Open Source Geospatial Foundation

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OSGeo Supporters,

We are now roughly seven weeks into the existence of the Open Source Geospatial Foundation, and I am quite excited by some of the progress we have made. But it has also been pointed out to me that many members of our community and supporters are not able to see what is going on very clearly.

To try and alleviate that I have agreed to write a brief newsletter intended to summarize activities within the foundation on a regular basis, perhaps every week or two. This one may be a bit longer than most as I try to summarize much of what has been accomplished since our launch.

Membership and Board

At our formation meeting in Chicago we decided that the folks attending the meeting would form the core membership of the foundation, but it was also seen as important to reach out and expand the membership beyond those who attended. To that ended we have completed a process of selecting additional members and board members. We now have 45 voting members, and a full board of nine directors. I am very pleased that we have achieved a degree of representation from around the globe, and many aspects of our community (developers, educators, commercial users, and hobbyists).

We are working on a formal definition of Associate Member (or essentially a non-voting member) but in the meantime I consider anyone an associate of the foundation if they consider themselves that! I stress, you don't need to be a voting member to contribute in all sorts of ways to the work of the foundation.

Web Site and Wiki

The Website Committee (, chaired by Daniel Brookshier is responsible for maintaining the content, style and technology for the OSGeo website and Wiki. The web site is intended to be the official face of OSGeo and WebCom is working to flesh it out with content.

The Wiki ( is a much more free-wheeling place, and anyone is welcome to register with the wiki, and add thoughts to existing pages, or create new pages with things they think are important. Note that stuff in the wiki is *not* the official policy of the foundation. Just because you see something suggested there doesn't mean we will or won't do it. But it is an excellent environment to collaborate with others on ideas.

WebCom has also launched a Logo Contest to develop a logo for the foundation. This is your opportunity to fine fame and fortune! Please consider making a submission. Details are at:

WebCom is also looking for a news editor for the web site. See the announcement about this at:

Project Incubation

On launch there were eight projects who committed to joining the foundation as official foundation projects. They are GDAL, GeoTools, GRASS, Mapbender, MapBuilder, MapGuide Open Source, MapServer and OSSIM. Early on the board decided that these projects should go through an incubation process just like future projects will. The incubation process is intended to bring projects into alignment with foundation culture, procedures and requirements. Part of the process is some sort of intellectual property review as well.

The Incubation Committee is responsible for developing policy on how incubation will work, and applying it to these projects. The committee is chaired by me (Frank Warmerdam) and includes a representative of each of the initial projects. On a technical level some projects are now already appearing on the website proper (ie., and

Details on what it means to be a foundation project are still being discussed. One controversial topic has been what approaches are appropriate to verify that all code in foundation projects has been properly (ie. legally) contributed. On the one hand we want to avoid situations where users or developers of foundation projects are exposed to legal problems due to improperly contributed code. On the other hand we don't want to place unnecessary barriers in the way of contribution. We were excited to have the Open Source luminary Eric Raymond contribute to this discussion.

Public Geospatial Data Committee

In Chicago it was agreed that data availability is a significant barrier to wider use of open source geospatial software. To that end, we accepted it as a goal of the foundation to promote the availability of free geospatial data. To that end a committee was recently formed to pursue this objective, with Jo Walsh as the chair. See

In cooperation with Jo the foundation also issued a statement in support of the position with regard to the European INSPIRE directive that threatened to forestall the availability of public geospatial datasets in Europe. Jo has reported that substantial progress was made in the most recent revision steps of the INSPIRE directive, and we hope that the support of OSGeo played at least some small role.

At the first formal meeting of the committee it was decided to form three working groups. One focused on Discovery (providing a catalog of public data sources), one focused on Packaging (repackaging data for use, documentation, meta-data), and one focused on Licensing (guidelines on data licensing).

Promotion and Visibility

Promotion of open source geospatial software is a core mission of the foundation. Promotion of the foundation itself is a necessary to collect greater support and influence for the foundation. The Promotion and Visibility committee, chaired by Arnulf Christl, is responsible for promoting the foundation, foundation projects and open source geospatial software in general to the broader geospatial industry.

This committee will be working to prepare promotional and presentation materials suitable for use at conferences and trade shows. It will also be coordinating an OSGeo presence at appropriate industry events.

It is planning it's first official meeting next week, and there are lots of opportunities to contribute.


An official committee to develop a fundraising program for OSGeo has been formed, and is chaired by Frank Warmerdam. A formative meeting will be held soon (watch discuss list for announcements). Some thoughts on a sponsorship program can be found at:

The goal would be to raise funds to support the foundation itself, as well as (potentially) to support specific foundation projects.


It is expected that a committee focused on the educational community will be officially formed this week. It would be focused on developing Curriculum based on open source software, and well as better cooperation with academic research projects. More on this soon.

There has been a related discussion of the possibility of having an OSGeo Certification program, which might be associated with a training program. More ideas on this can be found at:

Binary Distributions

There has been a variety of discussions about how to support those preparing binaries distributions for different platforms (ie. Debian, Red Hat, Win32, MacOSX) and whether we should have an OSGeo branded stack of binaries. This is still in a formative stage, but more information can be found at:

Best regards,