A Brief History of Open Geospatial


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The talk tells the story of how Open Source GIS developers founded the geospatial standards organization OGC in the early 1990s, long before the term “Open Source” was even coined. The story goes on to describe how Open Source geospatial activists founded OSGeo in 2006, why the current big topic is Open Data and how it all ties together.

This need for openness is intrinsic to geospatial because any location makes sense only relative to other location data. Interoperability is a must.

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A Brief History of Open Geospatial

  1. 1. 35 years of Open Geospatial A Brief History Eine metaspatial Produktion päsentiert von: Arnulf Christl / @sevenspatial Powered by metaspatial . Reuse permitted under the Copystraight paradigm. 1 von 38
  2. 2. Arnulf Christl Mission: Open Source innovation at a sustainable pace. Metaspatial Systems Architect Founder of the metaspatial Institute Co-founder and Emeritus President of OSGeo OGC Architecture Board Member OpenStreetMap Advocate 2 von 38
  3. 3. Download this Slide Set This presentation is available at: http://metaspatial.net/conferences/open-geospatialhistory.html 3 von 38
  4. 4. Content 1. What is GIS? 2. The History of Open Geospatial 3. The Roots of Open Standards 4. My private, little Open Source story 5. Open Data 6. Bring 'em together 7. Summary 4 von 38
  5. 5. What is GIS? Geographic Information Systems 1. Raster and Vector Data capturing 2. ETL (Extract Transform Load) 3. Analysis 4. Presentation 5 von 38
  6. 6. GIS Evolution Client/Server, Lightweight applications, Clouds, Crowds SDI (Spatial Data Infrastructure) Point clouds (Lidar) 3D+ AR Crowd Sourcing 6 von 38
  7. 7. The History of Open Geospatial 7 von 38
  8. 8. The Roots of Open Standards More details and links can be found on the OSGeo Wiki . 8 von 38
  9. 9. M.O.S.S. The need for Open Standards was the result of working with pioneering software development in the geospatial realm. 1978: Development of M.O.S.S. Solomon Katz Dr. Carl Reed ...and many more 9 von 38
  10. 10. GRASS 1982: The Geographical Resources Analysis Support System project is started - and development is ongoing to the day! 10 von 38
  11. 11. ETL The real issue for both groups are not implementing the algorithms but ETL'ing the plethora of proprietary data formats. Extracting, transforming and loading the data causes the pains. 11 von 38
  12. 12. The Open Geospatial ... 1994: As a result a group of enthusiast start the Open Geospatial Foundation. 1995: renamed into the Open Geospatial Consortium ( OGC) as we know it today to accommodate the needs of the industry, at that time mostly proprietary vendors. 12 von 38
  13. 13. M.O.S.S. and GRASS almost Die In the wake of the standards efforts work on M.O.S.S. and GRASS come to a standstill. 13 von 38
  14. 14. GRASS revived Thanks to Markus Neteler GRASS is resurrected in 1998 after freely floating on the Internet in deep freeze for a while. It is still active to this day. 14 von 38
  15. 15. My private, little Open Source story 1998 Foundation of CCGIS as a one-man-show Start of the development of Internet Map Servers. Making business by implementing specific GIS applications. 2002: The German cadastral software SICAD is sold to AED, which was previously acquired by ESRI. As a result ESRI takes over the German cadastre. Suddenly SICAD partners are ESRI partners?!? Implementation cost using ArcObjects not viable. Looking for alternatives (Intergraph, Autodesk, MapInfo, etc.). The solution: MapServer running on FreeBSD (a free UNIX), later PostGIS, etc. 2003: Consequently our geoportal software Mapbender is released as Free Software. 2005: Wikipedia meets in Frankfurt, first interest in maps. 15 von 38
  16. 16. Open Geospatial Foundation 2005: Autodesk secretly decides to launch their GIS software as Open Source piggybacking on MapServer. The community is aghast! How can they dare? A big, fat, long discussion ensues. Who owns this Open Source Software? What's in a name? What does good Open Source practice really mean? How much "control" does a software development team need? Java/C++: Who is Friend who is Foe? Can there be more than one Best Ever software? ... 16 von 38
  17. 17. OSGeo After thoroughly debating and answering these important questions the Open Source Geospatial Foundation is born in February 2006: Global Inclusive Do-ocratic Truly Open It is an umbrella organization of initially eight Open Source software projects including GRASS. Everybody is happy. 17 von 38
  18. 18. The Internet Meanwhile the Internet has become a viable option for distributed computing. Google shows that maps work on the Web. There are Open albeit independent answers: OpenLayers - software OpenStreetMap - data 18 von 38
  19. 19. Open Data 19 von 38
  20. 20. Schuyler Erle Your software is great. But it is worth nothing - without Data! 20 von 38
  21. 21. Read all the details about Open Data - Taming the Beast . 21 von 38
  22. 22. 22 von 38
  23. 23. 23 von 38
  24. 24. Learning Open Data Friendship “ Open Data Friendship, also referred to as Beast Control or Beast Trick, is the Force ability to control data. Once calmed, the data can be used by the Force user in various ways, including as a service or INSPIRE beast. ” Inspired by Star Wars , adopted for Data Wars 24 von 38
  25. 25. Where are we with Open Data? Just across the chasm - or maybe not quite yet. 25 von 38
  26. 26. Public & Government Data Data collected by the government shall be: Freely accessible Unencumbered by legal restrictions Open for private and commercial use The collection, maintenance and provision is funded by the public. Therefore It is a public good. 26 von 38
  27. 27. Community Driven Data Often volunteer driven Ad-Hoc collections of data. Spatial data is collected and maintained by a crowd. It shall be clearly licensed (but often is not). Anybody can use, modify and redistribute. Derived products (for example maps) may be copyrighted. The data stays open and publicly avaialable. Nota bene: According to Wikipedia the term crowdsourcing is nowadays used in a different context. 27 von 38
  28. 28. How does it all tie together? 28 von 38
  29. 29. OpenStreetMap has an API 29 von 38
  30. 30. But OpenStreetMap also has Data! Usage of the data is regulated by the ODbL license: Use of the data is free and open for anybody Use of the map service is gratis (but limited) Setting up your own servers is encouraged The source of derivative works must be made available on request (see licensing) 30 von 38
  31. 31. Ordnance Survey Great Britain OpenSpace (API) 31 von 38
  32. 32. OpenStreetMap, Ordnance Survey, ++ So why not download all of this great data... VectorMap District(r) from Ordnance Survey Great Britain Ways, footpaths, rivernames, pubs from OpenStreetMap Rights of way from municipalities Designated offroad bicycle tracks The hills database ...plus many more sources... 32 von 38
  33. 33. ...overlay and individually style them on an Open Source software stack (PostGIS, MapServer, Mapbender)... 33 von 38
  34. 34. ...and print the result on fabric: SplashMaps - For the REAL outdoors! 34 von 38
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  36. 36. FreeGIS Paolo Viskanic from R3 GIS has a similar story to tell. In cooperation with TIS and other interested parties this lead to the foundation of the project FreeGIS.net which is based on: MapServer PostGIS GisClient FreeGIS.net Viewer PyWPS OpenLayers Feel free to join us in the afternoon for a workshop showing how the project includes all aspects of Openness to implement INSPIRE. 36 von 38
  37. 37. Summary Geospatial Openness come in three complementing tastes: Open Standards Open Source Software Open Data They all have come to stay 37 von 38
  38. 38. Thank you for your Attention A Brief History of Open Geospatial Presented by Arnulf Christl / metaspatial This presentation is available at: http://metaspatial.net/conferences/open-geospatial-history.html 38 von 38