Google Summer of Code Administrator Handbook

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This page collects wisdom from past OSGeo Google Summer of Code administrators.

TODO(anne): add links to OSGeo wiki relevant pages.

The administration of OSGeo Google Summer of Code is a complex task that is better splitted between 2 administrators. Therefore the handbook presents the tasks already divided in 2 sets.

Past editions of OSGeo GSoC counted around 20 accepted students and 30+ active mentors, from OSGeo and like-minded geospatial projects. This is the whole group of people that the admins have to coordinate.

First of all, the OSGeo admins will greatly benefit from good communication skills - overall, GSoC as admin means dealing with many people with different communication styles. Mediation is important. Sometimes it requires more than one email to fully understands what happens and subsequently decide what is appropriate to do.

Primary administrator

The primary administrator acts as the main point of contact between Google and OSGeo, and takes the final decision over disputed cases.

The expected response time of the primary administrator is 24 hours, even less when there are deadlines and urgent matters ahead.


Before GSoC coding starts

  • Get appointed by the Board: see past years, it is a Board request that gets voted at the first available meeting, or per email.
  • Complete GSoC application on Melange - before February 20th.
  • Decide how to allocate slots to the participating projects: emeritus administrators are there to help.
  • Send out the call for participation - make a global call for GSoC, and ask for further dissemination:
    • Inform at least the following mailing lists:
      • OSGeo-discuss
      • OSGeo soc
      • ICA-OSGeo Labs
      • announce (send mail with announcement text to news_item at
    • Contact fellow geospatial organisations, if they wish to participate as OSGeo guests, and decide how many slots to assign them
  • Approve mentor requests on Melange: see details in wiki page, mentors are expected to send a short introduction and list which projects they plan to mentor.
  • Manage osgeo-gsoc-mentors forum on Google Groups. This is a invite-only private group, mainly used when allocating slots, and later for discussion over problematic cases.
    • Invite new mentors
    • Ask mentors from previous years that are now students, to unsubscribe
    • Other idea: make a new Google group each year.
  • Manage soc mailing list on OSGeo servers.
  • Participate to Google IRC meetings: there are a few meetings that solve duplicated acceptances and other matters. One administrator per organisation needs to be present.

During GSoC coding period

  • Pay attention to deadlines both for mentors and students. Send reminder emails to soc mailing list with instructions.
  • Help with mentor-student communication: for many of the students, this is the first time they join a FOSS development team. They need guidance from their mentors in order to use communication channels effectively. When student-mentor communication is not working well, the administrator is welcomed to step in and help. Warning signs are: no public emails, missing/late reports, reports that mention communication issues.
  • Keep track of weekly reports: each student is required to provide a weekly report. Administrators should ping students and mentors if the report is missing for more than few days.

After GSoC coding period

  • Take part to GSoC Mentor Summit: not a duty, but a very warm suggestion!
  • Deal with payments bureaucracy with OSGeo Treasurer

Secondary/junior administrator

The secondary administrator has full access to Melange interface, like the primary administrator. He/she can replace the primary administrator when required.

The response time of the junior administrator, when not replacing the primary administrator, is 3 days, unless it is a communication of urgent matter.

Emeritus administrator

The emeritus administrator has no special Melange access, unless he/she is a mentor for that year, and is available for consulting to the current admins.

The response time of the emeritus administrator is a week, unless it is a communication of urgent matter.