India Chapter Report 2007

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Annual Report

  • Period covered by report: Jan 2007 -Feb 2008
  • Contact name: V.Ravi Kumar
  • Co-Chairman events OSGeo-India

Key Accomplishments

  • Events of OSGeo-India
  • January 2007
  • The OSGeo-India was officially born with its very first OSGeo workshop held at the Map World Forum, Hyderabad 22-25th January 2007. This well attended event was also participated by OSGeo delegates from China, Vietnam and Japan. Since then populasrising Open Source GIS was its main thrust through various, lectures, Workshops and exhibitions.
  • February 2007
  • National Conference on Biodiversity Conservation and Human Well-Being was organized by Department of Zoology, Osmania University and co-sponsored by SACON Deccan Regional Station, Hyderabad. The conference was held at Osmania University during February 8-10, 2007. SACON conducted a workshop on Wetland Informatics. It was aimed to address some of the issues related to spatial information generation, processing and data base design, dissemination and software development.In this workshop SACON presented Wetlands of India's website and it's future with the extensive use of FOSS tools. V.Ravi Kumar, of OSGeo India Chapter presented about the various FOSS4G's GIS software and their use taking the City of Hyderabad as an example. Prof K.S.Rajan, treasurer of OSGeo India chapter also actively participated in the proceedings. P.K.Sinha and A.V.Satya Kumar demonstrated FOSS GIS by showing OpenJUMP and it's userfriendly capabilities in performing vector GIS tasks like onscreen digitization of raster images to shape file with attribution.
  • March-2007:
  • National Convention On Free Software, 3rd - 4th of March 2007, Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh included a session on 'Geospatial data'. Dr K.S.Rajan, and V.Ravi Kumar of OSGeo-India chapter, presented 'OSGeo phylosophy', and Open Source GIS alternatives respectively, which was attended by Free Software Foundation (FSF) enthusisasts from around the country. Society of Geoinformatics Engineering at Anna University, Chennai, conducted a two-day Geohorizon 2007 symposium (16-17 march 2007). There were four participants from OSGeo India chapter two on each day. Sri Neeraj Deekshith of Autodesk India and Santosh Gaekwad of SACON Hyderabad, presented use of Open Source Geospatial software in their organisations. Mr V.Ravi Kumar, and Mrs Mahalakshmi Narayanan presented 'Open Source GIS Galore', and 'Open Source GIS for web-services' respectively. Santosh Gaikwad presented the use of GeoSever for internet mapping of Wetlands of india. He delievered the SACON's experience while studying GeoServer- a open source server for Web-GIS. Use of Udig and GeoServer for publishing vector or raster maps onto web by storing the spatial data into PostGIS was demonstrated.
  • May 2007:
  • On 11th May 2007 one day OSGeo-India workshop was held at, 'GIS Development', Noida (Delhi) with participants from the Indian geospatial community. They represented organizations like National Remote Sensing Agency, Centre for Development of Advanced Computing (CDAC), Tata Consultancy Servicesv (TCS), MapInfo, Adroitec, GIS Consortium, Eicher, 5Map, Infosys, Autodesk, National Institute of Health and Family Welfare, and Bharti Vidyapeeth's Institute of Computer Applications and Management (BVICAM). The workshop was opened by OSGeo-India representative Dr P.S.Roy, with an opening remark that,"GIS has emerged as an important technology tool. GIS initiatives need to be upscaled in terms of outreach and this is where OSGeo comes into play." One of the most important objective, from an Indian context, is to convert the free GIS tools like GRASS and MapServer in vernacular languages to form a large interest group. Dr. Roy also elaborated upon some of the noteworthy initiatives taken by organizations in India in the open source domain. V.Ravi kumar, who spoke about various FOSS GIS like GRASS, Quantum GIS, UDIG, Open Jump available today. The demonstration on 'Locating a Nuclear Power Plant', using Open Jump, was not only interesting but also testified how FOSS GIS can be equally useful as commercial GIS softwares. Ravi Kumar also talked in length about utility of FOSS GIS in India. The most pertinent point raised by him was that FOSS GIS is cost effective and can, therefore, become popular in a developing country like India. It can also provide employment through promotion of Village Cadastral GIS where all that one spends on, is a branded computer (available for less than Rs.20,000), as no cost is incurred on the software because it is, free and open. Sridhar Saraswati of Autodesk India, also gave a presentation, which answered a vital question- why is Autodesk supporting free and open source softwares? The reason is that firstly, Autodesk wants a broader adoption of Internet mapping technology and secondly, FOSS would create higher demand for related products. It would also be beneficial for the customers as the frequency of software releases will increase, cost of ownership will come down and there will be more innovation and support for standards. Satyajit Rath from CDAC, Noida presenyted 'CDAC's Initiatives on Open Source GIS'. 'Geospatial Convergence with Open Source' was presented by Amit Jain, of Infosys. The workshop came to an end with the closing remarks by Dr. P.S Roy. He expressed hope that "commercial softwares should invest in open source to make it a win-win situation for all."
  • June 2007:
  • The OSGeo-India chapter has conducted it's 1st Capacity building 3 day workshop from 26th to 28th June 2007 at Salim Ali Centre For Ornithology & Natural History (SACON) Hyderabad. The workshop was attended by -18- participants from NIC, NRSA, IIIT, Spec Systems, Army and Survey of India. All the participants were conversant with commercial GIS software and were eager to acquaint with FOSS alternatives. The 1st day included demonstration and hands-on practice with OpenJUMP GIS and map composition through Inkscape. The 2nd day was devoted to ILWIS GIS through raster analysis and generation of stereo pair and 3D visualization. The 3rd day was for using GRASS GIS for network analysis and creation of 3D visualisation and fly-bi. The participants were shown how one can join the OSGeo as a member and help spread the awareness. The resource persons were from Geological Survey of India.
  • July 2007:
  • A two hour lecture come demonstration of 'Open Source GIS GALORE', was presented by V.Ravi Kumar to the students of Geoinformatics post graduation course Nannaya University, Rajahmundry on 3rd July 2007. GRASS GIS and OpenJUMP were demonstrated using sample data. The students who could interact well in the question and answer session were presented GRASS6.2 Live CDs.

  • October-2007
  • Geology department, University of Rajasthan, Jaipur:

A knowledgeable crowd of students and research scholars and faculty members attended the Lecture cum demonstration. Prof Pandith, the Head of the Department took keen interest in arranging the event.

  • November-2007
  • Geology department, Karnataka University, Bangalore:

A very satisfying event was arranged by Prof K.L.Narahari Rao with a crowd of students and research associates showering the Lecture cum demonstration, with a very thought provoking interaction. The faculty were explained the catch-22 situation to be solved for Open Source GIS by taking various projects for implementation, thus popularizing the approach and paving the way for job opportunities.

  • INCA XXVII (Indian National Cartographers association) International Congress, Visakhapatnam:
  • The two day congress 21 to 23 November 2007, included a well attended exhibition with an OSGeo-India booth. The booth with attractive posters and live demonstration through an LCD projector was a big crowd puller. OSGeo-India booth distributed Open Source Geospatial software and GRASS GIS Live CDs to all those who have answered the OSGeo quiz and have given details of their email-Id and, how they intend to involve in the initiative. Specific demonstration of GRASS, OpenJUMP and Qgis were given to the interested visitors. By all accounts, OSGeo India’s booth was the most visited in the entire exhibition, with participants seen eagerly penning the Quiz and receiving the OSGeo India CDs.

  • Civil Engineering Department, Gayathri Vidya Parishad, Visakhapatnam:

A very well attended ‘Demystifying GIS, OSGeo-India One Day workshop’, was arranged by Prof Veerabhadra Rao of Civil Engineering Department. The event started with a conference of the faculty and OSGeo-India representatives where in several forth coming GIS based projects for the city of Visakhapatnam were discussed. A very well furnished computer class room was arranged for the workshop with researchers, students and faculty eagerly attending and practicing Open Source GIS.

  • January 2008

D.B.S.Post Graduate College, Dehradun: ‘Demystifying GIS, OSGeo-India One Day workshop’ was arranged by Mr J.D.Badhe of D.B.S.College, Geology department, University of Uttarakhand. A knowledgeable crowd of students and research scholars and faculty members attended the event. Dr M.Sundaram, Dr Biyani, Dr Joshi, of the Department took keen interest in arranging the event. Two researchers Sangharsh Rao and Ranjana Singh proficient with Open Source GIS helped in the hands-on practice.

  • Guru Nanakdev Engineering College, Punjab University, Ludhiana:

Professor H.S.Rai, an active OSGeo member and principal of the institution took keen interest in arranging ‘Demystifying GIS, OSGeo-India One Day workshop’. The event started with a meeting of the faculty and students, where the purpose of the event was elaborated. A knowledgeable and enthusiastic crowd of students and faculty members attended the workshop. Researcher Sangharsh Rao proficient with Open Source GIS helped in the hands-on practice. A map of the G.N.E College provided was converted into GIS data during the practice session. A workshop kit and CDs specifically designed for the event by Prof. H.S.Rai were distributed to the participants.

  • Civil Engineering Department, IIT Rourkee:

Professor Vasawa, Head of Department of Civil Engineering took keen interest in the well attended lecture cum demonstration, . The participants who are experts in Geospatial software were very keen in learning about the details of Open Source GIS, vis a vis commercial GIS.

  • Naval Hydrographic office (NHO) Dehradun:

Commodore Karnik of NHO, the premier organization bestowed with the responsibility of publishing Indian Maritime charts, took keen interest in arranging the Lecture cum demonstration. A very experienced crowd of Cartographers and GIS experts participated in the interaction with very thought provoking feed backs. The lecture was a truly great learning experience for OSGeo -India. Answering queries from the professional GIS and cartographic experts, Commodore Karnik, indicated the importance of using Open Source software quoting the first scientist president of India Dr Abdul Kalam.

  • February 2008

Geology department, University of Lucknow: Prof Bhattacharya, Head of Department of Geology took keen interest in the well attended ‘Demystifying GIS, OSGeo-India One Day workshop’. The event started with a general lecture explaining the importance of Open Source GIS. Dr Vibhuti Rai, arranged the hands on exercises in the computer lab. Researcher Sangharsh Rao an alumni of the university, proficient with Open Source GIS helped in planning the event and hands-on practice of exercises. The participants digitized a satellite imagery of the university region clipped from the wikimapia, and created suitable attribute information. Demonstration of GRASS GIS software was very keenly followed with hands on practice on their computer systems. The OSGeo Quiz was very enthusiastically answered, with the first few receiving the OSGeo CDs.

  • National Institute of Oceanography (NIO) Goa:

A one hour lecture 'De-Mistifying GIS', was arranged as a 'Thursday-Lecture', with the concent of Dr Shetey, by Mr Suprith, researcher in physical oceanography. It is very encluraging to note that GRASS GIS is used by several researchers of the NIO.

Areas for Improvement

  • OSGeo-India is helping in creation of GIS datasets for the parliamentory constituency of Rajahmundry town in Andhrapradesh. This will be a model for future endeavours where public at large can benifit from use of Open Source GIS, in Town planning, Sanitation, Analysis of School education etc.
  • The OSGeo-India will conduct trainings in Open Source Geospatial software encouraging student and researchers in conducting lectures and workshops.

Opportunities to Help

  • OSGeo Members can help in customising the Open Source GIS software such that the end user

can work around to add data, query etc with limited exposure. This will make the GIS data created sustainable. Customisation will include making a simple model for using a server (PostGIS) serving GIS data with customised frontend software like Qgis, OpenJUMP etc in India languages.

Outlook for 2008

  • The GIS datasets being created for the town of Rajahmundry using Open Source GIS, Andhra Pradesh, will be a model for other municipal corporations to follow. The benificiaries include Governament as well as the students of post graduation in Geoinformatics, of Nannaya University of the same town.
  • OSGeo-India wishes to encourage academic institutes teaching GIS to also adopt Open Source GIS by helping them providing resource persons from OSGeo-India.