FOSS4G 2014

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Logo of the 2014 edition of FOS4G taking Place in Portland, OR, USA


About FOSS4G

The annual FOSS4G conference is the largest global gathering focused on open source geospatial software. FOSS4G brings together developers, users, decision-makers and observers from a broad spectrum of organizations and fields of operation. Through six days of workshops, presentations, discussions, and cooperation, FOSS4G participants create effective and relevant geospatial products, standards, and protocols.

FOSS4G has been held all over the world and draws attendees from over 40 countries. Nottingham, England hosted the conference in 2013. In 2014, Portland, Oregon, USA will host FOSS4G’s tenth year.

Open Source Geospatial Certification

Arnulf Christl gave an introduciton to the current state of affairs around certification of Open Source geospatial competencies.

Introduction / Abstract

The growing open source geospatial software market needs qualified professionals. In general IT qualification proof is often provided through a certification program, for example as offered by the Linux Professional Institute Certification (LPIC). The open source geospatial domain has no comparable programs.

This lack has been discussed for years in and around OSGeo which would be on of the more obvious contenders to provide such an independent certification. But certification is a decidedly difficult topic to tackle with many slippery slopes. Creating and then executing a certification program needs continuous engagement by paid staff which requires a regular stream of income. As it turns out OSGeo has (for now) decided to not employ staff but instead continues to rely on volunteer work, foster communities and stay independent of investors.

Some businesses offer training for Open Source geospatial software. This provides for a source of revenue and helps to professionalize the market. Some of the curricula are jointly developed and maintained by the software projects and the training providers. This is a good thing but as yet there is no independent third party committed to quality assurance.

The same situation can be found in the standards domain: The Open Geospatial Consortium has celebrated its 20th anniversary this year. It has implemented test suites for automated certification for software but as yet there is no certification program for individuals.

The metaspatial Institute was launched with the mission to close these gaps by offering a certification program. It is geared towards individuals who want to acquire an independently recognized confirmation of their skills and businesses who want to certify their staff for a growing number of software packages.

The metaspatial certification program is developed and maintained in close cooperation with Open Source software projects, academia, businesses and user communities. This presentation will discuss how the body of knowledge of participating software projects is developing and gives an overview of the current state of affairs.

Presentation and Dialog

Arnulf gave a short introduction and proposed several idea to be discussed in the plenary. See the full video to get an idea of what the state of affairs was in Septemebr 2014.

Open Source Geo Certification — Arnulf Christl from FOSS4G on Vimeo.