GeoAmbassador – Barend Köbben

On behalf of the GeoForAll community, it is my great pleasure to honour Barend Köbben as our GeoAmbassador.Barend holds an MSc in Geography, specialising in Cartography, from Utrecht University in The Netherlands. He worked for 9 years as a Lecturer in cartography at that university and then moved to the International Institute for Geo-Information Sciences and Earth Observation (ITC) in 1997. The ITC is an international school providing courses on GIS and Remote Sensing to students from all around the world, ranging from short courses, through 18 month MSc degree courses, as well as a PhD programmes. Since 1 January 2010, ITC is a Faculty of the University of Twente.


Barend Köbben


Barend is at present Senior Lecturer in GIS and cartographic visualisation in the Department of Geo-Information Processing (GIP).His teaching subjects include Cartographic Theory, WebCartography and WebGIS, Geo-webservices, web application building and 3D visualization.Outside ITC, Barend is involved in teaching short courses and workshops in Open Source GIS & WebMapping, promoting the use of the Open Source geospatial applications and data.  The Commission on Open Source Geospatial Technologies of the International Cartographic Association (ICA) organised a series of short courses and workshops on Open Source GIS & Webmapping, for which we at ITC have developed course materials and provide teaching staff and resources.

These are mostly hands-on practical workshops, intended to introduce the possibilities of using Open Source applications for GIS and webmapping to people who are interested in this technology, but that do not yet have much experience in the actual practical use of OSGeo applications.Barend used a set of exercises that guide the participants in setting up a webmapping site using OpenStreetMap data, adding their own data using the desktop QGIS application, serving that data as a Web Map Service using Geoserver and/or Mapserver, and finally bringing it all together on a interactive “slippy map” website using OpenLayers. Barend is using in general the free and open source GIS and webmapping applications from the OSGeo LiveDVD. Barend teach and have tought these workshops and courses in many forms: From very short (2 hours) to long (2/3 weeks), either face-to-face or using Distance Learning technology.


Some examples of the Past courses & workshops that he contributed include: 

You can also  kobben@itc.nlto request a course to be organised for your organization.

Barend participate in the research activities of the departmental Research Theme STAMP (Spatio–Temporal Analytics, Maps and Processing). His main research interests are:

– Automated mapping in a services environment, with middleware services and Open Web clients (using the D3 library).

– Animated vector map services, using among others the RIMapper WMS Open Source platform that he developed.

– The SDIlight concept. The term SDI for Spatial Data Infrastructure may be usually connected with (very) large regional or national spatial data warehouses, but the principles of SDI can also be applied in more simple and cost–effective ways. The down–to–earth approach of SDIlight provides students and researchers with a platform for relatively simple, low–cost, yet powerful ways of sharing data amongst various distributed offices and institutions as well as the general public. To achieve this, he used open standards whenever available and open source solutions where possible.

Barend have been involved in various consultancy projects in The Netherlands, India, Iran, Italy, Malaysia, Namibia, South Africa, Thailand and Zambia.

Barend is Map Editor and member of the Editorial Board of Geografie (Journal of KNAG – Koninklijk Nederlands Aardrijkskundig Genootschap, ISSN 0926-3837); Charter Member of the Open Source Geospatial Foundation; Member and Publications Chair of the ICA Commission on Open Source Geospatial Technologies.

We are proud to honour Barend Köbben as our GeoAmbassador and we are extremely grateful for his contributions to GeoForAll and for his selfless contributions for expanding geoeducation opportunities for all.

Best wishes,

Suchith Anand



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