Story Source and Credit: 7/14/2015 American Geographical Society
The American Geographical Society (AGS) announced today the endorsement of the “Geo for All” Initiative, created through a partnership between International Cartographic Association (ICA) and the Open Source Geospatial Foundation (OSGeo). The “Geo for All” initiative was created to ensure that students from economically poor backgrounds worldwide will be able to get geospatial education (without the need for high cost proprietary GI software), by having access to having free and open GIS software. Since its founding in 2011, over 102 Open Source Geospatial Labs have already been established in universities around the world. By the end of 2015, “Geo for All” aims to have 50 Open Source Geospatial Labs established in universities in Africa alone, making GIS courses available to hundreds of students. “Geo for All” will also be starting work n the international “Train the Trainer” GIS program for school teachers in 2015.
“With this amazing momentum there are many opportunities being created and the ever increasing availability of spatial data is accompanied by increasing availability of open source geo software”
stated ICA President Georg Gartner. Since the “ICA-OSGeo Labs” have been founded, they have gained high numbers of followers, demonstrating the great interest and demand for evaluating and using Open Source Software in the area of Cartography, GIScience and Geospatial Information Management. “OSGeo believes that education plays a very important role in sharing spatial information, and the Geo For All initiative has quickly become a strong force for this sharing between educators and students all around the world,” added OSGeo President, Jeff McKenna.
Free and open-source software for geospatial applications have now made it possible for a large number of private, academic, and government agencies in both developed and developing countries to make use of geospatial software for applications in GIS, spatial database management, and remote sensing. This can contribute to planning in areas like environmental protection, transportation, urban poverty, town planning, waste management, rural development, public policy and administration, and education. By combining the potential of e-learning tools and open source geospatial software, the academic community can strengthen education in GIScience providing students with holistic education covering open source, open standards, and open data in geospatial technology. “Free and public access to geospatial tools is critical in enabling stakeholders in the world’s future, including the youth, to create solutions for the problems we are facing” stated AGS Councilor and Chairman of the AGS Endorsement Committee, Jared Novick. For more information on “Geo for All”, visit: www.geoforall.org .