Google Summer of Code Application 2012

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Application Deadline

Status: Applied
  • Friday, March 9: 16:00 PST (23:00 UTC)
Mentoring organization application deadline.
  • Friday, March 16: 12:00 PST (19:00 UTC)
List of accepted mentoring organizations published on the Google Summer of Code 2012 site.



  • Verify if the application rules have changed in any way since we last looked at them.
  • Apply


  • Anne!

For discussion

Possible additions to last year's

proposed additional question for the application:

  • HB: not really a question, but I propose we should reinforce that all questions must be answered by the students, they can't pick and choose the ones that make them look good. e.g. the student must be aware that if they fail to e.g. supply a timeline their application is incomplete and they won't be chosen.
  • HB: in the timeline question I propose we emphasize midterm deliverable(s). Also, what do you think about the idea of asking for internal 25% and 75% deliverables? (to avoid major shocks at the midterm and concertina workloads), with a note that 50,75,100% deliverables can be adjusted at quarterly delivery dates?
  • HB: also re the all important timeline, I suggest we make it clear (somewhere) early on that learning how to compile, install, and use the software, and also spending weeks reading books is really stuff they should be doing before applying and on into the community bonding period. The previous years where coding for some projects didn't start until week 3-4 as the student didn't have the project code building yet isn't good enough IMO.

Possible removals vs. last year's

  • ...

The Application

Organization Name

OSGeo - Open Source Geospatial Foundation


OSGeo is a non-profit organization serving as an umbrella organization for the Open Source Geospatial community in general and 20 (to 26) code projects in particular:

Web Mapping: deegree, geomajas, GeoServer, Mapbender, MapBuilder, MapFish, MapGuide Open Source, MapServer, OpenLayers

Desktop Applications: GRASS GIS, OSSIM, Quantum GIS, gvSIG

Geospatial Libraries: FDO, GDAL/OGR, GEOS, GeoTools, MetaCRS, PostGIS

The following are sub-projects of MetaCRS:
  • CS-Map, GeoTIFF/libgeotiff, PROJ.4, Proj4J, Proj4js,

Metadata Catalog: GeoNetwork

Other (non-code) Projects: Public Geospatial Data, Education and Curriculum, Live Handout DVD

Home page

Main Organization License

Each member project uses their own, but all OSGeo projects are required to use an OSI approved license. (see

  • Member projects specifically use: GPL >=2, LGPL, MIT/X, ...

GSoC program requires an OSI approved license, but the dropdown only lets you select one.

We go with GPL 2 since it seems to be the one most commonly used.

Why is your organization applying to participate in GSoC 2012? What do you hope to gain by participating?


We hope to get more students excited about open source geospatial development. This will help to grow the development community and of course tangibly advance particular projects. Additionally by way of the level of exposure that SoC provides we aim to further extend the use, development, and teaching & training of open source GIS at universities worldwide. This will help to prepare a new generation of developers for industry and government agencies capable of introducing and implementing viable open source geospatial technology, to the benefit of all.

Last but not least we hope to use this opportunity to bring more open source geospatial projects closer and to communicate more. We are encouraging students to come up with ideas that cross project boundaries, and to find new ways to connect the separate efforts in order to bring out new and perhaps improved wholes. In 2008 we also saw the birth of a new project, Spatialytics, which is a novel combination of several geospatial technologies. This is, as stated above, one of our goals, which GSoC helps us achieve in a way which cannot be matched in any other regular effort.

Additionally it has been a great opportunity to mingle code with and get to know other like-minded FOSS projects in our app domain. (such as OSM, Mapnik, Sahana, Ushahidi, ...)

If accepted, would this be your first year participating in GSoC?

   * No

Did your organization participate in past GSoCs? If so, please summarize your involvement and the successes and challenges of your participation.

OSGeo participated in 2011, with a very good success rate. Many of the students continued to work with their OSGeo projects after the end of summer, and even become official contributors. The mentoring has been overall effective, and the communication among students, mentors and admins has been constant. Still, getting in contact with elusive participants represented the main difficulty, and has been addressed case to case.

OSGeo sent 2 delegates to Mentor Summit, and benefited of the presence of 2 more, who were already in Mountain View. As previous year, the delegates chaired a Geospatial session, and improved connections with many other projects.

OSGeo participated in 2010, and in many ways it was a tough year, but we like to think that we managed to come out victorious. It was challenging because our slot count was cut to about half of what we have had the previous year, while still having the same number, if not more projects participate under our umbrella. We also had some surprising student dropouts (one who is still MIA, as far as we know), maybe the aliens targeted OSGeo, because of our knowledge of the earth? ;) But despite these challenges we managed to put out some great projects and were in general very happy with the year.

OSGeo sent 2 delegates to the Mentor summit who participated in many geospatial sessions and also chaired one session. We made new friends among the FLOSS geo-related projects and re-connected with old friends.

OSGeo participated in GSoC in 2009. Twelve OSGeo member projects participated and were very successful. The applications were of better quality so we had fewer dropouts than the previous year. We also had further cross-project co-operation projects, which went very well indeed. OSGeo Sent two delegates to the Mentor Summit.

OSGeo participated in GSoC in 2008. Eleven OSGeo member projects participated and were in general very successful. OSGeo didn't send delegates to the Mentor Summit due to the busy schedules of the mentors.

See for a full report.

OSGeo participated in GSoC in 2007. Six OSGeo projects participated and were generally very successful. OSGeo also sent one delegate to the Mentor Summit in 2007. See for a full report. We also opened up a demo theatre track highlighting SoC work at our foss4g conference that year.

OSGeo was formed in early 2006 and did not participate in GSoC prior to 2007. However, Refractions Research did participate in 2006 on behalf of the GeoTools, uDig, and PostGIS projects which now participate through OSGeo. Most of the the previously participating mentors and administrators continue to be involved in this years OSGeo GSoC effort.

If your organization participated in past GSoCs, please let us know the ratio of students passing to students allocated

e.g. 2006: 3/6 for 3 out of 6 students passed in 2006.

2007: 13/19 2008: 15/19 2009: 17/20 2010: 7/10 2011: 19/21

2011 app comment: the breakdown of the failures is interesting- Were failures all from first-time-SOC / outside-of-osgeo projects?

  • MapGuide - OSGeo - student who failed was a last minute replacement for Sergei who we gave to another SOC org during the conflict resolution swap-meet.
  • MapWindow - non-member OSGeo
  • GeoKettle - non-member OSGeo

2c thoughts: So we could do better helping our "outsider" projects in? Or perhaps projects already accepted into OSGeo have a long history and established already-integrated teams, thus correlation with success in an OSGeo-led endeavour is not entirely surprising. (aka we can twist our friends arms with greater force than we can our guests).

I'd better say that long time OSGeo projects have a history of communication with OSGeo itself and with other projects. New OSGeo projects, as non members or in incubation, need more guidance on that. Another factor is the size of the community: if it is very small, the efforts are concentrated on coding and on non-GSoC tasks, that leads to less interaction. (User:Aghisla)

2009 app comment: "As the numbers indicate each year we have received better and better applications, and thus have had a better success ratio. Also we have learned to mentor better, and to spot the good applications."

  • Last year was special in may ways... Projects had to pick between 2 very good students, and then we were also hit by bad luck. Also we had the same number of dropouts, which gives a higher percentage, but the absolute number is still the same. (User:Wolf)

What is the URL for your ideas page?

What is the main development mailing list for your organization?

This question will be shown to students who would like to get more information about applying to your organization for GSoC 2011. If your organization uses more than one list, please make sure to include a description of the list so students know which to use. (required) - For questions about applying and other GSoC questions

See for a full list and
descriptions of the OSGeo project mailing lists.

What is the main IRC channel for your organization?

The primary OSGeo channel is #osgeo on the network.
member projects maintain their own IRC channels:

Does your organization have an application template you would like to see students use?

If so, please provide it now. Please note that it is a very good idea to ask students to provide you with their contact information as part of your template. Their contact details will not be shared with you automatically via the GSoC 2011 site.



School and degree:



OSGeo project(s):

(please include the name of the member project as part of the title, for example: "Gee Whiz Foobar 2001 for QGIS")

Describe your idea
  1. Introduction
  2. Background
  3. The idea
  4. Project plan (how do you plan to spend your summer?)
  5. Future ideas / How can your idea be expanded? 

Explain how your SoC task would benefit the OSGeo member project and more generally the OSGeo Foundation as a whole:

Please provide details of general computing experience:
 (operating systems you use on a day-to-day basis, languages you could write a program in, hardware, networking experience, etc.)

Please provide details of previous GIS experience:

Please provide details of any previous involvement with GIS programming and other software programming:

Please tell us why you are interested in GIS and open source software:

Please tell us why you are interested in working for OSGeo and the software project you have selected:

Please tell us why you are interested in your specific coding project:

Would your application contribute to your ongoing studies/degree? If so, how?

Please explain how you intend to continue being an active member of your project and/or OSGeo AFTER the summer is over:

Do you understand this is a serious commitment, equivalent to a full-time paid summer internship or summer job?

What criteria did you use to select the individuals who will act as mentors for your organization? Please be as specific as possible.


The project administrator is appointed by the OSGeo board at the beginning of the year. The project administrator asks for one or two people he trusts to be the backup administrators. Mentors are selected by project steering committees and development teams based on their reputation as skilled developers, domain experience, previously demonstrated ability to support new project developers, and stated willingness to devote time to the mentoring process. We also try very hard to match up the student working on a specific module or tool with a developer with the best expertise in the relevant area.

We have in the past not voted up an otherwise good student project if there was no mentor capable of overseeing the project from a technical standpoint. Fortunately we have had a strong response from the developer pool so this has not been a major problem - it is however important to make the student aware of it, to avoid misunderstandings. Moreover, this should not happen with students who are approaching OSGeo for the first time, as they are less likely to know the right people/lists to contact.

What is your plan for dealing with disappearing students?


In order to minimize the chance of disappearing students we will ensure that the OSGeo administrative contact and the mentors have full contact information (email, home phone, etc) so that we can keep in touch with them at all times. We also stress to our students that this is a Job, as opposed to a school project.

In addition, we will make our reporting requirements clear up front. Letting the students know that we will require a weekly progress report to be posted to OSGeo's SoC mailing list (cc the member project's development mailing list), participation in public IRC channels and project mailing lists will all help ensure ongoing commitment to the work. Mentors are required to make sure that happens and that the lines of communication are kept open from beginning to end.

Other possibilities include:

  1. Having potential students work with their potential mentor to prepare a plan for the implementation of their project.
  2. Setting milestones that need to be reached by the student. These milestones would be defined before the student's work begins. A student would subsequently write a brief e-mail informing the OSGeo SoC mailing list (cc project-specific mailing list) when they have reached each milestone, giving a brief description of the work completed to that date. This is in addition to the weekly progress reports which are intended to be more casual and actively soliciting feedback.
  3. Selecting students that have shown previous interest in the geospatial field and free software. A student who already has a (reviewable) FOSS track record has a much higher chance of success.

What is your plan for dealing with disappearing mentors?


Project steering committees will appoint replacement mentors if existing mentors become unavailable or unresponsive during the project period. We also plan to have backup mentors for all projects so the backup mentor can fill in for, or replace the primary mentor in case of changing circumstances. Our administrators take an active role communicating with students and mentors, and so will be able to help out early if there is a problem somewhere.

Among all the OSGeo mailing lists there are 14,000 subscribers, indicating a good pool of people to draw from if required. Due to relatively high member project code and personnel cross-over, in a pinch a mentor from another OSGeo project could usefully help out. Additionally this year we plan on communicating with mentors even more closely thus if something happens with the mentor it should not come as a surprise and additionally there is a backup mentor to continue the mentoring.

What steps will you take to encourage students to interact with your project's community before, during and after the program?


The steps taken depend on the individual projects. As an example, last year we required weekly reports and encouraged the students to interact with us on the project mailing lists and IRC channels. We also encourage the developers and users who are not mentors to provide additional advice and feedback to the participating student and help with testing the students contributions during and after the program. In general other developers have not been shy about sharing their opinions, guidance, and advice on the member project development lists.

Furthermore the mentors are encouraged to actively involve the students in the community by having the student interact with the mentor through the community (public) channels rather then one-on-one. This also assists with student integration into the project and alleviates the disappearing-mentor problem.

This year we are also asking the student to think about the time after the summer already in the application.

If you are a small or new organization applying to GSoC, please list a larger, established GSoC organization or a Googler that can vouch for you here.


If you are a large organization who is vouching for a small organization applying to GSoC for their first time this year, please list their name and why you think they'd be good candidates for GSoC here

As an umbrella organization we are fundamentally a conglomerate of small(er) organizations and so are well experienced in helping smaller mentoring teams. We have been happy to mentor-mentor small orgs in the past when they've approached us, each year taking in a few in-the-same-field projects who were not technically members of our Foundation but who otherwise would have missed out.

This year we decided to vouch for PLOTS (, that aims to build open source tools for environmental monitoring by underserved communities. The GIS component of many of the SoC proposals and the empowerment of end users by open source development are common traits between our organisations. We hope that they will be accepted to GSoC and we wish to establish productive collaboration in the future.

This year we are vouching again for Neo4j graph database. Neo4j worked with us in 2010 and 2011 as one of the many projects under the OSGeo Umbrella. This year they have chosen to go on for themselves and we OSGeo vouch for them as an organisation.

As in 2011, there is also the Opticks project, but they are participating under the OSGeo umbrella, since they have started the OSGeo incubation process.

Anything else you'd like to tell us?

GSoC is a very important project for OSGeo. We are investing more and more to it every year. This year we have a second full-time administrator in order to improve on the quality of mentoring the mentors. For OSGeo GSoC is not only a means to increase the size of the community, but also an important event to grow awareness of our project in academia, and other open source communities.

Backup Admin (Link ID)

Backup administrators:

* Wolf Bergenheim (melange: wolf)
* Hamish Bowman (melange: hamish)

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