While the open source geospatial community has made large strides to write software
that competes with with the major vendors, we as a community have yet to do anything
truly new or innovative. The most exciting potential area for me is bringing the
open source process to geospatial data, creating 'architectures of participation'
around the creation and maintenance of geo-information.
We as a community are ideally suited to tackle such problems, since it is not simply
a technical issue, but also a social one of getting a group of diverse volunteers to
contribute to a shared resource that benefits all. The social problems will likely
be similar to the ones we already tackle in our own communities, and the technical
solutions are best built on top of the existing software we are already working on.
While OpenStreetMap has taken a great early lead, especially in the social aspect, I
believe that a diverse ecosystem of open geodata projects will have a greater chance
for success in the long run. This will allow for experimentation and innovation with
both the social (licenses of data, commit rights, value propositions) and technical
(standards, user interfaces, scalability, interoperability, ect.) aspects of creating
a successful environment around furthering the creation of open geodata. A technical
architecture allowing maximum re-use of existing open source software in
collaboration will be proposed, along with conjecture on different forms of social
organizing around architectures of participation for geospatial data. I hope to make
the session an interactive discussion, to get ideas flowing on how the Open Source
GeoSpatial community can take a lead role in bringing the open source process to geodata.