FOSS4G – Geo for all

September has been a special month for the Geo-community. Firstly there was State of the Map, followed by AGI GeoCommunity and closing the month was FOSS4G, the annual gathering of Open Source Geospatial Developers, Users and Leaders.

FOSS4G is held annually across the globe and comes to Europe every 3 years, with Nottingham being the chosen destination for 2013. A few facts about this year’s event:

There were 28 workshops, 76 maps, 180 presentations, 833 delegates, from over 100 countries.

Ordnance Survey was platinum sponsor for this event, which spanned 5 days and provided a mix of workshops, presentations and plenaries focused on open geospatial technologies.

We showcased our open programmes, OS OpenData, OS OpenSpace and use of open source technologies in delivering our web services. Many of those new to Ordnance Survey were impressed with the breadth of our use of open geospatial technologies and the depth of our research projects.

The presentations covered many diverse topics, from basic introductions to optimising spatial data analysis. We contributed to these sessions, delivering presentations on The Business Case for Open Standards, an Introduction to location and Linked Data, the Rapid Assembly of Geo-centred Linked Data and Using NoSQL & HTML5 Libraries to rapidly generate interactive web visualisations of high-volume spatio-temporal data.

During the event, we also confirmed our commitment to open source, with the launch of the United Kingdom Interoperability Assessment Plugfest (UKIAP) 2013, which generated a lot of interest from vendors and developers.

After 5 intense days of coding and talks, our Chief Architect, Ian James concluded the conference with a keynote speech.

The event was a huge success for the open geospatial community. Our geo-consultant, Tim Martin summed up his experience:

FOSS4G is the type of conference where you have the opportunity to learn something that will positively change the way you currently work whether you are a manager or have a technical focus.

This year I have walked away excited about using solr for spatial searching, developing custom qgis plugins and how the open source geospatial stack is now a fully fledged enterprise alternative that can be used in any industry”.

Our CartoDesign team also played their part in the conference. Paul ran a workshop, with Alex Curtis, combining the cartographic design principles that we have been promoting throughout the summer with OS OpenData and OpenStreetMap using open source software in the form of QGIS. We are keen to continue providing resources and support as we feel that these are every bit as important to ‘open’ as data and software.

Attendees at the workshop were tasked with creating a Robin Hood themed tourist map of Nottingham and the best effort was rewarded with a Custom Made map. Feedback has already shown that people who already understood maps were keen to learn more about styling and how it can be matched to a theme or a brand.

In the map awards, Charley won best anti-map for his entry ‘London Galaxy’, and Christopher won best static map (digital display) for his map showing ‘Europeans from post-2001 European Union Accession Countries Residing in England and Wales which you can read more about here.

There is one award that was not presented, but which should go to FOSS4G – The most entertaining opening plenary, with their adaptation of We’re up all night to get mapping – http://vimeo.com/74922515

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