OSGeo Celebrates 1st Anniversary
February 4th, 2007 was the first anniversary of OSGeo. One year ago 25 people met face-to-face, and many more via phone and IRC, to discuss the possibility of starting an umbrella organisation. These participants represented over 13 different open source projects. The foundational purpose of the organisation was to help promote and continue to develop open source tools in the geospatial sphere. Since that time, much has happened and momentum around OSGeo continues to develop. Here are only a few highlights from that first year.
The initial 25 charter members were expanded to a full 45 voting members after a public nomination process. These are the members who are responsible for voting in the Board. Regular members were also invited to join at no cost and without any formal process. The development of a membership management application is currently underway, which will allow members to formally sign up.
Several committees are overseeing day-to-day work and special projects:
- A Board of Directors was created early on and expanded to include 9 representatives from around the world. The Board has been very active in setting direction, policies and helping in general.
- Website and Systems Administration committees - focused on website content and infrastructure maintenance and development
- Project Incubation - monitoring and guiding projects through the incubation process
- Promotion and Visibility - developing promotional material, coordinating OSGeo presence at conferences, creating press releases
- Conference planning - helping organise the annual OSGeo FOSS4G conference event
- Fundraising - raising funds to cover day-to-day costs of the foundation and its projects
- Public Geospatial Data - working towards making more data publicly available and building tools for finding it
- Education/Curriculum development - working towards a set of teaching tools for bringing open source into the academic mapping and GIS environment
The primary goal of OSGeo is to help further develop and promote particular software projects. An initial set of projects joined the incubation process at the beginning and since then a couple have graduated and a few more have joined. Even more are waiting for approval to join the process. Projects can be loosely categorised into the following groupings.
Web Mapping Software
Metadata Catalog Software
Other Projects Wanting to Join
Together these projects represent a massive amount of development effort and cover a wide spectrum of core geospatial technologies. All projects are being actively developed and have vibrant user communities behind them.
Local Chapter Development
OSGeo's goals and mission have garnered interest from many particular countries, regions and language groups. Early on it was decided that there should be a way for these groups to associate with OSGeo, hence the creation of Local Chapters.
To date there are 4 approved local chapters in: China, India, Japan and Ottawa (Canada).
Many additional local chapters are hoping to form and at various stages of development, including: Australian, Brazilian, New Mexico (USA) regions and French, German, Italian languages.
Promotion / Events
OSGeo has been represented at several events in the past year. Some with several thousands of participants. The purpose of having OSGeo presence at events is to build awareness for the OSGeo projects. Speakers and those managing an OSGeo booth help describe case studies or show demonstrations of applications. Brochures for each project have been made available and are distributed.
The primary international conference that OSGeo members were involved in is FOSS4G. The conference was a great success and very encouraging.
Planning for the FOSS4G 2007 event is already well underway.
Here are a few other events that OSGeo has had speakers or exhibition presence at in 2006 or early 2007:
OSGeo is joining with the famous GRASS GIS Newsletter to produce a new version that is targetted at a wider audience. A joint GRASS/OSGeo Newsletter was produced in 2006. Further OSGeo newsletters are planned for 2007.
Executive Director Hired
In November I was hired by the board as the Executive Director for OSGeo. The goal of the position is to help facilitate day-to-day administrative operations, increase communication and serve as a formal contact for those who need to talk to the organisation. Having this position has allowed us to get a handle on various administrative functions and provided a consistent point of contact for the community, public, sponsors and media.
- Several new sponsors - In addition to continuing Sustaining Sponsor Autodesk, new Associate Sponsors include Lizardtech and 1Spatial. The GDAL/OGR project also has several project sponsors.
- A logo was selected for the organisation, based on submissions and voting from the community. Some modifications of the original were recently completed to make the logo more usable for various printing and media purposes. A brand guidebook is also being developed.
- A cafepress.com store was started
- Internet infrastructure services were upgraded at the end of 2006, allowing for more control over mailing lists and code repositories as well as implementing a content management system for the website
- OSGeo has been featured in various news web sites and mentioned at several conferences and in magazine articles
The Horizon for Year 2
I will leave the outlook for 2007 to another post, but it's looking to be even busier than 2006. Here are a couple things to watch for:
- Formation of more local chapters
- More software projects joining OSGeo
- How to participate in international and local events
- More great features added and bugs squished
- Increased promotional opportunities
- FOSS4G in Victoria, BC, Canada