FOSS4G 2011 Denver LOC
- 1 Hosting Committee and Local Community
- 1.1 Supporting Local Organizations
- 1.2 United States Government Participation
- 1.3 Local Organizing Committee
- 1.4 The Geospatial Open Source Community in Colorado
- 1.5 Use of Free and Open Source Software in Denver/Boulder Research Centers
Hosting Committee and Local Community
Supporting Local Organizations
The Denver LOC has the support of a wide range of local organizations. This is reflected in the number and variety of letters of support we have received from organizations, including: Commercial geospatial companies utilizing and contributing to FOSS like AutoDesk, WeoGeo, and Galdos; User organizations like FRUGOS and Rocky Mountain URISA; Government organizations like the USGS; and major research centers like NSIDC and NOAA NGDC.
United States Government Participation
The United States Government has traditionally been a major supporter of FOSS4G, as well as a significant source of free (gratis and libre) geospatial data. In fact, it was the U.S. Army Construction Engineering Laboratories (CERL) that first developed the open source GRASS GIS. This tradition is carried well into the 21st century with projects like the National Aeronautical and Space Administration's (NASA) WorldWind open source virtual globe. The US Geological Survey (USGS) provides free data access to it's geospatial holdings, adding to the significant US Census TIGER/line free data. Recently, the USGS and NASA announced a return to 100% free data from Landsat starting with the first scene captured in 1972 to today.
The current U.S. Administration, lead by President Barack Obama, has issued an Open Government Initiative and established Data.gov, a website for sharing spatial and non-spatial datasets. This follow up on their campaign platform: “Making government data available online in universally accessible formats to allow citizens to make use of that data to comment, derive value, and take action in their own communities."
This represents an unprecedented call to action from the highest levels of the US Government to release (free, as in libre) data by implementing open geospatial standards. This effort is dependent on the future of FOSS4G. As such, the Denver LOC anticipates significant participation in a Denver-hosted FOSS4G 2011 by civil servants throughout the US Government.
Local Organizing Committee
The proposed Organizing Committee for a Denver-hosted FOSS4G 2011 would slightly redefine "local." Having seen FOSS4G grow to an international scale, we wish to expand "local" to include not just a city, region, or even a state but the entire continent. Our initial organizing committee is mostly local to the Colorado Front Range but will be expanded to include contributors from throughout North America. We will actively seek out input and direction from FOSS4G contributors in Canada and Latin America as well as Indigenous Nations.
Peter Batty has worked on geospatial software since pre-open source times. He is currently Vice President of Geospatial Technology at Ubisense, Inc., as well as founder and President of Spatial Networking, a heavy PostGIS user, and a contributor to OpenStreetMap. Previously, he has been CTO at Intergraph and Smallworld. He was a member of the OGC technical committee in its formative years. He has been heavily involved in the organization of multiple conferences, including three years on the GITA Annual Conference committee and many user conferences for Ubisense and Smallworld. He has spoken at roughly 100 geospatial conferences spread across 16 countries and 5 continents. He has served on the board of GITA since 2004 and on the editorial advisory board of GeoWorld magazine since 1996.
Steve Coast is the founder of OpenStreetMap, a collaborative map of the world made by people like you. Steve has worked in many heavy lifting computing applications before co-founding a Web consultancy firm with Nick Black in 2006. In 2008, this became CloudMade after investment by Sunstone Capital. Steve lives on planes and in airports and is most easily contacted by e-mail.
Tyler Erickson is a research scientist for the Michigan Tech Research Institute and an Adjunct Assistant Professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Michigan Technological University. Dr. Erickson's research interests include algorithm development for geostatistical analysis and designing internet-based geospatial information systems. An example of Dr. Erickson's work on communicating science research using open-source geospatial and virtual globe technologies was selected as a winning entry for Google's KML in Research competition. Dr. Erickson serves as the director of MichiganView (http://michiganview.org) and the technology chair of AmericaView (http://americaview.org), which are non-profit consortia of academic, non-profit, and governmental organizations that promote the use of remote sensing technologies by supporting research, education, workforce development, and technology transfer.
James Fee is the Chief Evangelist for WeoGeo helping people organize, share and monetize their geo-content. As WeoGeo's Chief Evangelist, James helps people organize, share and monetize their geo-content. James’ years of experience working with geospatial technology helps users make smart choices about implementing GIS more effectively. He blogs about geospatial technology at his blog (www.spatiallyadjusted.com) where he writes extensively about the implications of geospatial technology on workflows. He has also helped develop an online community culminating in Planet Geospatial (www.planetgs.com). James has been a frequent presenter at geospatial conferences around the world and a frequent columnist at Geoinformatics Magazine.
Sean Gorman founded FortiusOne in 2005 to bring advanced geospatial technologies to market. Dr. Gorman is a recognized expert in geospatial analysis and visualization. He has been featured around the world in media such as, Wired, Der Spiegel, ABC, Washington Post, Business 2.0, and CNN, and his expertise is sought after by organizations such as the Critical Infrastructure Task Force and the Homeland Security Advisory Council.
Mikel Maron is founder of Mapufacture (now part of FortiusOne), and web developer for hire, specializing in Open Geospatial and Wiki tech. He’s been active in the standardization of GeoRSS and in the OpenStreetMap collaborative mapping project, and several open source projects. He’s developed two of the first Wikis in use at the UN. Previously, Mikel worked as senior developer of My Yahoo! and researched evolutionary models of ecosystems for an MSc at the University of Sussex.
Bruce Raup is an Associate Scientist at the National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC) in Boulder, Colorado, USA, and Technical Lead on the GLIMS project there (glims.org). To support his work in glaciology, Bruce has used nothing but free and open source software for ten years. He has developed and implemented a geospatial database of glacier outlines and other glacier information using PostGIS and MapServer, and almost daily uses software such as GMT, GDAL/OGR, GRASS, and increasingly OpenLayers. He started a group at NSIDC to exchange ideas about open source geospatial software and protocols. He strongly supports the use of open standards and open source software, and is continually amazed at the endless possibilities of Web-based geospatial applications through the use of those open standards.
Charlie Savage is the founder and CEO of MapBuzz. Before founding MapBuzz, he helped launch Ubisense, a world-wide startup that provides indoor location tracking technology. Prior to that, he was Chief Architect for GE Energy’s Substation and Automation & Network Reliability division. Charlie has contributed to a number of open source geospatial projects, including GEOS, Gdal, PostGis, and Proj4. He has a blog at http://cfis.savagexi.com.
As Principal of The Timoney Group, Brian has practiced GIS and Web mapping in fields such as the energy exploration, environmental remediation, and defense contracting. As a heavy user of open source tools such as PostGIS, MapServer, and the GDAL/OGR libraries, Brian contributes to the community by heading up FRUGOS (Front Range Users of Geospatial Open Source), a group that maintains a mailing list and conducts periodic workshops and meetings in the area. Brian participated in FOSS4G-2007 (both conducting a workshop and presenting), and has presented at conferences such as GeoWeb, Where 2.0, and Location Intelligence.
Andrew Turner is the co-founder of Mapufacture, a personalized geospatial search and aggregation platform. Mapufacture was acquired by FortiusOne in August 2008. With Mapufacture, he consulted with companies such as MapQuest, the BBC, and the UN in developing their geospatial and community components. Andrew regularly speaks at conferences on the benefits of open-source software and geospatial standards and publishes books and reports through O'Reilly Media. Previously, Andrew was an aerospace engineer building airships, spacecraft and realtime immersive simulators. He received his B.S in Aerospace Engineering and Computer Science from the University of Virginia and his Masters from Virginia Tech.
Ben Tuttle is a GIS & Remote Sensing Scientist at the National Geophysical Data Center in Boulder, CO, as well as a Geography PhD Student at the University of Denver. He is a firm believer in the use and power of Open Standards and Open Source software. He is a regular user of GDAL/OGR, Mapserver, PostgreSQL /PostGIS, OpenLayers, and World Wind. Recently, he has been working on publishing much of the data he works with via WMS/WCS/WFS, building GeoWeb applications, and teaching a class on using Mapserver and PostgreSQL/PostGIS.
Eric Wolf is a Research Geographer in U.S. Geological Survey's Center of Excellence for GIScience. He is a board member of GeekLabs, Inc., a leader in applying FOSS technology to "smart-grid" energy systems used in developing nations. In 1994, Eric co-founded the Chattanooga Unix, Gnu, And Linux User Group (CHUGALUG), to provide a network for professionals using FOSS in the Chattanooga Area. He is a Geography PhD Student at the University of Colorado at Boulder under the advisement of Dr. Barbara Buttenfield.
Dr. Rafael Moreno-Sanchez received his Bachelor of Science in Forestry from Chapingo University, Mexico in 1982 and his Master of Science and PhD in Natural Resources Management from Colorado State University in 1992. He has worked as a researcher for the National Institute for Forestry, Agriculture and Livestock and served as the Director of the National Center for Forest Ecosystems Conservation and Management in Mexico. He was the Director of the Master of Science in GIScience program at the University of Denver for two years, and is currently an Assistant professor in the Department of Geography at the University of Colorado-Denver. He teaches courses in GIS science, environmental science, and sustainability in natural resources management. His recent research publications include book chapters on Decision Support System for Forest Management in Mexico, the Geospatial Semantic Web, and the use of Open Source Software in creating web-based cross-border health spatial information systems.
The Geospatial Open Source Community in Colorado
As a hub of technical innovation, the Front Range features a variety of companies and individuals deeply interested in the application of open source geospatial software. In the Summer of 2006, Sean Gillies and Brian Timoney organized a mailing list to loosely tie users together and christened it "FRUGOS"—Front Range Users of Geospatial Open Source. What has characterized FRUGOS since its inception has been the participation of folks from a broad swath of backgrounds who don't necessarily consider themselves "GIS" people. Indeed, Colorado has a number of organizations catering to traditional GIS constituencies, so in many ways it has been quite edifying to bring out in the open the latent interest in alternative approaches with geospatial open source.
Among the events FRUGOS has organized has been an UnConference hosted by Tom Churchill (of Earthscape renown) in Boulder that drew about 25 enthusiasts, including folks such as Scott Davis, Peter Batty, Charlie Savage, et al. In addition, we had an after-hours MapServer/PostGIS workshop hosted by Bruce Rindahl in Denver that drew an overflow crowd of at 35 people, remarkable for the fact that they were more "mainstream" GIS users than "hackers". Last winter saw FRUGOS-apalooza: four events, four nights, four bars in Denver, Ft. Collins, Boulder, and Colorado Springs. Just as important as the 20-25 attendees for each stop was the fact that by getting the word out via the primary GIS mailing lists (maintained by GIS Colorado) as well as other non-GIS open source mailing lists, the "tour" created an awareness of FRUGOS that far exceeded those who attended.
The exposure of open source solutions at the GITA-sponsored GIS In the Rockies conference in recent years. From showing the role of MapServer in the City of Denver's GIS Department to Tim Beerman of CH2M-Hill demonstrating live feature editing in Google Earth using Feature Server and PostGIS, this too has been a venue for the traditional "base" of the GIS Community to exposed to real-people-doing-real-things with open source.
In short, through the work of FRUGOS, we not only are effectively providing a forum for current users of geospatial software in the area, but are providing opportunities for long-time users of proprietary GIS packages to learn more and see its everyday uses up close. The implications for hosting the FOSS4G 2011 conference are clear: a large community of GIS users who are aware of the role of open source software in their field as well as a track record of well-attended FRUGOS events geared to both the hacker specialist and the manager/generalist.
Use of Free and Open Source Software in Denver/Boulder Research Centers
Open Source software is used extensively in regional research institutions such as the National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC), NOAA's National Geophysical Data Center (NGDC), Unidata, and university departments. As an example, NSIDC stores ever-increasing amounts of data and metadata in PostGIS databases, which in-turn drive interfaces based on MapServer, GeoServer, and OpenLayers. Datasets are subsetted on-the-fly using GDAL. NSIDC's drive to use Free and Open Source software is a combination of low cost, high performance, flexibility, and the ability to share solutions and IT infrastructure with collaborating outside institutions. They have found that FOSS geospatial software has good functionality and high performance that easily meet their system requirements.
Support is plentiful via online documentation and mailing lists, and there have been cases where reported bugs have been fixed in a matter of hours. NGDC uses both open-source and commercial software to accomplish their mission and depends on Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC) standards. While in some case this involves using only open-source software, NGDC has also been very successful in integrating open-source and commercial software to develop powerful solutions. Unidata, part of the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research (UCAR), is dedicated to providing tools and infrastructure to support earth and atmospheric sciences. They are the developers of the netCDF data access libraries, the IDV visualization tool, and heavily involved in the development of the OGC WCS standards. In short, the research centers in the Denver/Boulder region benefit greatly from many Free and Open Source geospatial software applications, and are giving back to these communities through sharing expertise and bug reporting.