elected among the Strategic Board members. They chair the Strategic Board meeting and take the responsibility of all UN Open GIS Initiative activities.

4.3 Secretariat

The secretariat is made of representatives of the contributors in support of the Co-Chairs and the activities of the UN Open GIS.

4.4 Technical Advisory Group (TAG)

The Technical Advisory Group consists of key technical experts from the contributors and specialists, appointed by the SB. This group is responsible for the synchronization of spirals and technical decisions on the UN Open GIS architecture. The TAG will elect one group leader and co-leaders, who organize and moderate the activities of the group.

4.5 Requirement Advisory Group (RAG)

The Requirement Advisory Group consists of key experts from UN and the contributors appointed by the SB. This group is responsible for identifying and providing the requirements of geospatial solutions and services for UN operations. The RAG will elect one group leader and co-leaders, who organize and moderate the activities of the group.

4.5 Assessment Team (AT)

The Assessment Team consists of key experts from UN and the contributors appointed by the SB. This team defines proper assessment methods and procedures, and carries out assessments of the deliverables. The AT elects one leader and co-leaders, who are responsible for maintaining the activities of the team.

4.6 Spirals

Since each goal of the UN Open GIS Initiative is achieved in incremental ways, we operate working group, called Spiral, for each specific goal. New Spirals are created by the SB for specific goals. The SB will designate one leader and co-leaders. The leader and co-leaders will develop a work plan to achieve the goals.


A. Definition of Open Source

Open Source encompasses two related concepts regarding the way software is developed and licensed. They are codified in the "Free Software" and the "Open Source" definitions. "Free and Open Source Software" refers to software which has been made available under a free software license with the rights to run the program for any purpose, to study how the program works, to adapt it, and to redistribute copies, including modifications. These freedoms enable Open Source software development, a public, collaborative model that promotes early publishing and frequent releases. The Open Source Initiative has developed a set of 10 requirements of any software license that is to be considered an Open Source license under the Open Source Definition.

B. (March 11, 2016) The Founding Contributors comprises of

  • UN (Headquarter, GSC, Field Mission Teams)
  • GeoSHAPE Project (USA)
  • OpenGeo Suite Project (USA)
  • OpenGDS (Republic of Korea)
  • OSGeo (NGO)
  • GeoForAll (Educational Outreach of OSGeo Foundation)
  • GeoSDI (Italy)

C. The list of Spirals is as follows;

- Spiral 1 – UN Open Geo-Portal (March 11, 2016) led by Anthony Calamito

- Spiral 2 – Capacity Building (May, 2016) led by Maria Brovelli

- Spiral 3 – Geo-Analysis (March 11, 2016) led by Hae Kyong Kang

- Spiral 4 – Data Acquisition (March 11, 2016) led by Ki-Joune Li

D. (October 30, 2016) The initial Strategic Board Members comprises of

- GeoSHAPE: Juan Hurtado

- OpenGeo Suite: Anthony Calamito

- OpenGDS: Ki-Joune Li

- OSGeo: Massimilliano Cannata

- Geo4All: Maria Brovelli

- GeoSDI: Dimitri Dello Bruono

- UN HQ: Kyoung-Soo Eom

- UN GSC: Mohamed A. Mohamed

- UN Missions: Jasenko Udovicic, Kais Zouabi

E. The Co-Chairs are

- Juan Hurtado (March 11, 2016)

- Ki-Joune Li (March 11, 2016)

- Kyoung-Soo Eom (August 30, 2016)

F. (August 30, 2016) The Secretariat comprises of

- Danica Baptist

- Hae-Kyong Kang

(Modification History)

  • Initially Drafted by Ki-Joune Li, Aug. 26, 2016
  • Corrected by Danica Baptist, Aug. 26, 2016
  • Corrected at SB meeting, Aug. 30, 2016
  • Corrected by Ki-Joune Li, Oct. 10, 2016 to finalize SB and Secretariats and to reflect the modification of the initiative name
  • Corrected by Ki-Joune Li, Oct. 21, 2016 to reflect the comments from OSGeo members.


  • Support the UN's member states and committees through:
    • OSGeo's service providers
    • the GeoForAll network
  • Emphasize to the UN and its members the benefits of the stable OSGeo stack of projects
  • Establish communication between the UN-GIS team and the OSGeo community.
  • Foster the outreach activities of OSGeo



October 2015

March 2016

  • OSGeo participated to a UNopenGIS initiative (Brindisi, Italy, 5-10th March 2016) meeting and where formally incorporated in the UN Open GIS initiative as member of the initiative technical committee.
  • Call for "UN Training Material". The Material available here: https://wiki.osgeo.org/wiki/UNTraining

April 2016

  • Birth of "Spiral 2: Capacity Building" Working Group under the direction of Maria Antonia Brovelli (OSGeo), Diego Gonzales Ferreiro (UN) and Juan Curtado (US South Command).
  • Decision (taking into account UN exigencies) to start the training with QGIS, PostGIS, Geonode, Geoserver, OpenLayers
  • Call for volunteers within GeoForAll for revising available tutorials related to QGIS, PostGIS, GeoNode, Geoserver, OpenLayers

May - June - July 2016

  • Revision and discussions about QGIS, PostGIS and GeoNode tutorials. People contributing: Alberta Albertella, Gregory Giuliani, Scott Hatcher, Ivana Ivanova, Thomas Mueller, Rick Smith, Mike Pumphrey, Vivien Deparday, Ariel Núñez, Paolo Corti, Francesco Stompanato, Dimitris Karakostis, Dilek Emanetoglu, Arun Kumar Muthusamy, Andres Felipe Poveda Sanchez, Stanly Shaji

August 2016

  • UNopenGIS governance has been defined and OSGeo and GeoForAll have been incorporated in it:

Massimiliano Cannata and Maria Brovelli are member of the Strategic Board, Serena Coetzee and Jeffrey Johnson are member of the User Requirement Committee, Jeroen Ticheler and Sanghee Shin are members of the Technical Committee, and Gregory Giuliani member of the Assessment Committee.

September 2016

  • The 19th September 2016 the first UN virtual class of Spiral 2 will start their activity with GeoAcademy QGIS.The virtual class will work using the Beep Platform of Politecnico di Milano, as teaching platform. Tutors of this first course will be:

Thomas Mueller, Rick Smith and Youngok Kang. Alberta Albertella will help in accessing and using the platform (for sharing material, upload files, homework, webconference, blog, etc)

Four editions of this course will be issued for a total of 72 GIS experts of Operational Field (Peacekeeping Actions) of UN. The courses will be: 19 September - 18 October 2016 19 October - 18 November 2016 19 November - 19 December 2016 9 January - 8 February 2017

Volunteers who will be involved are: Thomas Mueller, Rick Smith, Youngok Kang, Lene Fischer and Kurt Menke. Volunteers who will be activated if needed: Darshana Rawal, Ivana Ivanova, Adeymo Ayodele Oba

November 2016

  • Second UN openGIS initiative workshops will be held in Seoul 7-11 November

Committee Meetings

Next meeting

Time can be refined taking into account people who are interested in attending. Please write here: name/main city in your time zone/ mail address / in such a way that I try to plan the best option.

  • Maria Brovelli / Rome / maria.brovelli@gmail.com/
  • Cameron Shorter / Sydney, Australia / cameron . sh or ter AT gmail

Previous meetings