Saturday 21 November 2009

GeoLivre Wrapup

Whew! I am sure tired ... and there is still some hacking to be done tonight (something about SIRGAS2000 polyconic projection that is holding back GeoServer in this market).

Yesterday I talked about the range of government representatives present; today I want to run through the sponsors and thank them - and perhaps figure out what they are doing and why they are interested in open source.
First up is OpenGeo; yes that is very confusing but apparently they had the name first! This company appears to make up the vast majority of the organising committee and I have had a great time chatting with their developers about code, scala, mapping and the fact that Brasilia is shaped like an airplane. The company has been causing trouble since 2003 and has been involved with open source from the start. The founder, Helton Uchoa, discovered source while working in the Brasilian army. Business is built around consulting with a smattering of products. This is the third time they have been involved GeoLivera.
The next sponsor is the eye of sauron and the friendly military construction department. This department is new to open source software and is developing government resource planning software by the name of OPUS. There were several presentation of OPUS over the course of the week building up a picture of an asset manager with "geospatial intelligence" (ie georeferrenced assets).
Next we have the science and technology department and geographic services department. The geographic services department had an exciting presentation of sigDesktop and sigWeb which have been in development for two years. The desktop application is C++ qt application similar to QuantumGIS. The sigWeb app combines PHP, C++ and PostGIS. It sounds like that are very happy with their results thus far.
Is a new venture with open source tools working with Brazilian state governments on environment planning. This seems to be a hot topic with every construction activity requiring a environmental impact report.

I would like to extend my thanks to the sponsors for support OSGeo Brasil in an excellent week of open source advocacy.

The local chapter has done a very impressive job of publicity for this event; and you could see their joy as the live presentation feeds brought in viewers from Sao Paulo (30%), Rio de Janeiro(12%), Recife, Salvador, Porto Alegre and Venezuela. They also broke out the traditional web 2.0 stream of tweets, blogs and the occasional dose of print media.

Apparently they sent registered mail invites to everyone government department they could throw a stone at - and this city was made specifically to house all the government. Not even the president escaped. FOSS4G should considered this approach - especially for the local area.

Wednesday 18 November 2009

Local Chapters and a Regional Conference

The Aust-NZ list is discussing what can possibly done next after FOSS4G this year. I am amused that they are ready for more less then a month after the conference - a real keen crew (or Perhaps Cameron finished that bottle of scotch Paul gave him). I am of course keen for more advocacy in the Australian region - and would really like to run more workshops and training courses. The initial response of the list has been to organise an outing to the pub in Melbourne and Brisbane!

Today I am attending the GeoLibre conference showing the opposite extreme to FOSS4G. A small local conference (small is around half the size of FOSS4G). From what I can see this is being a very effective tool in spreading the word and promoting OSGeo in the region.

Yesterday I mentioned the range of government types present at the conference; this is no doubt helped by the conference being located in capital of Brasilia. One thing I have not seen at this conference is row upon row of open laptops during the presentations; and so far I have only really talked shop with fellow presenters.

Edmar Moretti has helpfully posted a picture of the opening panel on georeferencing. I was invited to sit on this panel (in order to be available to talk about OSGeo) and only determined it was on georeferencing by listening to the translations coming through on a headset. I talked a little bit about Australia’s CRC-SI program and how the country is exploring the use of precession farming.

In the afternoon I had a chance to talk about PostGIS (my co-presenter Rafael was a bit too distracted by conference organisation so I ended up doing this one on my own). I must really thank both Paul Ramsey and his excellent talk at FOSS4G; and Simon Greener who’s guide to Oracle Spatial for PostGIS users was invaluable.

I had a couple of questions at the end of this presentation; mostly about the advent of raster support in PostGIS. The initial question was of course why? Which is a questions that I have no ready answer to - other then the fact that someone paid for it (and it is probably easier to manage via SQL?). In general modern file formats like ECW and JPEG2000 are pretty darn amazing and targeted to large rasters. The other question was of course any kind of reassurance that PostGIS can handle the vast amounts of information involved in capturing a country the size of Brasil.

This conference; and questions; really emphasis the requirement for local chapters on the ground to support the adoption of FOSS4G.

Today I am writing this as I watch a gvSig presentation; and am happy to see Sexante getting a mention. So far I am the only person with an open laptop and everyone else if very attentive (hopefully the language difference offers me an excuse in this respect). I have learned a bit more about the gvsig governance structure where groups around the world get “a vote” regardless of the size of their organisation. I am looking forward to gvSig graduating from the incubation process so I have a chance to review what they have done in this respect.

GeoLivre Day 1

Near as I can tell Jeff can get away with anything and people love him - one of the benefits of being a nice guy. Jeff had a wee bit of visa trouble and joined us via web camera for a well received morning session.

I managed to introduce OSGeo and Jeff followed up with a rundown of FOSS4G conferences and the WMS shoot out results.

One of the more interesting items I picked up was Venezuela flat out using OSGeo as a guidance point (along with OGC Standards). It seems we made the right choice signing up GeoServer last month :-)

One thing I found really healthy in todays session was the wide range of government attendance; it looks like the OSGeo Brasil chapter is going places.

Monday 16 November 2009