Mapbender is First Approved OSGeo Project

Mapbender is First Approved OSGeo Project

Mapbender is First Approved OSGeo Project

OSGeo is proud to announce that Mapbender is the first graduate of the incubation process, becoming the first formally approved OSGeo project.

Mapbender UI

Mapbender is a client framework for orchestrating interoperable web map services. It is implemented in PHP and JavaScript and ships with a set of predefined user interfaces for viewing, editing and managing map services and users. mapbender.org also hosts a Gallery of Mapbender-based sites, ranging from easy-to-use city map services to intricate applications helping farmers to apply for agricultural subsidy grants, to the nascent environmental portal for Germany, PortalU.

Mapbender's "graduation" is the final step of the incubation process that leads to a project becoming an "official" OSGeo project. Graduation from Incubator status means that all code has had a recent, thorough manual review - helping to identify, address and remove any potential legal encumbrances (IP and license checks). The code cleanup is documented in the OSGeo Wiki, resulting in a transparent and retraceable process. As is common with Open Source software development, all changes are documented in a publicly readable code repository which is hosted on the OSGeo platform. Around 30% of the code had to be edited to fulfil the requirements, a sometimes tedious but very cleansing process.

The second part of Incubation involved an insight health check of the project infrastructure and governance. Is the project run as a good Open Source project? Does it have a healthy community? Who are the developers and where do they come from? Does the project have a really a Free and Open community and governance process? These soft factors can be harder to evaluate and difficult to not feel biased about.

To help answer these questions a Mentor was nominated to guide the project through the process. With Mapbender this task was taken on by Paul Spencer, a senior developer who has been involved for years in many other Open Source projects. A positive side effect of this is higher visibility of the Mapbender software inside the Foundation, improving chances to implement cross project collaboration. Service oriented architectures, Semantic Web, 2.0, and bending the virtual web back to location (the revenge of geospatial) involve a lot of interactivity which happens most effectively in the Open Source world.

The result of OSGeo Graduation for Mapbender is a formally correct code base run by a healthy community and steering committee. This is good for the project as it will gain momentum and credibility; it is good for Mapbender's users and developers, who profit from the legal protection provided by OSGeo; and hopefully it is good for the Foundation itself - providing one robust, high-quality component of the Free and Open Source Geospatial Software Stack that will eventually cover every aspect of spatial IT.