Aug 3

Nat Torkington

Nat Torkington

OSGEO: Open Geodata

The always thought-provoking Jo Walsh spoke at OSCON about What the Open Source Geospatial Foundation Can Do For You. At a separate meeting before OSCON she also spoke on why an open source foundation finds itself in the battle for free data, and why it matters. She's put her notes online and they're fascinating reading.

It’s also becoming possible to work on geodata distribution, archiving and reuse in a much more pragmatic, standards-driven context - working with people who’ve had a hand in the industry standards process - and with people who are converging on simple standards for redistribution that aren’t really being thought about yet within proprietary software, but that open source software is running into a lot of needs for. [...]

Open source, open standards and open data are in this worldview a kind of triad, mutually reinforcing; without really planning it, an open-source-like development process is growing around peoples’ needs for data standards [...]

different groups producing open geodata are using a smorgasbord of licenses - many use Creative Commons - Attribution - Sharealike, though it’s arguably not really appropriate for geodata - for any work which one can excerpt pieces of without having a “missing whole”. The Open Knowledge Definition is an effort to cut through licensing discussions - in the same way as stipulating ‘OSI approved’ or ‘complies with Free Software Definition principles’ can establish commonality for data licenses. (Freedom Defined is another nascent open data definition effort.) One important element of an “OKD-compliant” data license is that it must guarantee the potential for commercial re-use of the data - “open” data that comes with a “noncommercial” caveat is not truly open…

The two new wings of the source/data/standards triad are becoming the new battleground for the freedoms of open source, and Jo's a wonderfully articulate and convincing speaker on these matters. If you ever get the chance to hear her speak, take it.

tags: open source  | comments: 1   | Sphere It

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Comments: 1

  Michael Bernstein [08.04.06 06:46 PM]

Hmm. OK, so now we've got Open Knowledge to add to the mix of Open Content, Open Data, and Open Services.

Licensing will be trickier than ever.

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