DevSummit07:GIS, GPS, and Open Source Mapping

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Session Notes

Facilitated by Larz, OpenFlows

Larz will share his 10 years of experience playing with open source mapping software.

Summary The great thing about complex topics is that there are so many ways to go with it. And so we did just that, exploring many aspects of this large topic. Mapping is not going away. In fact, it has really just begun. This is a specialists job, to create and provide these tools, to handle the raw data. But the OSS community and the public at large has a right to be concerned that a few big companies are getting public data (from government) and becoming the 'standard' sources of services. Even Google, who definitely gets OSS, is ultimately a for-profit. Lars suggests that it is highly desirable that a group get together and form a mapping source for the sector. The good news is that such an organization exists, OSGeo. But OSGeo is just the tech part. The people at this gathering represent the real human and environmental range of scope and mission. It is vital that the nonprofit dev sector have their voices heard in making the tools for tomorrow.


(Raw Notes--please edit)

Open Source Desk top GIS tools

• Jump • Grass • OSSIM • QEIS

• Udigg-Java Based Application

Data Analysis tools

Postgres:

o Has spacial Extension called Post GIS o Can put non-geographical aspects in i.e—low-income, single parent (any other data related to geographical element.)

• GDAL:

o Data Transformation

• Statistical package R:

o extensions within that to do GIS

• Geo tools

• MSQL:

o Has geographical extension

Mapserver:

o Mature open source mapping engine, within this compile flash support for example, create a temporal movie

Topics/Needs

1. Nonprofits have challenge with who owns the data and getting access to the data, governments not sharing the data.

2. Need a place for nonprofits to be able to dump data and make it accessible for the public to use.

3. User community needs to be educated about the possibilities of this tech. Much more coming, almost universally applicable.

4. Need better directories of where data is available.

5. Need to be able to plot maps based on info in desk top/web based applications i.e. case management, crisis management.

6. Google owns data given to them.

7. Would like open access to civic information and data

8. Need to shared GIS resources

9. Challenges with validity of data, for example, 95% of data maintained by the government does not necessarily meet the data standards requirement.

10. Need to teach simple GIS concepts.

11. Lot of free sources out there but the tools are not widespread.

12. Web map services are available through online services (?)

13. Need to make the case that nonprofits have a legitimate reason to receive data at low cost.

14. Need client based clustering (?)

15. Would like to utilize a online map without having to go into Google

16. GIS Functionality

17. Whole other data interface possibility: an example was given of a metaphorical windshield and dashboard GUI to be able to usefully extract the data and present it in a relevant matter.

18. Front end of open source GIS mapping is a really new technology.

19. Very specialized multi-prong technical endeavor.

20. Need to be broader alliance of people who are creating the GIS software, the nonprofit community, and the government—the people who have the data.

Resources

• Map Server

• Map Guide OS

• GEO Server

• GEO Anchors discussion group.

• GEO Wiki

• Sketch up-3-dimensional imaging

• Topography available 3-dimensional tool from the US Government

• OS GEO-consortium of people who are advocating for government sharing open GIS data

• Sunlight Foundation possible link to stating the GIS data is needed to be shared to government and this data should not be owned by corporations.


Next Steps

  1. What mailing lists are there?
  2. Top ten needs



References

Websites

  1. Geographic information system (GIS) entry on Wikipedia
  2. OSGeo - An international foundation to support and build the highest-quality open source geospatial software.
  3. Open Access to Civic Information and Data, a group of citizens which believes all levels of government should make civic information and data accessible at no cost in open formats to their citizens.
  4. UK Free Our Data Campaign
  5. MapServer

Advocacy using GIS / GPS

Software

  1. uDig, open-source GIS client
  2. ka-Map, open-source GIS client
  3. GRASS GIS is an open source, free software with raster, vector, image processing, and graphics production functionality