Open Source Geospatial Foundation Created to Strengthen Collaborative Development of Open Geospatial Technologies
OSGEO to provide an umbrella for community-led GIS and mapping projects
March 06, 2006 – The open source geospatial community today announced the formation of the Open Source Geospatial Foundation, a not-for-profit organization whose mission is to support and promote the collaborative development of open geospatial technologies and data. The foundation was formed in February to provide financial, organizational and legal support to the broader open source geospatial community. It will also serve as an independent legal entity to which community members can contribute code, funding and other resources, secure in the knowledge that their contributions will be maintained for public benefit.
On February 4th, OSGEO held its first meeting in Chicago with 25 participants representing 18 groups and over 20 different open source geospatial projects, and 39 other parties participating via Internet Relay Chat. At this meeting, the participants took important steps in forming and organizing a foundation to develop and support open source geospatial technologies, including defining the foundation’s name, structure and vision. The consensus reached at the Chicago meeting paves the way to establish a productive, inclusive foundation.
The Chicago meeting also resulted in the appointment of an initial board of directors that will be responsible for the drafting and execution of the foundation’s charter and bylaws. The initial five directors come from North America and Europe and represent various open source projects and technologies. The initial five directors of OSGEO are:
Arnulf Christl – Mapbender, CCGIS, Germany;
Chris Holmes – GeoServer/GeoTools, The Open Planning Project, U.S.;
Gary Lang – MapGuide, Autodesk, U.S.;
Markus Neteler – GRASS, Istituto Trentino Di Cultura, Italy;
Frank Warmerdam – GDAL/OGR, Canada.
The foundation expects to appoint four additional directors within the next several weeks to serve as the full interim board until the next annual meeting of the foundation membership at FOSS4G this fall.
OSGEO draws governance inspiration from several aspects of the Apache Foundation, including a membership composed of individuals drawn from foundation projects who are selected for membership status based on their active contribution to foundation projects and governance. The initial membership consists of the five initial board members plus 16 other participants who attended the Chicago organizational meeting. The foundation added recently further 24 members from the broader open source geospatial community through a public nomination and election process to reach 45 voting members.
Initial OSGEO projects are GeoTools, Mapbender, MapBuilder, MapGuide, MapServer, GDAL/OGR, GRASS, and OSSIM.
The foundation will not require that OSGEO software projects to be licensed under any one particular open source license, but will require that all OSGEO software be released under an open source license approved by the Open Source Initiative (OSI). The long term goal is to encourage licenses that allow the different foundation projects to work better together and permit for code exchange among them. The foundation will implement contribution and intellectual property policies designed to avoid the inclusion of proprietary or patented code in OSGEO projects. Foundation projects are focused on interoperability – both with one another at the library level, and with other proprietary and open source projects through the use of open standards.
The foundation will also be pursuing goals beyond software development, such as promoting more open access to government produced spatial data, which is a major problem outside of North America.
About the Open Source Geospatial Foundation
The Open Source Geospatial Foundation (OSGEO), is a not-for-profit organization whose mission is to support and promote the collaborative development of open geospatial technologies and data. The foundation was formed to provide financial, organizational and legal support to the broader open source geospatial community. It will also serve as an independent legal entity to which community members can contribute code, funding and other resources, secure in the knowledge that their contributions will be maintained for public benefit.