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What’s next for FOSS4G-Asia: Seoul 2015!

After the success of the first FOSS4G-Asia in Bangkok last week, we could see a trend in this part of the world in the next years to come. The market seems to be dominated by users and small-medium enterprise for now. As for the use case, disaster management is likely to be on the top of the list, a prove of that is the most popular workshop was the InaSafe one (as a plugin in QGIS). This project uses OpenStreetMap data as input and other open data to analyse scenario of disaster on risk reduction. This project has been applied mostly in Indonesia which has built with the Australian government its capability of risk analysis with now over 1.3 millions of building mapped and involvement of HOT (OSM) Team over the years. With over 110 persons attending this FOSS4G-Asia event from 18 countries (Nigeria, Canada, Germany, Laos, South Korea, Vietnam, Indonesia, Japan, etc.), this event was more open to other parts of the world than what we could think at first.

The best user of FOSS4G-Asia was given to eHealth Africa in Nigeria for their work towards polio eradication and Ebola outbreak and their use of FOSS4G such as: OSRM, MapServer, QGIS and CKAN.
The best software development was given to MapMint and their team of developers.
Finally, this Asian community will be involved again next year at the international FOSS4G 2015 in Seoul (which will include a technical session only for Asia).

foss4g2015_cSanghee Shin from South Korea gives seven reasons why people should go to Seoul next year, such as people (the Asian market is the biggest in the world), South Korea government investment in open source (9 million over the next years), the culture (Asian culture is vibrant) and most of all, because it is with distance that comes new connection!

Day 3: FOSS4G-Asia

On Day 3 at FOSS4G-Asia, different open source projects were presented to the crowd, such as: Geopaparazzi, Tadpole SDM and Policrowd 2.0.


First, Geopaparazzi is an Italian Android project to do field survey, but also tools that can be of great use also to OpenStreetMappers as well as tourists that want to plan their trip.  Some can see Geopaparazzi  as an apps similar to OSMAnd, even if the clients at first were not the same.

Secondly, Tadpole SDM has been shown for the first time at FOSS4G-Asia. It is a web-based UI in Java to manage spatial database based on Tadpole DB. It is at early stage, so it only supports PostGIS for now, but they plan in three years to support Oracle, MySQL, SQL Server and Spatial Lite. It can manage spatial data, work as Saas, draw query geometry quickly, show select row table, display which database objects has spatial data.

Thirdly, Policrowd 2.0 has been recently released and extending its uses. It is a social platform over Nasa WorldWind and Open Data Kit as a GIS participatory web application, allowing users to populate a virtual 3D globe with their personal geospatial information and with OGC compliant service (ex. WMS).

Finally, governments were also part of the development and user process at FOSS4G-Asia, especially in South Korea and Quebec in Canada. South Korea just release its Open Source Geospatial Policy by sharing resource in GIS and find better ways to collaborate. South Korea launch also a government funded R&D program of over 9 million with goals of developing and enhance their GeoEcosystem with github platform, KAOS-G forum, new project architecture based on GeoTools-GeoServer-OpenLayers, process Spatial-Statistics and collaboration with Kazakhstan Government. In Canada, the government of Quebec with its new project called: Open GIS Infrastructure (IGO in French) has also been presented. IGO includes: (like South-Korea) a collaborative platform (Gitlab, Redmine), project governance based on UMN MapServer committee rules and target at sharing expertise, documentation and resource within the government. This IGO project involved 6 organisations in Quebec. It develops WPS spatial analysis tools (based on Zoo Project), security management on layers, an API over OpenLayers, Geoext, MapServer using Phalcon as Integrator model. This project will enable anyone to configure by a simple XML its own web map application including Base Map and WMS/GeoJSON overlays in a layer tree and adding different built-in functionalities (ex. adding WMS server on-demand, share permalink, location tool) to the apps without any lines of javascript. The source code of IGO should be released in 2015 as a LGPL licence and the government of Quebec is looking at other public administration (local, regional and national) in Canada or elsewhere to get involve or contribute to the project.

For the last day of FOSS4G-Asia a sprint code was held on Zoo Project to continue enhancing this open WPS platform.

Batch Geonews: The Book of OSM, Geomancer, SPOT 7 Satellite, Tracking Poop, and much more

Here’s the recent geonews in batch mode.

On the open source / open data front:

On the Esri front:

On the Google front:

In the everything else category:

In the maps category:

The Shapefile Problem and Potential Solutions

Here’s an excellent article on the problems of the Shapefile format and contenders as replacements of this omnipresent format. We mentioned the shapefile format frequently in the past, and while I was/am excited about the GeoPackage format and standard (I work in a world where OGC standards matter), James Fee concludes by anticipating that ‘the shapefile will outlive us all’.

From the entry: “The DBF is only half the problem with the shapefile.  It doesn’t understand topology, only handles simple features (ever try and draw a curve in a shapefile?), puny 2GB file size limitation and not to mention you can’t combine points, polygons and lines in one file (hence every shapefile name has the word point, line or poly in it). Oh and it’s anywhere between 3 and 15ish file types/extensions.”

Amongst the contenders for replacing the Shapefile, according to James:

  • Esri’s File Geodatabase (FGDB): “There isn’t anything inherently wrong with Esri taking this path but it means you’re stuck using their software or their APIs to access the file format.  To me this severely limits the FGDB to me an interchange file format and I think that is perfectly fine with Esri as they don’t really care too much if the FGDB doesn’t work with other’s software.”
  • GeoPackage: “It is relatively well supported by GIS software (even Esri technically can support it with the help of Safe Software).  Plus it supports all those complex features that the shapefile can’t.  Heck OGC even chose it as the reference implementation for the GeoPackage (assuming people still care about that).  Heck supports rasters too!”
  • GML & KML: “Don’t even try and use a different projection.  They have their use in specific cases but the limits of the formats means you’ll never see it being an interchange format.”
  • GeoJSON: “It can be many types of projections, it can be points, polygons and lines (with variations of many), it supports topology with the TopoJSON format and it’s JSON so it’s human readable. […] As with the shapefile/KML and unlike SpatiaLite it won’t support curves and other complex geometry or rasters and never will.  Thus it is not well suited as a shapefile replacement.”
  • WKT: “But alas, we still don’t support rasters.  It’s a vector format for vector data. SpatiaLite and the File Geodatabase both support rasters.”

The whole article should be read by anyone with interest in geospatial data, probably every Slashgeo reader!

FOSS4G-Asia 2014: Day 2

On Day 2 at FOSS4G-Asia 2014, keynote speakers presents the evolution of their overall Open source community (ex. Thailand, Japan). Thailand presents how its annual Open Source Software Festival that is held there since 1999 became the root of its movement and Japan OSGeo show that Chapter funded by companies as a way of sustainable solution to support local OSGeo organisation.

Maria Brovelli from Politecnico di Milano in Italy discussed how Digital Earth projet around the world should look more at the Internet of Places and build more freedom around it with FOSS4G. She was making connections between the Internet of Things to Internet of Places, because of 80% of all big data coming from different sources can be located on a map. She expressed interest to GIS specialist to work on Cartographic Mashup, multiple GeoCatalog links together, processing server-side service  (ex. WPS – Zoo) especially for mobile device and not always start from scratch but build on top of FOSS4G project already in development.

Kazeem Owolabi, from a US NGO called eHealth Africa based in Kano, Nigeria presents the use case of polio eradication project and Ebola response outbreak in Nigeria. His presentation highlight the role GIS plays in the vaccine delivery & routing to remote areas in Northern Nigeria.


To effectively deliver vaccine to those areas and get 80% of the target population to get polio vaccine to young people, mobile application (Open Data Kit, Formhub), Open Data community (OpenStreetMap roads with Humanitarian OSM Team) and many GIS tools such as: OSRM, QGIS (delivery analysis), MapServer & CKAN were used and supports the NGO to achieve its mission. Nigeria as one of third country still having polio might look by the end of 2015 to be polio free. With all this achievement using technology for public health purposes proves also that to be useful for Ebola in Nigeria in the recent outbreak and acheiving to stop the spread in the Lagos area: