Open GeoData

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Open Geodata



"OSGeo is an Apache-inspired software foundation for free and open source geospatial tools - Geographic Information Systems, web mapping, tools for spatial applications. It was started when Autodesk decided for strategic reasons that the future of their web mapping software was in Open Source; they approached the Open Source GIS community, which had been thinking about starting a foundation for awhile, and offered the use of their formidable marketing machine. OSGeo has 8 projects in incubation, about another 8 circling around. As well as supporting software development projects, there are a couple of non-software committees (activity groups) within OSGeo - education, and geodata.

Why is a software foundation supporting open access to geodata activities? Partly because the domain demands data in order to do work - if you’re working on apache, you can just start writing HTML pages; if you’re working on openoffice, you can start creating a document - but it’s impossible to develop or to usably distribute Open Source GIS software without real world data to test against." (


Tyler Mitchell:

"Addressing the organizational and marketing needs of several open source projects was a key goal when starting the OSGeo Foundation. The organization itself was created to help assure project longevity, encourage a healthy support and user ecosystem, and act as a focal point for various communities to come together for advancing common goals.

OSGeo was started in 2006 as a non-profit organization, interest having grown over a year or two prior on several fronts. There had been a general recognition that various software projects were very mature and used as stable solutions to geographic planning and mapping exercises. While competition with proprietary products was very real, the uptake of the open source solutions was steadily continuing. The question in several minds was, "How can we further advance these great products we use?" It was assumed that, eventually, members from the user and consulting community might find some way to gain exposure to some projects. What no one could expect was that a large corporate entity had been working toward releasing their proprietary product as open source. This development was the fuel to move the vision of a formal organization forward.

Autodesk, known for their Autocad design and media applications, also produces geographic information management products, including a popular web-based mapping tool, MapGuide. MapGuide was the first Autodesk product to be released as open source.

Being already familiar with existing open source geospatial projects and the community development approach, Autodesk sought to work cooperatively with these projects rather than release their product as a competitor. Several other projects had already been available for a while, but only a few had any corporate presence behind them. MapServer had been hosted by the University of Minnesota, but had extensive contributions from external companies. This meant that Autodesk was able to find companies who were already ardent developers of parts of MapServer. The existence of companies that support particular open source products helps other businesses to have confidence to investigate them further.

In finding a good way to work together, it was proposed to develop a non-profit organization to help focus on common needs and goals across many projects. All projects need technology infrastructure such as web servers, code repositories, and mailing lists. All could benefit from collaborative marketing in venues where it might not be feasible for a single project to go alone. These and other concepts brought two dozen leaders of, and contributors to, open source geospatial software together for a meeting. The outcome became OSGeo, with a board of directors well known in the industry, dozens of charter members, nine specific software projects dedicated to working together, and Autodesk as the founding sponsor. Three years later, with over 70 charter members, dozens of local chapters spread around the world, and over a dozen sponsors, OSGeo is addressing significant issues." (