The OSGeo umbrella

The Open Source Geospatial Foundation ‒ OSGeo ‒ is an umbrella organization for a lot of free and open source software projects focused on geospatial technology, that is, maps 🙂

Artistic closeup of a coloured umbrella, steve trigg

Projects range from low-level programming libraries like GDAL/OGR (that is also used by ESRI software) to full-fledged desktop apps like QGIS and gvSIG and powerful web-mapping frameworks (GeoServer and MapServer). But there’s much more, really. Take a look for yourself on the OSGeo wiki.

Being an umbrella means that

OSGeo Projects are freestanding entities, handled by their own Project Steering Committees.

so I have been wondering how much interaction there is among OSGeo projects, looking at people who are members of Project Steering Committees (PSC). PSCs are the governing body of each project, and they vary a lot in membership size, structure and activity, but ultimately their purpose is the make sure that nothing happens in isolation and that decisions are consensus-driven in democratic way, as required by the OSGeo rules.

My initial idea was simple: look at PSC membership as a graph, with members and projects as nodes, all converging into OSGeo. That makes for a nice umbrella-shaped graph!

The OSGeo umbrella - smallSmall black dots represent PSC members. You will notice that several members are part of more than one project. That’s the OSGeo cabal! Almost like a Swedish conspiracy!

In yellow: the cabal, revealed!
In yellow: the cabal, revealed! Click for the larger version.

Jokes aside, there is of course some connectedness, namely in two clusters: the webmapping cluster and the “founders” cluster: GDAL, UMN MapServer, PROJ.4 (part of MetaCRS), GEOS and PostGIS are all OSGeo founding projects and are in many cases the core components of the OSGeo software stack.

The (not so) nice graphs were put together in the DOT language and plotted with the following command:

sfdp osgeo-projects-psc.gv -Tpng -o osgeo-big.png

The source file is found in this gist and is free to use if you want to develop new visualizations.

Of course this is by no means informative of the actual interaction of the larger OSGeo community (that is orthogonal to projects), and even within projects there is much more to look at: mailing lists, code repositories, issue trackers, etc. The nice thing here is that to obtain the data I needed I took the opportunity to review the available information and even fixed a few things in the wiki page linked above. Take it as a first step in developing a wider understanding of the “hidden structure” in the OSGeo community.

GFOSS news

I’ve been meaning to do this for a long time now (since 2009 apparently). I am proud to announce the first issue of GFOSS news, a newsletter from and about the GFOSS community with a focus on Italy.

GFOSS news

The tagline is “software, dati, persone” (software, data, people) and it is exactly like that. It’s a short summary of what has been going on in the past month: software releases, community events (including the much-discussed resignation of the association’s board) and other relevant news. News items are very short, which is in itself kind of unusual for the average Italian written text.

It is nothing original of course: all news come from OSGeo and GFOSS mailing lists, Planet OSGeo, Planet GIS Italia, Twitter and other sources (with links to the original announcements).

Spread the word, and submit your ideas for the next issue!

Total Open Station packaged for OpenSUSE

Thanks to Angelos Tzotzos (Remote Sensing Laboratory, National Technical University of Athens) Total Open Station has an installable package for OpenSUSE, since a few weeks. Installing is as easy as:

$ sudo zypper ar GEO 
$ sudo zypper refresh 
$ sudo zypper install TotalOpenStation

Any report about this package will be very welcome. We have already added these instructions in the website.

A few days ago I met Angelos in Athens. He is a very active member in several OSGeo projects and even more importantly he does an incredible job at animating the small Greek OSGeo community. I hope they will grow as our Italian community did, and I think we have an obligation to help them.

M(‘)appare Milano – campagna di mappatura OpenStreetMap sotto la Madonnina

M(‘)appare Milano è la nuova iniziativa lanciata da e OpenStreetMap per coinvolgere i mappatori milanesi in micro eventi della durata massima di 3 ore durante i quali si procede alla raccolta dei dati di una zona limitata di territorio. La fase di editing della mappa verrà svolta dai partecipanti al proprio domicilio.

Lo scopo collaterale è quello di far conoscere il progetto ad altri potenziali partecipanti coinvolgendoli in una mappatura a due nella loro prima esperienza.

Il primo Micro Mapping Party si è svolto il 2 marzo 2008 nella zona compresa tra:

  • viale Zara-Fulvio Testi
  • viale Marche
  • viale Monza
  • via Giosué Carducci a Sesto San Giovanni


Se abiti a Milano o nei dintorni, mappa anche tu!