Open Source Geospatial Foundation Launched

7 Mar, 2006

Organization will strengthen collaborative development of open technologies for community-led GIS, mapping projects.

The open source geospatial community yesterday announced the formation of OSGeo (Open Source Geospatial Foundation), a not-for-profit organization whose mission is to support and promote the collaborative development of open geospatial technologies and data. The foundation was formed in February to provide financial, organizational and legal support to the open source geospatial community. According to the organization, it will also serve as an independent legal entity to which community members can contribute code, funding and other resources for public benefit.

Initial OSGeo projects are GeoTools, Mapbender, MapBuilder, MapGuide, MapServer, GDAL/OGR, GRASS and OSSIM. The foundation will not require OSGeo software projects to be licensed under any one particular open source license, but will require that all OSGeo software be released under an open source license approved by the OSI (Open Source Initiative).

The foundation's long-term goal is to encourage licenses that allow the different projects to work better together and enable code exchange among them. The foundation will implement contribution and intellectual property policies designed to avoid the inclusion of proprietary or patented code in OSGeo projects. According to the organization, foundation projects are focused on interoperability -- both with one another at the library level and with other proprietary and open source projects through the use of open standards.

The foundation also reports that it will pursue goals beyond software development, such as promoting more open access to government-produced spatial data, which is a major problem outside of North America.