OSGeo UN Committee Educational Challenge

Proposals for developing open geospatial educational material for three challenges are invited. Prize money of USD 3,000 for each challenge is sponsored by OSGeo and Boundless.

The OSGeo UN Committee promotes the development and use of open source software that meets UN needs and supports the aims of the UN. In the last few years, the Committee has mainly worked on the UN Open GIS Initiative, a project  “... to identify and develop an Open Source GIS bundle that meets the requirements of UN operations, taking full advantage of the expertise of mission partners (partner nations, technology contributing countries, international organizations, academia, NGOs, private sector). The strategic approach shall be developed with best and shared principles, standards and ownership, in a prioritized manner that addresses capability gaps and needs without duplicating efforts of other Member States or entities. The UN Open GIS Initiative strategy shall collaboratively and cooperatively develop, validate, assess, migrate, and implement sound technical capabilities with all the appropriate documentation and training that in the end provides a united effort to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of utilizing Open Source GIS around the world.” (more details at [1]).

The first two challenges (one of them sponsored by Boundless) are related to the UN Open GIS Initiative. The third challenge is more general and relates to the use of high resolution and high quality global datasets available for environmental, social and economical analysis everywhere, especially in developing countries. This challenge is aimed at addressing the current lack of training material for using such data with open source software in support of UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Winners will be guided by mentors from Boundless [2], the UN Open GIS Initiative [3] and OSGeo [4] to ensure that the material meets the requirements of the target audience. Winning material will be included and distributed in OSGeoLive [5], a freely available and self-contained bootable DVD, USB thumb drive or Virtual Machine based on Lubuntu, containing a wide variety of open source geospatial software that can be tried out without installing anything.

Challenge 1: Spiral 1 of UN – GeoSHAPE platform for data collection

Prize: USD 3,000 sponsored by Boundless

Requirements: This call is for the development of education material that teaches the user how to apply the GeoSHAPE platform [6] to assist in a real-life scenario involving a relevant theme in today’s world. Themes could include humanitarian aid, disaster management, emergency management, or sustainable development.  The scenario could be an ongoing, recent, or historical event or could be created for the purposes of the challenge. If the scenario is created, it should be as realistic and relevant to today’s challenges as possible and use data relevant to a geographic location on the earth. The instructional materials should teach the user how to perform specific workflows relevant to the scenario.  The proposal should specify:

  1. A description of the applied scenario.
  2. A list of workflows to be included in the scenario. The list should be specific enough to highlight how the platform can be used in assist in the effort. For example, distributed editing could be used to track and share the location of resources in the field in real-time.
  3. A list of the types of relevant datasets to be used with a short description. The datasets should include freely available and open geodatasets. Given the nature of the challenge, datasets may need to be created for the purposes of the scenario.

Target audience: professionals at local, regional, national or international agencies, especially those in developing countries that may use in the platform in one of the above mentioned themes.

Mentors: Christina Hupy chupy@boundlessgeo.com

Challenge 2: Spiral 3 of UN – Functionalities for UN Operations

Prize: USD 3,000 sponsored by OSGeo

Requirements: Do you analyze geospatial data for your business/research? There are several geospatial-analysis-functions available in open source for geospatial community. GeoAnalysis library [7] is a java-based open source for geospatial analysis. This call is for development of an educational material using GeoAnalysis library

Please assume that you would like to teach your students/folks how to use the GeoAnalysis library by using desktop SW like uDig or through Internet, and how to use geo-analysis functions for their business/research. Proposal should specify:

  1. Description of a business (purpose of using GeoAnalysis, scenario, etcs)
  2. Description of analysis model (analysis flow, analysis functions, input/output dataset) of the business described in 1)
  3. List of datasets to be used for the analysis
  4. Others

Target audience: Researchers, educators and professionals at local, regional, national or international agencies, especially those in developing countries.

Mentors: HaeKyong Kang hkkang@krihs.re.kr, MinPa Lee minpa.lee@mangosystem.com and DHN Cho dhncho@gmail.com

Challenge 3: Open geospatial data and software for UN sustainable development goals

Prize: USD 3,000 sponsored by OSGeo

Requirements: This call is for the development of educational material that teaches users how to work with with free and open source geospatial software and freely available global open datasets (higher interest in high resolution datasets) on tasks that contribute towards achieving at least one of the UN Sustainable Development Goal [8]. The proposal should specify

  1. A description of the tasks and how they contribute to achieving one or more UN Sustainable Development Goals.
  2. The list of freely available global open geodatasets that will be included in the educational material, with a short description of each dataset, its spatial and temporal resolution and a link (URL) to the dataset.
  3. The list of free and open source geospatial software for which the educational material will be developed, with a short description for each software and a link (URL) to its website.

Target audience: Researchers, educators and professionals at local, regional, national or international agencies, especially those in developing countries.

Mentors: Maria Brovelli maria.brovelli@polimi.it and Serena Coetzee serena.coetzee@up.ac.za

Inclusion of winning material in OSGeoLive

Educational material for all three challenges can be included in OSGeoLive in one of two ways:

  1. As a Quickstart Tutorial for a software project included in OSGeoLive (e.g. GeoServer, QGIS etc). Current Quickstart Tutorials are listed at [9]. Quickstart Tutorials are licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License for Quickstarts.
  2. As Workshop Material. Current Workshop Material is listed at [10]. Workshop Material is licensed under the Creative Commons ByAttribution (CC-BY) License.


Proposals (in English) of not more than 5 pages should describe the material that you plan to develop, comprising:

  1. A title for the proposed open geospatial educational material.
  2. Identification of the challenge (1, 2 or 3).
  3. Name, address, e-mail address, CV of the proposer.
  4. Full outline of the proposed geospatial educational material, including learning outcomes, prerequisite knowledge, educational approach and content.
  5. Any additional information requested for the specific challenge (see above).
  6. A signed statement agreeing that the winning educational material may be published in OSGeoLive. Your proposal should clearly indicate whether you propose to provide material for OSGeoLive as QuickStart Tutorial or Workshop Material or both, and that you agree to publish it with the respective Creative Commons license.
  7. A schedule for the development of the training material, indicating important milestones. For start and end dates, see important dates below.

See the following examples of related educational material: training material used by GeoForAll to support the United Nations in their migration to geospatial open source applications [11] and courses developed by the GeoAcademy [12].

You can submit proposals for more than one challenge. However, one proposal should be for one challenge only. Only proposals by individuals will be accepted (no proposals by teams). Proposals should be submitted to un@osgeo.org.


Criteria for evaluation:

  1. Proposer is an OSGeo Charter Member: 10 (max)
  2. Proposer’s documented experience in education and training: 20 (max)
  3. Proposer’s age (20 if < 40 years old; 0 if >40 years old): 20 (max)
  4. Experience with respect to what is proposed by the specific challenge: 10 (max)
  5. Proposal: 40 (max)

Proposals will be evaluated by the OSGeo UN Committee Educational Challenge Judging Commission comprising representatives from OSGeo, Boundless and UN Open GIS. The proposal will be shortlisted and its content reviewed only if the sum of the first four criteria is at least 40. Evaluation criteria for the content include the suitability of the proposed material for the target audience and requirements, feasibility of the proposal, as well as the gender, relevant experience, qualifications and language proficiency of the proposer.

Important dates

  • Announcement of the OSGeo Educational Challenge                  30 March 2018
  • Deadline for submission of proposals:                                          30 April 2018
  • Announcement of the winners:                                                     31 May 2018
  • Winners receive first third (USD 1,000) of the prize money:         15 June 2018
  • Submission of educational material by the winners:                    15 August 2018
  • Evaluation of the educational material by mentors:                      30 September 2018

Subsequent to a positive evaluation, winners receive the remaining prize money (USD 2,000). Prize money will be transferred in one of two ways:

  1. Winners provide their IBAN/Swift info and OSGeo/Boundless deposits the money directly into their bank account via Wire Transfer.
  2. Winners provide their PayPal info and OSGeo/Boundless transfers the money into their PayPal account.


For queries on specific challenges, contact the mentors of respective challenges (see above). Any other queries can be addressed to un@osgeo.org.


[1] https://wiki.osgeo.org/wiki/UnitedNations_Committee

[2] https://boundlessgeo.com/

[3] http://unopengis.org/

[4] https://www.osgeo.org/

[5] https://live.osgeo.org

[6] http://geoshape.org/

[7] https://github.com/MapPlus/spatial_statistics_for_geotools_udig

[8] http://www.un.org/sustainabledevelopment/sustainable-development-goals/

[9] http://wiki.osgeo.org/wiki/UNTraining

[10] https://fossgeo.org/


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