Google Summer of Code Application 2010

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Link ID


Organization Name (required)

OSGeo - Open Source Geospatial Foundation

Description (required)

OSGeo is a non-profit organization serving as an umbrella organization for the Open Source Geospatial community in general and 19 (to 24) code projects in particular:

Web Mapping: deegree, 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

Home Page (required)

What license does your organization use? (required)

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 2010? What do you hope to gain by participating? (required)

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 SGoC helps us achieve in a way which cannot be matched in any other regular effort.

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

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

Add a Comment (optional):

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.

What is the URL for your ideas page? (required)

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 2010. 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? (required)

The primary OSGeo channel is #osgeo on the network.

Add a Comment (optional)

member projects maintain their own IRC channels:

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



School and degree:



OSGeo project(s):


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 previous GIS experience:

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

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

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

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

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.

What is your plan for dealing with disappearing students? (required)

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? (required)

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 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.

What steps will you take to encourage students to interact with your community before, during, and after the program? (required)

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.

What will you do to ensure that your accepted students stick with the project after GSoC concludes? (required)

The steps taken depend on the individual projects, as example last year many projects asked that students act as a "module maintainer" for their work. This role has an expected level of support associated with it.

Apart from that, we are relying on the open development process and the appreciation that students will receive for implementing these needed features to provide positive feedback for the students. The projects will be encouraging the students to take ownership of their work, and to contribute in other areas they may be interested in. In some cases students may also have opportunities for future contract work if they make a good impression on community members.

Is there anything else you would like to tell the Google Summer of Code program administration team? (required)

Thank you for your great work and the great chance to spread Open Source GIS.

Please select your backup group administrator.

Backup administrators:

  • Hamish Bowman (melange: hamish)
  • Landon Blake (melange: sunburned_surveyor)