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

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 start its 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 were:

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 was issued for a total of 72 GIS experts of Operational Field (Peacekeeping Actions) of UN. The courses were scheduled: 19 September - 18 October 2016 19 October - 18 November 2016 19 November - 19 December 2016 9 January - 8 February 2017

Volunteers who were involved are: Thomas Mueller, Rick Smith, Youngok Kang, Lene Fischer and Kurt Menke.

November 2016

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

For details see

the webinar https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Te5THhj51-g and the slides https://drive.google.com/file/d/0BxwcvLoMZAurNWN2dmNzQnd1OW8/view

January 2017

  • The 16th January 2017 the second UN virtual class of Spiral 2 started its activity with Boundless PostGIS.The virtual class will work using the Beep Platform of Politecnico di Milano, as teaching platform. Tutors of this course are:

Mike Pumphrey Ivana Ivanova Gregory Giuliani Paolo Corti Victoria Rautenbach. Alberta Albertella is helping in accessing and using the platform (for sharing material, upload files, homework, webconference, blog, etc)

April 2017

  • Meeting at United Nations Global Service Centre - Brindisi, Italy, 27-28 April 2017

The meeting was organized in two days and included

  • the combined demonstration and field test of the Modular Command Centre and mini Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) based Rapid Geospatial Solution
  • the presentation (and discussion) of the UN Open GIS project to UN, Member States, other international organisations and academia [1]

July 2017

  • Presentation of the UN Open GIS Initiative at FOSS4G Europe

Main elements of interest by OSGeo UN Committee and GeoForAll:

  • Spiral 1 (WG1): the UN Open GIS Initiative GeoPortal. The Platform is based on Geoshape-Exchange, developed by Boundless and supported by US DoD.
  • Spiral 2 (WG2): capacity building for UN staff members on open source geospatial technologies. The initiative is supported by volunteer activity of OSGeo and GeoForAll members. QGIS (concluded) and PostGIS (in progress) have been taught by using as educational platform that of Politecnico di Milano.
  • Spiral 3 (WG3): geospatial analysis. More than 140 new geospatial functions for Web and Desktop available at [2]. Those pieces of software were made avaialable by OpenGDS (South Korea). Educational material will be provided soon. The original material is available in Korean. It will be translated in English but some help in cleaning it by English native speakers is more than welcome.
  • Spiral 4 (WG4): tools for data collection. The Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) based Rapid Geospatial Solution is part of the WG activities and the software will be available soon. The development is part of the activity of OpenGDS (South Korea). Some South Korean companies are contributing to the development; among them Gaia3D, Inc.
  • I discussed with Kyoung-Soo Eom and Ki-Joune Li (the two chairs of UN Open GIS Initiative) the document “Resourcing ​Open​ ​Source​ ​Geospatial Training​ ​for​ ​the​ ​United​ ​Nations” [3]. The theme of sustainability is very relevant to UN Open GIS initiative (and more in general to UN). We agreed to organize a first exploratory Skype or hangout meeting, together with Cameron Shorter (who promoted this initiative) to discuss the document before presenting it to the next UN Open GIS Initiative VTC.

I recall you that the UN Open GIS Initiative VTC meeting is scheduled the second Wednesday of every month at 1 pm UTC. People interested can attend. Just let me know in such a way that I communicate your interest to the chairs.

[1] https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B3dBcNKACjRlcDZTa0JsNUlab0U/view?usp=sharing

[2] https://github.com/MapPlus/spatial_statistics_for_geotools_udig

[3] https://docs.google.com/document/d/19Di-WxImfPq5oF2jeBblxNjY0JYJoXegLc5jaTPjufM/edit#heading=h.g1mf7fn4rfea

August 2017

  • Presentation of the UN Open GIS Initiative at FOSS4G in Boston

March 2018

The Initiative "UN Open GIS" is going ahead regularly.

1) Jeff has started his activity as Chair of the Technical Advisory Group (thanks to Sanghee for beinng the Chair before and for having done a wonderful work).

2) For those interested, there is a a regular VTC of UN Open GIS Initiative every month (the second Wednesday of the month at 3 pm Italy time).

3) Serena and Maria have been working hard for preparing the Open Call "Capacity Building for UN". Unfortunately we didn't get from the OSGeo Board the whole budget for the three Calls we had in mind, but Maria and Serena were able to find a solution: Boundless will sponsor the first Call. The Calls are meant for (young) researchers and educators and the proposal, as said, is to produce training material similar to what is already available for other projects (like QGIS GeoAcademy or Boundless GIS, just to mention the two that we already used for the UN Open GIS Capacity Building).

The Open Call will be for producing Training Material for:

a) UN Open GIS Spiral 1 (The web geo platform of the project and the mobile app: GeoSHAPE Exchange and GeoSHAPE Anywhere)

Training Material for UN Open GIS Spiral 1

b) UN Open GIS Spiral 2 (specific functionalities developed following the requests of the UN staff and not yet available in OS products. They are now available as WPSs)

c) global open data (high resolution included) and open source GIS.

The three calls will be hopefully launched by the end of this month.

4) There are two important appointments for the UN Open GIS Initiative:

 .  Operational Demonstration of Spiral 1 in Entebbe (April 2018)
 .  3rd UN Open GIS Workshop in Berlin (May 2018)

Due to economic restrictions (the small budget we have as Committee), only Maria will be able only to participate only to the former. Maria will report after the event about the progress in Spiral 1.

April 2018

1 April 2018 Announcement of the OSGeo UN Committee Educational Challenge. Details are available here: https://www.osgeo.org/foundation-news/osgeo-un-committee-educational-challenge/

9-13 April 2018 Operational Demonstration of UN Open GIS Initiative (Spiral One): GeoSHAPE-Exchange │ GeoSHAPE-Anywhere at the UN Regional Support Centre – Entebbe (UNRSC-E) Entebbe, Uganda. Attending for OSGeo: Maria A Brovelli. Presentation available here: https://docs.google.com/presentation/d/1eu2I8cddZThC4hU688ZjNNs_miGsstvBrpgqCiPG_kE/edit?usp=sharing

19 - 21 November 2018

United Nations World Geospatial Information Congress (UNWGIC) held in Deqing, Zhejiang Province, China. Presentation "Open Science and Education" by Maria Brovelli and Ivana Ivanova: https://global.mofyi.com/201811/unwgic/05-Ivana%20Iva%CC%81nova%CC%81-Maria.pdf. In the speech the activities of OSGeo and GeoForAll were presented.

December 2018

Ready the training material for UN Challenges https://wiki.osgeo.org/wiki/Training_Material_for_UN_Open_GIS_Spiral_1 https://wiki.osgeo.org/wiki/Training_Material_for_UN_Open_GIS_Spiral_3 https://wiki.osgeo.org/wiki/Training_Material_for_UN_Open_GIS_OpenData

Congratulations to Ketty Adoch (https://www.linkedin.com/in/ketty-adoch/?originalSubdomain=ug), Silvia Franceschi (https://www.linkedin.com/in/silvia-franceschi-93909314/?trk=public-profile-join-page) and Maria Ilie Codrina (https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Codrina_Ilie) for their work and thanks to Christina Hupy, HaeKyong Kang, Minpa Li, Serena Coetzee and Maria Brovelli for mentoring the projects.

October 2018 - January 2019

Three sessions of QGIS (Chair of the course: Victoria Rautenbach; mentors: Thomas Mueller and Cameron Green)

Session 1 - October

Session 2 - November

Session 3 - December - mid January

Two sessions of PostGIS (Chair of the course: Ivana Ivanova; mentors: Paolo Corti, Oliva Martin Sanchez, and Gregory Giuliani)

Session 1 - October-November

Session 2 - December - January

January 2019 - May 2019

Preparation of the New OSGeo UN Challenges.

The two Challenges are published on 18th May 2019 and are available here: https://www.osgeo.org/foundation-news/2019-osgeo-un-committee-educational-challenge/

Challenge 1: PostGIS training material update

Challenge 2: Open geospatial data and software for UN SDG 16, Peace justice and open institutions

28-31 May 2019 =

Participation at the 5th International Partnership for Technology in Peacekeeping Symposium, Chairing a Panel on "Open Technologies for UN" https://operationalsupport.un.org/en/5th-international-symposium#c3

The slides of the introduction to the Panel are available here: https://www.slideshare.net/mariabrovelli/open-technologies-for-united-nations

14 June 2019

Participation at the ISPRS GEOSPATIAL WEEK 2019 Enschede, The Netherlands | June 10-14, 2019 and presentation of the outcome of the OSGEo UN Challenge 3 "Monitoring SDG 9 with Global Open Data and Open Software - A Case Study from Rural Tanzania"

Paper: https://www.int-arch-photogramm-remote-sens-spatial-inf-sci.net/XLII-2-W13/1551/2019/isprs-archives-XLII-2-W13-1551-2019.pdf

31 July 2019

Announcement of the OSGeo UN Challenge:

Challenge 1: PostGIS training material update. The winner is Mayra Alejandra Zurbaran Nucci from Columbia Challenge 2: Open geospatial data and software for UN SDG 16, Peace justice and open institutions. The winner is Berg Ambarouglu from Turkey

The winners start work under the mentorship of Ivana Ivánová ivaiva3@gmail.com, Oliva Martin Sanchez martinsanchez@un.org and Paolo Corti pcorti@gmail.com (challenge 1) and Maria Brovelli maria.brovelli@polimi.it, Serena Coetzee serena.coetzee@up.ac.za and Timur Obukhov obukhov@un.org (challenge 2). Results of their work will be available by the end of the year

2 August 2019

Presentation of the OSGeo UN Challenge 3 (Open geospatial data and software for UN sustainable development goals) of 2018 at the UN‐GGIM: Academic Network Side Event “Resilience and Sustainability” - New York. The outcome of the challenge is presented in a chapter of the book "Sustainable Development Goals Connectivity Dilemma"(available here: http://oapen.org/search?identifier=1005177). Title of the chapter: Openness and Community Geospatial Science for Monitoring SDGs – An Example From Tanzania by Maria Antonia Brovelli, Maria Ilie Codrina, and Serena Coetzee.

26-30 August 2019

Participation at the FOSS4G 2019 in Bucharest: UN staff (17 people) + UN Open GIS (None-UN: 19 people) = Total 38

Keynote by Kyoung-Soo Eom "Open Source GIS Technology for United Nations".

Meetings with FOSS4G Communities: GeoNode (Alessio Fabiani)

Presentations of the outcome of the OSGeo UN Challenge 2018.

Paper: OSGEO UN COMMITTEE EDUCATIONAL CHALLENGE: A USE CASE OF SHARING SOFTWARE AND EXPERIENCE FROM ALL OVER THE WORLD https://www.int-arch-photogramm-remote-sens-spatial-inf-sci.net/XLII-4-W14/49/2019/isprs-archives-XLII-4-W14-49-2019.pdf

2 December 2019

Meeting between UN Open GIS Initiative representatives (Kyoung-Soo Eom, and the International Association QGIS.ORG, represented by the chair Paolo Cavallini.

Participants: 1) International Association QGIS.ORG (hereinafter, QGIS.org) : Paolo Cavallini (Chair) 2) UN Open GIS Initiative (hereinafter, UN Open GIS): Maria Antonia Brovelli (Co-Chair, Prof. Politecnico Di Milano/OSGeo), Hae-Kyong Kang (Secretary & Chair WG-3, Research Fellow of the Korea Research Institute for Human Settlements), Kyoung-Soo Eom (Co-Chair, Chief UNGIS) and Gakumin Kato (GIS Officer of UNGIS)

Summary of the meeting:

1. QGIS.org and UN Open GIS expressed mutual interests for establishing a partnership in order to create synergy through cooperation/collaboration towards the achievement of the common goal for a better world. (Action) QGIS.org and UN Open GIS will jointly prepare 1) scope of cooperation/ collaboration and 2) Letter of Intent

2. QGIS.org expressed its interest to participate in the UN Open GIS Initiative as a member. (Action) UN Open GIS will discuss with its Strategic Board on the partnership with QGIS.org and QGIS.org joining the membership of UN Open GIS.

Committee Meetings

Next meeting

Please write here if you are able to attend in such a way that Maria can call you:

  • Maria Brovelli / Rome / maria.brovelli@gmail.com/
  • Patrick Hogan / Silicon Valley / patrick.hogan@nasa.gov
  • Dimitris Kotzinos / Paris / kotzino at gmail.com
  • Cameron Shorter / Sydney, Australia / cameron.shorter at gmail X com .
Previous meetings
  • 27 March 2017, 10 am GMT

Attended by: Maria Brovelli, Max Cannata, Arnulf Christl, Sanghee Shin and Cameron Shorter

UN Open GIS Initiative

Meeting January 2019 (please put your preference and your gmail address. Serena and I are potentially available for both time slots. We will call you via google hangout)

Proposal 1: 28 January 2 pm UTC Attendees: Maria, Serena, Pekka, Simone, Nils

Proposal 2: 29 January 9 am UTC Attendees: Maria, Serena, Pekka, Simone, Bruce, Nils

- The meeting is 29 January 9 am UTC.

We have a monthly VTC meeting of the UN Open GIS Initiative every third Wednesday at 3 pm UTC. Interested people, please, contact the chairs (Maria and/or Serena) for details