Core Curriculum Project

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The project aims at creating and promoting curriculum material that supports the goals of the Foundation. The intent is to provide material that is accessible by a broad audience including academia, professionals, and the general public. Material supported through this project should directly or indirectly build and strengthen the open source geospatial user and developer communities. This can be accomplished by integrating the use of OSGeo endorsed tools in curricula that teach geospatial concepts and applications as well as the creating curricula to teach skills necessary for people to actively participate in supported OSGeo software and data projects.


The Core Curriculum Project of the Open Source Geospatial Foundation is currently in the "definition phase". (some comments)

Likely scenario

  • Information gathering
  • Develop list of potential participants
  • Invite people/organizations to express interest
  • Discuss potential charter and project name.
  • Present charter to OSGeo Board for approval.
    • Charter should probably have "Terms of Reference" - i.e. what the group will do
    • Charter should probably have an initial list of participants/organizations (no need for membership)
    • Charter should name a Chair, and optionally a Vice-Chair or co-Chair and some initial members.
  • Assuming project is approved, or even before it is - Get to work!

Other Ideas

  • From Helena Mitasova

I read Ned comments - if you look at NCGIA Core Curriculum, it is very broad, so I suggest to keep at least the word Curriculum there (drop Core)--if we want to stress education in general, how about calling it Education and Curriculum Project. It would be great if we could build a curriculum that people who teach at universities and colleges could use to build OSGEO courses and programs (NCGIA curriculum linked in the docuemnt is a good example). For example, if I had to teach geospatial analysis using GRASS, I am OK, but if I wanted to include a section about Mapserver a curriculum section prepared by somebody who has a lot of experience with it would be a great help.

  • From Charlie Schweik

Since I am new to this group and have been introduced via my email address, for the group's information let me give you a short status on what I am up to. I am a faculty at University of Massachusetts, Amherst in the Department of Natural Resources Conservation. Right now I have two part-time students helping me develop some tutorials on Q-GIS. I have been teaching an Intro to GIS course for some time but am relatively new to OS GIS products, so I'll be learning. I am planning on offering in April-May sessions to my students an overview to Q-GIS, and then some tutorials on fundamentals like georeferencing a scanned map, online digitizing, getting GPS data overlaid, etc. I see this as an entry point toward the use of GRASS. My ultimate goal over the next 6-8 months is to have some kind of distance learning material developed for use in an "Intro to OS GIS" online course offered out of my institution next Spring 2007. Having done research in Nepal for several years, part of my motivation for doing this was to help my colleagues there who desperately need GIS but face serious budgetary problems. I am not exactly sure how this will work under the context of my University's distance learning program. But I am a great proponent of open access and hope to use some kind of open content license (e.g., and see great value in helping move this project forward by contributing the material here to this broader educational effort. I need to see what kinds of requirements my university has related to material and an "official" online course that might get in the way of this vision. I had always envisioned making my material available somehow (e.g., MIT Open Courseware,, etc.) so the establishment of this OSGeo Curriculum and Education project is exciting to me. In short, I hope I can figure out how to use what I am doing to help this project and perhaps through this effort whatever we develop can be improved by the community here.

  • From Ari Jolma

Gary Watry from FSU has prepared a 65 page Quantum GIS tutorial, which could be useful, at least duplicate work should be avoided. I got it from him directly, as far as I know it is not yet on the web.

Concerning the curriculum and education project in general. I think we don't want to do something similar as NCGIA website, which, by the way, is not linked to any specific software as far as I see.

I try to be inpartial in my teaching, which is often difficult in this field and may lead to confusion on the students part sometimes on software issues. I also try to teach theory as opposed to practical use of software. So I have problems trying to figure out what is it that we should produce. I think tutorials like Gary's are good. Another good idea could be complete worked out examples, which the students can re-do, perhaps on their own time (distance learning) or without too much tutoring in a computer classroom. I've done a few like that (for example non-point source modeling and travel time analysis) but they still need quite a lot of tutoring. One problem I have is that as the software develops so fast (and I've used mostly my own..) the procedure changes slightly from year to year.

Using free tools in distance learning is really good because students can freely install their own copies of the software. On the other hand, for example my software is currently Linux-only, so it is not practical with many people. => There's a common interest with the OSGeo project creating installation packages.

I'd like to have some sort of timetable and agreed ways of working: mostly email or mostly wiki?

  • From Helena Mitasova (in response to Charlie)

My idea in that respect was to use it to outline what to teach in different units (that is what NCGIA does) and then link to it a material that shows how to do it in a specific software using selected data. So for example we can have a unit on DEMs and topographic analysis

 - the Curriculum will outline what is included under that unit and that can then be linked to several materials:
 - general theory including equations and algorithms (this can be just a link to a relevant chapter in FreeGISBook)
 - teaching material for use with GRASS
 - teaching material for use with SAGA
 - whatever else will people contribute to support this unit.

In this way we can minimize redundancy, cover number of different software packages and it will have an additional benefit that you can compare and see what would be the best for the class - e.g. topoanalysis in one package maybe more suited for natural resources students a different one would be better for computer science.

  • From Prof. Venkatesh Raghavan

I think Curriculum, Education and Capacity Building initiatives related to OSGEO could be broken down to three (or more) phases

Phase 1 Short term (six months)
a) Assimilation of existing tutorial, lecture notes, training documents, presentations that are available or could be made available under Open Document or Creative Commons License.
b) Discuss how Curriculum can be structured with existing resources. Identify gaps for developing new material.
Phase 2 Medium term (one year)
a) Setup a e-learning portal ( to manage existing course material and obtain user feedback. Have been experimenting with Moodle recently and we are trying to put together a online training course based on some of the material that we developed earlier. Could help with hosting a Moodle site if necessary (
b) Develop multi-media contents (animations, screen casting), data set for tutorial etc to facilitate self-learning.
Phase 3 Long term (two three years)
a) Develop standardized mechanism for testing (question banks, quiz, assignments etc). Moodle is quite good for this purpose
b) Translation to local language and collection of datasets for geographic locations some language locales. Working with datasets that the candidate is familiar with can make learning easier.
c) Initial review and improvement of contents and possible establishment of OSGEO Virtual University to cater to education, testing and certification of OSGEO Engineer.

Potential Members

If you add people/orgs to this list, please indicate whether you're adding yourself/your organization or whether you are "nominating" the person/organization as a potential member.


  • Scott Emmons (added by Tyler): University of Northern British Columbia - emmons at
  • Ned Horning (added by self): American Museum of Natural History’s Center for Biodiversity and Conservation
  • Ari Jolma (added by self): Helsinki University of Technology, Finland ari.jolma at
  • Puneet Kishor (added by self): punkish at eidesis dot org; GeoAnalytics, Inc., soon to join Univ of Wisconsin - Madison
  • Tyler Mitchell (added by markusN): Author of Web Mapping Illustrated [1]. Seminars at local schools: University of Northern British Columbia, Canada [2] and College of New Caledonia, Canada [3]. Email tylermitchell at
  • Helena Mitasova (added by self): North Carolina State University, [4]
  • Pericles Nacionales (added by self): University of Minnesota, naci0002 at umn dot edu
  • Matthew Perry (added by self): University of California, Santa Barbara, perrygeo at gmail dot com
  • Charlie Schweik (added by self): University of Massachusetts, Amherst, cschweik at pubpol dot umass dot edu
  • Ian Turton (added by self): Penn State Uni, State College, developed Open Web Mapping course at Uni of Leeds, UK [5] now modifying it for PennState. ianturton at gmail com work blog
  • Venkatesh Raghavan (added by self): Osaka City University, Japan raghavan at
  • Aaron Racicot (added by self): Ecotrust, Portland Oregon USA - aaronr at
  • David Hastings (added by self): United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific, email hastingsd at



Existing Work


  • S. Erle, R. Gibson, and J. Walsh, 2005, Mapping Hacks. O'Reilly Media, Inc., 564 pages, ISBN 0596007035,