FOSS4G EU Como 2015 Preconference meeting

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GeoForAll Pre-Conference Meeting Summary

On July 14th, members of the GeoForAll community who were at FOSS4G Europe in Como, met for four hours and discussed several issues. Thanks to Toni Pérez Navarro and Helena Mitasova for their note taking efforts. Meeting began at 8:45.

Attendees: Maria Brovelli (Politechnico Milano), Mario Miller (U of Zagreb), Daria Svidzinska (Taras Shevchenko National University of Kyiv, Ukraine), Helena Mitasova (NCSU), Dimitris Kotzinos (ETIS), Franz-Joseph Behr and Tanzeel Rehman (HFT Stuttgart), Arnuf Christl (MetaSpatial), Dirk Frigne (Geosparc), Patrick Hogan (NASA), Ron Fortunato (WorldBridge), Antoni Pérez Navarro (UOC), Phillip Davis (Delmar College).

Discussion Items and Recommendations or Next Steps

TOPIC 1. GeoForAll lab membership issues (Helena led)

  • Geo4all members are listed in the wiki table

  • How to handle inactive labs.

A lengthy discussion and we came to some conclusions. However after the meeting Helena discovered that we have procedures on how to handle this already in place on the GeoForAll Criteria wiki page: The wiki document talks about a requirement of lab annual report, but we have decided against requiring a report, we will require just an annual confirmation of membership in the table.

Action items

a. Display the above page to the group and is it OK for Helena to remove the language about the report requirements? b. Review the lab criteria on above page. Edits? Additions?

  • Lab memberships and the idea of ‘Partners’

A “Lab” can be in any organizational type (educational institutions, firms, nonprofits, government agencies) as long as they fulfill the criteria above. This was unanimous in our meeting. A “Partners” -- a new GeoForAll entity. A new table was set up for "Partners" in We already have two listed… and we want more!

‘Schools’ as labs - decided to discuss that on Friday’s BOF.

Action items:

a. An email will be sent (by whom?) to members to include type of organization into the column "Laboratory name and institution" on their table entry: b. We need some new text on this describing what a Partner is and how it is different from a lab for the website. Anyone willing to help with some writing today sometime? c. Encourage people who don’t want to be labs to become partners -- let’s build up the partner table.

  • The GeoForAll Website info needs to be updated

The information is currently scattered between several wiki documents, the criteria for maintaining the membership should be added to how to join geo4all website.

Action item: Helena may have done some of this work today already. But if not, how do we get this done? Any volunteers?

TOPIC 2: Certification issues

Phil Davis gave a short presentation entitled: Certifications - What, Why, Who

- Made the point that there are different levels of certification - Industry or ‘field’ level (e.g., Certified Photogrammetric Specialist) - Open source (such as the effort made to do this by Metaspatial) - Technology-specific (e.g., QGIS certification)

Tanzeel Rehman Khan gave a presentation on this MS thesis entitled: An Open Source Certification Model’ - He was going to update the powerpoint and then was willing to share it with anyone who wants to see it.

The group discussed this issue for a long time. Some of the points made included:

(1) The challenge to actually come up with a certification; (2) Some wondered about whether certification was actually needed (who wants it) and the response was that some employers would appreciate it. (3) Question about the cost of certification and that if this did move forward it would need to be kept low cost, especially for people in developing countries. (4) Some in the group felt that if we move toward certifications it should be at the technology-level (e.g., QGIS, gvSig, etc.) and that it should be the responsibility of the software projects to come up with their certification. (5) Some still may not have agreed with the idea of technology.based certifications and that there is a need for a higher level curriculuar certification (not technology specific). More discussion needed - new BOF in afternoon on Thursday? Franz?; (6) Some felt that this issue needs to be championed by OSGeo, and there is the issue of how to pay for the staffing needed to lead the charge.

Action items: I think Franz was organizing another BOF for lunch on Thursday to discuss this more and maybe come up with some tangible action items.

TOPIC 3: OSGeo Education and Curriculum Committee and GeoForAll: Question of separate or the same?

The history is that the participants in the OSGeo Education committee really moved to communicating through the GeoForAll group once that was established. Unanimous in the room that the two are really the same thing, and that the OSGeo education and curriculum committee page should now point to the GeoForAll pages. Charlie (as OSGeo Education chair) completely re-wrote the OSGeo Education page yesterday:

Action item:

There still is a wiki page to be revised as well that describes the OSGeo Education Committee. Since this is a formal OSGeo committee, we need direction from OSGeo on how to handle this. The text is old and needs rewriting. What should be put there? See

TOPIC 4: Educational Content Curation System

Charlie provided a summary of the history of this since about 2007. He then presented the options that he knew of that were on the table.

1. Reinstitute our OSGeo educational metadata search system 2. Build on Rick Smith’s GeoAcademy GitHub repository: 3. Get the University of Nottingham’s ELOGeo system back up and operational, that is built upon the UK’s Educational Repository system Jorum; 4. Consider going after funds to support a full collaboration system developed by people at the University of Arizona, called OpenABM 5. Partner with an existing Open Educational Resource system like Rice University’s ‘Cnx’, Carnegie Mellon’s Open Learning System, or the Open Education Consortium.

Groups’ consensus was to reinstate the OSGeo educational metadata system so that we could use that rather than point to new courses in emails. Charlie updated the OSGeo Education page to reflect this and give instructions on how to do it (you need an OSGeo system userid to post new items)

Action item:

Everyone with content to share -- please post your information to this metadata system. Let’s get it updated with the material you have.

TOPIC 5. Grant ‘lightning’ round

Toni reported on his interests in going after a H2020 Grant. Maria reported on her COST submission. Suchith reported on his Agriculture GIS proposal interest Charlie reported on his NSF Research Coordination Network effort.

Action item: Grant sprint on Saturday -- what do we want to work on? Someone suggested to me that I should go over my NSF RCN since others might want to borrow from it and I could use some help with a few of the ideas… is that a good use of our time?

Meeting adjourned at 12:30….

My apologies if I missed an important point. People who attended feel free to add. Respectfully submitted, Charlie Schweik