February 2009

The editorial theme for the March issue of the OSBR is "Geospatial" and the role open source is playing in transforming this niche market into a mainstream market. The authors in this issue bring their many years of experience in both industry and open source to provide their observations, lessons learned, and to provide examples of open source geospatial implementations. Even if you don't use geospatial technologies, you'll still find many valuable insights in this issue of the OSBR.

As always, we encourage readers to share articles of interest with their colleagues, and to provide their comments either online or directly to the authors. We hope you enjoy this issue of the OSBR.

The editorial theme for the upcoming April issue of the OSBR is "Open APIs" and the guest editor will be Michael Weiss from Carleton University.

Dru Lavigne



The recent emergence of MapQuest, Google Earth, Garmin GPS, and many other modern geospatial products make it seem that mapping technologies are a relatively new component of today's information technologies. In fact, the mapping industry was one of the original adopters of technology when geographic information systems were first developed over 40 years ago. The fruits of this backroom technology, once the domain of highly trained specialists, is now being leveraged by hundreds of millions, if not billions, of consumers around the world.

Open source geospatial technologies have followed this same path from niche technology to mainstream component and are now critical to many of the applications that business and consumers use on a daily basis. Google Earth, for instance, incorporates a critical component of the open source geospatial stack to deliver satellite imagery to several hundred million installations around the planet. In the following articles, you will learn more about how these critical niche technologies have evolved from small grassroots activities to thriving technology projects under the umbrella of the Open Source Geospatial Foundation, and ultimately into key commercial components of industry.

Paul Ramsey, Senior Consultant with OpenGeo provides us with an overview of the state of open source geospatial technologies within the geospatial industry. Paul explores the strengths and weaknesses of today's open source geospatial stack and provides an indepth background into how these technologies have evolved to their current state.

Tyler Mitchell, Executive Director of OSGeo provides readers with an overview of the critical role OSGeo is now playing as an enabler of community and technology growth. Tyler discusses the many technical, business, and perception barriers that OSGeo is successfully lowering for broader adoption of open source geospatial technologies.

Mark Lucas, Principal Scientist, and Scott Bortman, Senior Software Engineer at Radiant Blue Technologies, provide us with an overview of OMAR as a collection of open source geospatial technologies that are experiencing broad adoption within the US Department of Defense.

Andrew Ross, Director of Engineering at Ingres Canada, reviews the process by which Ingres recognized the need for geospatial capabilities within the Ingres database. He also discusses collaboration with the OSGeo community to meet Ingres' technology needs while at the same time contributing back to the community.

Haris Kurtagic, General Manager of SL-King, and Geoff Zeiss, Director of Technology at Autodesk, discuss their experience in implementing RESTful services with geospatial technologies, and the important role standards are playing in the development of geospatial web services.

Noticeable among these articles is the diversity of perspectives and uses for which geospatial technologies are being adopted today. Interestingly, the geospatial industry is struggling to define itself as information technology begins to integrate geospatial capabilities into stacks of technologies, pushing the limits of the traditional geographic information systems (GIS) industry. OSGeo and the open source geospatial community are unique in that open source has become the defining aspect and strength of this community as it grows at rapid pace into a dominant force for the provision of geospatial technology within industry.

Dave McIlhagga

Guest Editor

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