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gvSIG Team: Free course about Geographic Information Systems applied to Municipality Management: List of topics and 1st module, ‘Differences between SIG and CAD’

Mon, 12/04/2017 - 20:13

We launch the first module of an ambitious free course to acquire the necessary training to apply Geographic Information Systems to the municipality management. This course is based on the use of the gvSIG Suite products, a catalog of open source software solutions for working with the ‘Geo’ component, consisting of desktop, mobile and web solutions. It is important to note that at the end of the course you can obtain an official certificate issued by the gvSIG Association.

We hope that the effort and time that we have devoted from the gvSIG Association to its elaboration is interesting for you, and we also ask you for help to spread it as much as possible. We are going to try to introduce the maximum number of people in the Geographic Information Systems together with open source software.

About the course

The course is based on video-tutorials and practical exercises with municipality data, with some and necessary theoretical introductions to some concepts. Once done we do not doubt that you will become experts in the management of Geographic Information Systems and your work in municipality management will be consequently optimized.

The course is destined for municipal technicians mainly, either architects, draughtsmen, surveyors, computer scientists, foresters, environmentalists, … because almost in any area of a municipality people work in one way or another with geolocated information. The really important thing is that despite being a very complete and advanced course, it starts from scratch … so it is not necessary any previous knowledge to do it.

The list of topics of the course is:

  • Introduction to GIS: Differences between GIS and CAD
  • Introduction to Reference Systems
  • Views, layers, symbology, labeling
  • Attribute tables (alphanumeric information)
  • Attribute tables (joining tables)
  • Introduction to Spatial Data Infrastructures
  • Loading web services from gvSIG Desktop (OGC services)
  • Loading web services from gvSIG Desktop (other services)
  • Add-ons manager
  • Editing: new layers, graphical and alphanumerical editing
  • Editing: derived geometries
  • Geocoding
  • Event layer
  • Hyperlink
  • How to convert cartography from CAD to GIS
  • Reprojection of vector layers
  • Geoprocessing
  • Layout
  • Image georeferencing
  • gvSIG 3D
  • gvSIG Online: Publishing of cartography
  • gvSIG Online: Editing, hyperlink, …
  • gvSIG Mobile: Taking data in the field

The first 2 video-tutorials are theoretical and from module 3 they become eminently practical. In each post (module) we will indicate the link to the cartography necessary to perform the different exercises.

To make the location of all the video-tutorials of the course easy they will be stored in a Playlist.

For any type of doubt or problem that you have, in addition, you can always use the gvSIG Users mailing list. In this post you can find more information on how to register and use the Mailing List:

There will be a final exercise for all those who complete the course and want to obtain an official user certificate in gvSIG. About the certification and final exercise we will give the information with the last modules of the course.

Frequent questions

– How to register?

It is not necessary to make any registration. It is enough to follow the different modules that we will publish in the gvSIG blog. Each post will include a video-tutorial. The first two videos are theoretical ones and from the third one they will include practical exercises.

– Is the whole course online?

Yes, the course is 100% online.

– Can I participate if I am from any country?

Of course, the course is open to anyone, regardless of the country.

– Where can I download the software?

During the course, gvSIG Desktop and gvSIG Mobile will be used.

From the third module, in which the practical part begins, instructions will be given to download and use the software and data necessary to perform the exercises.

– How often will the modules be published?

During December 2017 a module will be published per week (on Mondays). The last week of the year any module will be published. From 2018, two modules will be published per week, every Monday and Thursday until the end of the course.

– When does the course end?

At the indicated publishing rate, the course will end in March. Regardless of the end date, the course will be always available, so you can start and end the course -including the certification- freely and at any time.

– Do we have to deliver exercises/practices?

No, the exercises corresponding to each module can be done at your own pace and nothing should be delivered. At the end of the course, and only for those who want to apply for the Certificate, it will be when we will ask for the evaluation exercise.

– Can I receive alerts in my email about new published posts?

Yes, in the lower right part of the blog you will see a section titled “gvSIG blog on your mail”, where it says “Write your email address to subscribe to this blog, and receive notifications on new messages by mail.”

There you can register indicating your email and you will receive an email for each new published post (not only those of the course).

– What will have to be done to get the certificate and how much will it be?

The complete information will be given together with the last modules of the course. It will be necessary to carry out a specific and complete exercise that validates the knowledge acquired during the course, that will be evaluated by a tutor. The cost of the certification will be the minimum to cover the expenses related to the evaluation and certification and it will be € 30. In this way we hope that it is accessible to as many people as possible.

The certificate will be issued by the gvSIG Association and it will include all the information related to the training content acquired.

– Where can I make queries about the course or send problems that I have with the software?

You can do it through the users mailing list. It is a list of gvSIG users, not only students of the course, so it has a high volume of queries per day. Each registered person can ask questions and answer them, being a collaborative and community support.

You can sign up to the users mailing list from this link:

It is recommendable to read this post with the instructions for both registration to the mailing list (including how to configure the registration to avoid receiving all the messages from the list) and for reporting problems:

Module 1: Differences between GIS and CAD

In this first module we introduce the Geographic Information Systems, dedicating a part of it to identify the differences between GIS and CAD. There are many municipalities where technicians are working with CAD, but a few who have implemented a GIS … let’s see the advantages of taking this step.

Filed under: CAD, english, gvSIG Desktop, gvSIG Suite, training Tagged: CAD, city council, gis, municipality management

QGIS Blog: Documentation for QGIS 3.0 – call for contributions!

Mon, 12/04/2017 - 18:48

Dear QGIS users, enthusiasts and fine people out there. QGIS 3.0 is coming very soon….we are in a ‘soft freeze’ state at the moment while we wait for some critical last pieces of code to get finalised. Then we go into hard freeze and prepare to roll out our next major release. Those of you that have been playing with the ‘2.99’ builds will surely have noticed that QGIS 3.0 is going to feature a huge number of improvements and new features – both in the user interface and in the API and code internals.

But we have a BIG problem:
we need your help to document and describe all those fine new features!

Yes fine reader now is the time to break out of the ‘passive user of QGIS’ mould you might find yourself in and lend a hand. We have an issue tracker with an issue for each of the new features that has landed in QGIS 3.0. Even if you do not know how to use our Sphinx based documentation system, you can help tremendously by preparing the prose that should be used to describe new features and attaching it to the issue list linked to above. If you do that, the documentation team can do more editorial work and less  ‘writing from scratch’ work.

Writing documentation is a brilliant way to enhance your own knowledge of QGIS and learn the new features that are coming in the next release. For those starting out with documentation there are issue reports that are tagged “easy” to lower the barrier for beginners. If you are an existing documentation team member it would be great if you could review the list and check whether there are more issues that can be tagged as “easy”.

The issue list is automatically created whenever a developer commits a change to QGIS with the word ‘FEATURE’ in their change notes. In some cases the change may not be something that an end user will be able to see – so it will be great for volunteers to also review the automatically added issues and close off any that are not relevant for documentation.

Other features are quite complex and in some cases could benefit from interaction with the original developer to make sure that the nuances of the new features are properly described. We need documentation writers to follow these thread and present the new functionality in a clear and concise way.

There are some very helpful resources for people just getting started with QGIS documentation. You can read the documentation for contributors. You can also contact the team via the community mailing list for specific help if the contributor docs don’t provide the information you need.

If you want to see the QGIS Documentation up-to-date for the version 3.0 release, please do get involved and help Yves Jacolin and the documentation team!

Lastly if you are not able to directly contribute to the documentation, consider funding QGIS – we have a budget for documentation improvements.

We look forward to your support and contributions!


Tim Sutton (QGIS Project Chairman)





gvSIG Team: Jornada gvSIG en la Universidad Miguel Hernández de Elche, con entrega de premios de la Cátedra gvSIG (13/12/2017)

Mon, 12/04/2017 - 17:57

El próximo miércoles 13 de diciembre de 2017 tendrá lugar una jornada gvSIG en la Universidad Miguel Hernández (UMH) de Elche, englobada dentro del marco de la Cátedra gvSIG que organiza la misma Universidad.

La Cátedra gvSIG nació hace unos años con el objetivo de fomentar el uso de la geomática libre en el mundo universitario, y en esta jornada se hará entrega de los premios a los proyectos ganadores del concurso de este año 2017.

El programa de la jornada, que será totalmente gratuita, habrá una presentación sobre los distintos productos de la Suite gvSIG, y también se realizarán dos talleres, uno sobre introducción a gvSIG, en el que se mostrarán las funcionalidades básicas de la herramienta, y otro sobre geoestadística con gvSIG, en el que se verá cómo manejar datos estadísticos en la aplicación.

La inscripción deberá realizarse a través del formulario habilitado a tal efecto en la página web del evento.

Filed under: community, events, gvSIG Desktop, spanish, training

gvSIG Team: SIG aplicado a Gestión Municipal: Módulo 16.1 ‘gvSIG Online (Publicar cartografía, edición avanzada…)’

Mon, 12/04/2017 - 16:13

Ya está disponible el primer vídeo del módulo 16 del curso de SIG para Gestión Municipal, donde veremos cómo trabajar con gvSIG Online.

gvSIG Online es una solución integral en software libre para la gestión de la información espacial de una organización siguiendo el paradigma de las Infraestructuras de Datos Espaciales (IDE).

Con gvSIG Online un ayuntamiento puede organizar de la forma más eficiente su información geográfica y disponer de una potente herramienta, tanto para generar de forma muy sencilla visores de mapas o geoportales como para administrar la base de datos espacial de la entidad, apostando además por tecnologías libres que garanticen su independencia tecnológica (además de un considerable ahorro de costes de implantación).

Una IDE permitirá tener organizada toda la información geográfica, facilitará su localización y acceso en tiempo real, evitará la duplicidad de información, solucionará el problema de acceder a la información actualizada y permitirá la interoperabilidad con información geográfica tanto interna como de otras organizaciones.

De forma general, los usuarios de gvSIG Online dispondrán de aplicaciones web o aplicaciones móviles (opcionalmente también de escritorio) para acceder e interactuar con la información geográfica de la organización, haciendo uso capas de servicios estándar como pueden ser el servicio de mapas (WMS) y mapas teselados (WMTS), el servicio de objetos geográficos (WFS) y objetos geográficos transaccional (WFS-T) y el servicio de geoprocesamiento (WPS). Finalmente, toda la información se centralizará en una base de datos espacial.

En este módulo no podréis realizar directamente el ejercicio, ya que es necesaria una implementación de la plataforma, pero sí que podréis ver todo lo que se puede realizar con gvSIG Online.

Si estáis interesados en implementar gvSIG Online en vuestro ayuntamiento, o en cualquier otra organización, podéis escribirnos directamente a, donde os informaremos sobre ello.

El vídeo de este módulo es el siguiente:

Post relacionados:

Filed under: geoportal, gvSIG Desktop, gvSIG Online, gvSIG Suite, IDE, spanish, training Tagged: ayuntamientos, geoportal, gestión municipal, gvSIG Online, IDE, Visor

From GIS to Remote Sensing: Developing the SCP 6: Clustering with K-means and ISODATA algorithms

Mon, 12/04/2017 - 11:11
I am continuing to update the Semi-Automatic Classification Plugin (SCP) to version 6 (codename Greenbelt).
In the previous posts I have presented the main changes to the SCP dock, the Main interface, the new interface for downloading free products such as Landsat, Sentinel-2, ASTER, MODIS, Sentinel-3, and the new tools for cloud masking and band set mosaic.

Several users in the Facebook group and the Google+ Community asked for the ability to perform unsupervised classification with SCP. In SCP 6 I have added a new tool which allows for the clustering using K-means or ISODATA algorithms.

Clustering tab

Marco Bernasocchi: Interlis translation

Fri, 12/01/2017 - 08:18
Lately, I have been confronted with the need of translating Interlis files (from French to German) to use queries originally developed for German data. I decided to create an automated convertor for Interlis (version 1) Transfer Format files (.ITF) based… See more ›

gvSIG Team: SIG aplicado a Gestión Municipal: Módulo 15 ‘gvSIG 3D’

Thu, 11/30/2017 - 09:28

Ya está disponible el módulo nº 15 del curso de SIG para Gestión Municipal, donde veremos las principales funcionalidades de la parte 3D de gvSIG, basadas en la aplicación WorldWind de la NASA.

En este módulo aprenderemos a crear una Vista 3D a partir de una Vista 2D. Las vistas que podemos crear son vistas planas, cuando trabajamos en zonas más locales, y las vistas esféricas, cuando queremos verlas con la forma del globo terráqueo.

En las Vistas 3D podremos visualizar los modelos digitales de terreno, a los que podemos superponer cualquier otra capa, como por ejemplo una ortofoto.

Por otro lado, si disponemos de una capa vectorial de edificios, con un campo en el que tenemos el número de pisos o la altura del edificio, podemos crear extrusión, de forma que vemos los polígonos en vertical como si fuese el propio edificio, y nos sirve para visualizar de una forma fácil la estructura de la población.

Finalmente, otra funcionalidad disponible en la parte 3D es la de crear animaciones. Esto se realiza mediante capturas de pantalla en ciertos encuadres, y después se crea un vídeo, interpolando automáticamente entre los diferentes encuadres. Esto nos puede ir bien para una presentación, cuando queremos mostrar las diferentes zonas de nuestra población pero con más detalle.

La cartografía a utilizar en este vídeo la podéis descargar desde el siguiente enlace.

El vídeo de este módulo es el siguiente:

Post relacionados:

Filed under: gvSIG Desktop

deegree: test-nov-17

Thu, 11/30/2017 - 08:22


deegree: test-2

Thu, 11/30/2017 - 08:18


Jo Cook: Portable GIS accepted as OSGeo Community Project

Wed, 11/29/2017 - 10:22
I’m delighted to announce that Portable GIS has been accepted as an official OSGeo Community Project! From a technical perspective, this is the culmination of several months work behind the scenes getting the proper code repository set up here, creating the website, improving the documentation, and formalising the open source license. As a colleague said recently, Portable GIS has moved from being (effectively) freeware, to proper open source. So, there are now official guidelines on how to contribute to Portable GIS development, and on the license terms under which you can use and contribute.

gvSIG Team: A tenor de las ciudades sostenibles, una reflexión desde #ConamaLocalVLC

Tue, 11/28/2017 - 15:48

Estos días se celebra en Valencia un evento organizado por CONAMA y cuyo objetivo es ser un foro de debate y de trabajo entre profesionales y administraciones locales. Unas jornadas que están siendo muy enriquecedoras, quizá en gran parte al compromiso que a priori tienen todos los asistentes por hacer más sostenibles nuestras ciudades.

Cuando se habla de sostenibilidad se hace referencia constante a los temas centrales de las jornadas: cambio climático, desarrollo sostenible, transformación de valores, buenas prácticas y modelos innovadores, colaboración entre sectores, instituciones y sociedad, nueva economía y, también, sinergias con la tecnología. Se habla de garantizar una transición justa que permita que los cambios que se activen sean una oportunidad para todos y no sólo para unos pocos o donde haya sectores que salgan perjudicados.

De lo general vayamos a lo particular. En el taller denominado ‘City Makers’ se definieron 8 temas principales. Entre ellos estuvo la ‘Soberanía Tecnológica’.

Interesante el papel de la tecnología en un evento de medio ambiente. Siglo XXI. Empezamos a estar concienciados de su importancia.

Parece una obviedad, pero repitamos que no habrá ciudades sostenibles si la sostenibilidad no se aplica a la tecnología, que no habrá colaboración si no se apuesta por el único tipo de software que lo permite, que esa nueva economía o nuevo modelo productivo…nunca llegará al sector tecnológico si las ciudades no hacen una clara apuesta por el software libre. Siglo XXI. No minimicemos su importancia capital.

En estos días casi no hay presentación en la que no hayan Sistemas de Información Geográfica detrás, se ven mapas y más mapas representando y analizando la información municipal en ese camino hacia la sostenibilidad. La gestión de la información geográfica se ha normalizado. Tenemos software libre para ello, y son cada vez más municipios los que trabajan con la Suite gvSIG con soluciones de escritorio, móviles y web (geoportales, Infraestructuras de Datos Espaciales).

Hay que invertir en sostenibilidad, también tecnológica.

Ciudades sostenibles serán aquellas que también sean ciudades soberanas tecnológicamente, o dicho de otro modo, tecnológicamente sostenibles.

Filed under: gvSIG Suite, opinion, spanish Tagged: cambio climático, ciudades sostenibles, CONAMA

Paul Ramsey: Nested Loop Join with FDW

Mon, 11/27/2017 - 17:00

I have been wondering for a while if Postgres would correctly plan a spatial join over FDW, in which one table was local and one was remote. The specific use case would be “keeping a large pile of data on one side of the link, and joining to it”.

Because spatial joins always plan out to a “nested loop” execution, where one table is chosen to drive the loop, and the other to be filtered on the rows from the driver, there’s nothing to prevent the kind of remote execution I was looking for.

I set up my favourite spatial join test: BC voting areas against BC electoral districts, with local and remote versions of both tables.

CREATE EXTENSION postgres_fdw; -- Loopback foreign server connects back to -- this same database CREATE SERVER test FOREIGN DATA WRAPPER postgres_fdw OPTIONS ( host '', dbname 'test', extensions 'postgis' ); CREATE USER MAPPING FOR pramsey SERVER test OPTIONS (user 'pramsey', password ''); -- Foreign versions of the local tables CREATE FOREIGN TABLE ed_2013_fdw ( gid integer, edname text, edabbr text, geom geometry(MultiPolygon,4326) ) SERVER test OPTIONS ( table_name 'ed_2013', use_remote_estimate 'true'); CREATE FOREIGN TABLE va_2013_fdw ( gid integer OPTIONS (column_name 'gid'), id text OPTIONS (column_name 'id'), vaabbr text OPTIONS (column_name 'vaabbr'), edabbr text OPTIONS (column_name 'edabbr'), geom geometry(MultiPolygon,4326) OPTIONS (column_name 'geom') ) SERVER test OPTIONS ( table_name 'va_2013', use_remote_estimate 'true');

The key option here is use_remote_estimate set to true. This tells postgres_fdw to query the remote server for an estimate of the remote table selectivity, which is then fed into the planner. Without use_remote_estimate, PostgreSQL will generate a terrible plan that pulls the contents of the `va_2013_fdw table local before joining.

With use_remote_estimate in place, the plan is just right:

SELECT count(*), e.edabbr FROM ed_2013 e JOIN va_2013_fdw v ON ST_Intersects(e.geom, v.geom) WHERE e.edabbr in ('VTB', 'VTS') GROUP BY e.edabbr; GroupAggregate (cost=241.14..241.21 rows=2 width=12) Output: count(*), e.edabbr Group Key: e.edabbr -> Sort (cost=241.14..241.16 rows=6 width=4) Output: e.edabbr Sort Key: e.edabbr -> Nested Loop (cost=100.17..241.06 rows=6 width=4) Output: e.edabbr -> Seq Scan on public.ed_2013 e (cost=0.00..22.06 rows=2 width=158496) Output: e.gid, e.edname, e.edabbr, e.geom Filter: ((e.edabbr)::text = ANY ('{VTB,VTS}'::text[])) -> Foreign Scan on public.va_2013_fdw v (cost=100.17..109.49 rows=1 width=4236) Output: v.gid,, v.vaabbr, v.edabbr, v.geom Remote SQL: SELECT geom FROM public.va_2013 WHERE (($1::public.geometry(MultiPolygon,4326) OPERATOR(public.&&) geom)) AND (public._st_intersects($1::public.geometry(MultiPolygon,4326), geom))

For FDW drivers other than postgres_fdw this means there’s a benefit to going to the trouble to support the FDW estimation callbacks, though the lack of exposed estimation functions in a lot of back-ends may mean the support will be ugly hacks and hard-coded nonsense. PostgreSQL is pretty unique in exposing fine-grained information about table statistics.

gvSIG Team: SIG aplicado a Gestión Municipal: Módulo 14 ‘Georreferenciación de imágenes’

Mon, 11/27/2017 - 09:34

Ya está disponible el módulo nº 14 del curso de SIG para Gestión Municipal, donde veremos cómo georreferenciar una imagen.

En ocasiones se puede disponer en un ayuntamiento de una imagen que no esté georrefenciada. También se puede tener un plano antiguo en papel, cuyos datos necesitamos para poder, por ejemplo, realizar algún análisis sobre nuestra aplicación de escritorio, como puede ser delimitar con detalle el término municipal. Ese plano en papel se podría escanear de forma que tendríamos una imagen en nuestro disco duro.

Dichas imágenes no tienen coordenadas, por lo que si las insertásemos en una Vista estarían en las coordenadas ‘0,0’, y no se superpondrían con nuestra cartografía georreferenciada.

Para georreferenciar dicha imagen necesitaremos cartografía de referencia que esté georreferenciada, de forma que indiquemos los puntos de apoyo en dicha cartografía, y su correspondiente en la imagen a georreferenciar. También se podría realizar si tenemos una tabla de coordenadas de los puntos de apoyo georreferenciados.

La cartografía a utilizar en este vídeo la podéis descargar desde el siguiente enlace.

El vídeo de este módulo es el siguiente:

Post relacionados:

Filed under: gvSIG Desktop, spanish, training Tagged: ayuntamientos, georreferenciación, gestión municipal, imágenes

Cameron Shorter: Tackling the Open Source dilemma

Sat, 11/25/2017 - 23:55

Here is the dilemma that you and your boss are faced with when considering Open Source:
Looked at through the lens of traditional management, Open Source collaboration is time consuming, imprecise, unreliable, hard to manage, rarely addresses short term objectives, and hard to quantify in a business case.And yet, in a digital economy, collaborative communities regularly out-innovate and out-compete closed or centrally controlled initiatives.So how do we justify following a more effective, sustainable, open and equitable strategy?  That is what we will be discussing today.

This is what we will be covering today:

  • The digital economy,
  • Complexity,
  • Trust,
  • Innovation and Obsolescence,
  • and what leads to Success or Failure.

The first thing to recognise is that the Digital Economy has fundamentally changed the rules of business. Ignore this at your own peril.
Zero Duplication Costs and the Connectivity of the Internet has led to Wicked Complexity, Rapid Innovation, and on the flip side, Rapid Obsolescence.

Let’s start by talking about Complexity.
Software systems have become huge, interdependent and complex.
It is no longer possible for one person to understand all of a system’s intricacies.
So decision makers need to assume, deduce and trust information provided by others.
It means that sourcing trustworthy advice has become a key criteria for success in the digital economy.
So what how do we assess trustworthiness?

It turns out we all make use of a variant of this trustworthiness equation.

  • We trust people who are credible and who have have track record of providing reliable advice in the past.
  • We trust people who are open and transparent.
  • We trust ourselves, our family, our friends, because they look out for us, and we look out for them.
  • We are suspicious of people who stand to gain from advice they give us.

We also trust processes.

  • We trust that the democratic process leads to fair governance and management of resources.
  • We trust that the scientific method leads to reliable research that we should act upon. I believe that climate change is happening and that we need to do something about it, despite the weather seeming pretty similar to me over the last 40 years.
  • We trust that the “survival of the fittest” competition of market economies leads to better products.

But we also know that all processes can be gamed.
And the more complex a system, the easier it is to bamboozle people and game the system.

Part of the reason Open Source has been so successful is that it’s characteristics lead to trustworthiness.
These characteristics include:

  • Freedom,
  • Altruism,
  • Openness,
  • Meritocracy,
  • and Do-ocracy.

Let’s break these down one by one.

Open source, by definition, provides the receivers of the software with the four freedoms:

  1. Freedom to use the software unencumbered; 
  2. Freedom to study the source code and find out how it works; 
  3. Freedom to modify, retask, and improve the code;
  4. Freedom to copy and share with others.

Providing such a valuable gift, which provides significantly more value to the receiver than to the giver, increases the trustworthiness of the giver.

Additionally, openness and transparency is almost universally applied to all Open Source development practices and communication.

  • Conversations are public; Everyone has the opportunity to join and contribute; 
  • Decisions are made openly; 
  • Issues and limitations are published and shared.

Being transparent and open to public critique reduces the potential for hidden agendas and creates trustworthiness.

In a meritocracy, the best ideas win, no matter who suggests them. It is the sign of an egalitarian community rather than a hierarchical or dysfunctional one.

With a do-ochracy the person motivated to do the work decides what gets done. In complex systems, the person closest to the problem will usually be best qualified to make the technical decisions.

A key strategy for managing complexity is to divide large systems into modular subsystems.
Using modular architectures, connected by open standards:

  • Reduces system complexity,
  • Enables interoperability,
  • Which reduces technical risk,
  • And facilitates sustained innovation.

It means you can improve one module, without impacting the rest of your system. This helps with maintenance, innovation, and keeping up with latest technologies.

Collaboration is a key focus of both Open Source and Open Standards narratives. Hence, successful Open Source applications usually provide exemplary support for standards.

By comparison, from the perspective of dominant proprietary companies, it makes business sense to apply vendor lock-in tactics, making cross-vendor integration difficult. Adoption of Open Standards threatens vendor lock-in tactics, and consequently dominant vendors are often reluctant and half-hearted in their support of Open Standards.

In the digital economy there are two dominant business models which work well.

  • You solve a generic problem by supplying an awesome "category killer" application which you distribute to the world; 
  • Or you provide personalised, specialised or localised services, typically using category killer applications.

There is a natural symbiotic relationship between the two.
If you are solving a generic problem, by yourself, you will be out-innovated!
There are simply more developers in the rest of the world than you can ever muster within your team.

Because software is so time consuming to create and so easy to copy, it is excessively prone to monopolies.
This holds true for both proprietary and open source products. A product that becomes a little better than its competitors will attracts users, developers and sponsors, which in turn allows that product to grow and improve quickly, allowing it to attract more users.
This highly sensitive, positive feedback leads to successful software projects becoming “category killers”.

This means that most of the software you own will be out-innovated within a year or two.
Your software is not an asset, it is a liability needing to be updated, maintained, and integrated with other systems. It is technical debt, and you should try to own as little of it as possible.The question is: should you select Proprietary or Open Source as the alternative?
Openness democratises wealth and power, which is a good thing for all of us, even those with wealth and power.Open Source and Proprietary business models differ in how their realised value is shared.Open source licenses are structured such that multiple companies can use and support the same open source product, so the market self corrects any tendencies toward price-fixing.Effectively, Open Licenses democratise information.It enables everyone to share in the value created by technology.As software markets mature, and components become generic commodity items, the collaborative practices of Open Source moves to becoming the most effective means for creating and managing functionality.Collaboration trumps Competition for commodity items! By comparison, the ruthless competition between proprietary companies results in “winner takes all” scenarios. Many of the richest people in the world are self made software entrepreneurs.
Jeff Beloz who started Amazon has recently been ranked as the richest man in the world, stealing the spot from Bill Gates who started Microsoft. Mark Zuckerberg who started Facebook comes in at number 5. Jack Dangermond from ESRI is down at #603, with a mere $3.2 billion dollars to his name.

Lets explain this another way, following the money trail. Proprietary business model favours multi-nationals who establish themselves in big markets such as in the US or Europe.
From our Australian software spend, a small commission is provided to the local sales guy and systems integrator, and the rest is funnelled into the multinational who often farms development into cheap development centres.

Open Source on the other hand favours local business. The software is free, so the majority of money spent is on support and integration type services, which is typically applied locally, keeping money and expertise local.

Let’s look into the characteristics which make projects successful or not.
Open Source projects are highly susceptible to being Loved to Death. This happens when a project attracts an engaging user base without attracting matching contributions. Volunteer become overwhelmed leaving insufficient capacity to cover essential business-as-usual tasks.Don’t to overload the community you depend upon. It is both bad karma and bad business.Successful projects have worked out how to either:
  • Politely say NO to “gifts” of unsupported extra code and excessive requests for help;
  • Or how to help uses become contributors, either in kind, or financially.
If your organisation isn’t ready to act as a good community citizen, actively caring about the community’s long term sustainability, then you will probably have a disappointing Open Source experience. You will make self-centred, short term decisions, and you won’t get the support you need when you most need it. You will likely be better off with proprietary software. (And the community would be better off without you.)The success criteria for Open Source projects was researched by Professor Charles Schweik who studied thousands of projects. As you can see from this graph, most projects are abandoned. Of the remainder, most projects don’t attract more than one or two staff, and very few attract a large community.Viewed another way, you can see that:
  • 4/5 projects are abandoned.
  • 1 in 7 remain with just 1 or 2 developers.
  • Only 1 in 100 manage to attract 10 core contributors.
(Source data)On this graph we’ve drawn in the success rate for projects, and you can see that as you attract developers, your chance of long term success increases dramatically.This is showing ruthless Darwinian evolution at work. Only projects of exceptional quality attract sustained growth and large communities. They fit in the “magic unicorn” category.So how do you find these magic unicorn projects?Charlie’s team distilled further insights from their research. They found that successful projects typically possess:
  • A clearly defined vision;
  • Clear utility;
  • And leaders who lead by doing.
Then projects which manage to attract a medium to large team tend to:
  • Provide fine scaled task granularity, making it easier for people to contribute;
  • And often have attracted financial backing.
To get insights into project health, you can look at Open Hub metrics.  This slide is from the OSGeo-Live project and shows the status of leading Desktop GIS applications.And for QGIS you can see that it has a very healthy community with over 100 active contributors. Another strong indicator of a project’s success is whether it has completed an Open Source Foundation’s incubation process.The Open Source Geospatial Foundation’s incubation process covers:
  • Quality
  • Openness
  • Community Health
  • Maturity
  • Sustainability
Bringing this all together into a concise elevator pitch for your boss:
  • The Digital Economy leads to High Complexity, Rapid Innovation and Rapid Obsolescence. Get with the program, or become obsolete.
  • Increased complexity requires us to trust more. So increase the value you place on trustworthiness, openness and transparency. 
  • Software is technical debt. It needs significant maintenance to remain current. Own as little of it as possible.
  • Collaboration and openness fast tracks innovation.
  • For the long term play, Collaboration trumps Competition. If you are solving a generic problem, by yourself, you will be out innovated! Value, recognise, select and apply collaborative practices.
  • Don’t be naive, most Open Source projects fail. Learn how to pick winners.
  • Openness and Collaboration leads to the democratisation of wealth and power. Learn how to be part of the community - it makes good business sense.

  • Questions and comments are welcomed.
  • Slide deck is available online.
  • An earlier version of these slides was presented at QGIS Conference in Sydney, Australia, November 2017.
  • The text behind these slides, by Cameron Shorter, is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
  • For those of you who already know me, I should point out that I’ve changed jobs. I now have a new enigmatic title of “Technology Demystifier” in the Information Experience team at Learnosity. And while it’s a shift away from my Open Source Geospatial roots, I plan to continue to be actively involved in Open Source.

Free and Open Source GIS Ramblings: Intro to QGIS3 3D view with Viennese building data

Sat, 11/25/2017 - 13:56

In this post, I want to show how to visualize building block data published by the city of Vienna in 3D using QGIS. This data is interesting due to its level of detail. For example, here you can see the Albertina landmark in the center of Vienna:

an this is the corresponding 3D visualization, including flying roof:

Viennese data ( is provided as Shapefiles. (Saber Razmjooei recently published a similar post using data from New York City in ESRI Multipatch format.) The datasets contain the following relevant attributes for 3D visualization

  • O_KOTE: absolute building height measured to the roof gutter(?) (“absolute Gebäudehöhe der Dachtraufe”)
  • U_KOTE: absolute height of the lower edge of the building block if floating above ground (“absolute Überbauungshöhe unten”)
  • HOEHE_DGM: absolute height of the terrain (“absolute Geländehöhe”)
  • T_KOTE: lowest point of the terrain for the given building block (“tiefster Punkt des Geländes auf den Kanten der Gebäudeteilfläche”)
  • DIFF_O_U: difference between O_KOTE and U_KOTE

To style the 3D view in QGIS 3, I set height to “U_KOTE” and extrusion to “DIFF_O_U”, both with a default value of 0 which is used if the field is NULL:

The altitude clamping setting defines how height values are interpreted. Absolute clamping is perfect for the Viennese data since all height values are provided as absolute measures from 0. Other options are “relative” and “terrain” which add given elevation values to the underlying terrain elevation. According to the source of qgs3dutils:

AltClampAbsolute, //!< Z_final = z_geometry AltClampRelative, //!< Z_final = z_terrain + z_geometry AltClampTerrain, //!< Z_final = z_terrain

The gray colored polygon style shown in the map view on the top creates the illusion of shadows in the 3D view:


Beyond that, this example also features elevation model data which can be configured in the 3D View panel. I found it helpful to increase the terrain tile resolution (for example to 256 px) in order to get more detailed terrain renderings:

Overall, the results look pretty good. There are just a few small glitches in the rendering, as well as in the data. For example, the kiosik in front of Albertina which you can also see in the StreetView image, is lacking height information and therefore we can only see it’s “shadow” in the 3D rendering.

So far, I found 3D rendering performance very good. It works great on my PC with Nvidia graphics card. On my notebook with Intel Iris graphics, I’m unfortunately still experiencing crashes which I hope will be resolved in the future.

gvSIG Team: Días universitarios de gvSIG en 2018

Fri, 11/24/2017 - 11:39

Empezamos este año 2017 celebrando eventos de un día en diversas universidades. En 2018 queremos extender esta práctica y dar a conocer gvSIG cada vez más en el mundo académico.

Este tipo de jornadas consisten en una serie de actividades a celebrar en 1 día (o medio día, según el caso). Ponencias introductorias a la suite gvSIG y exposición de casos de uso que puedan interesar a la audiencia, complementados con talleres para usuarios y desarrolladores, tanto de uso general como aplicados a distintas temáticas (geoestadística, urbanismo, criminología,…). En algunos casos el público asistente ha sido meramente universitario y en otros se ha abierto la opción de asistencia de público en general. Las opciones son muchas y se adaptan a cada uno de estos ‘Días universitarios gvSIG’.

Ya tenemos confirmadas algunas universidades que nos han comunicado que quieren su día gvSIG en 2018 (por supuesto iremos publicitando estos eventos para darlos a conocer al máximo posible).

Si te gustaría que tu universidad tuviera su día gvSIG…ponte en contacto con nosotros:

Filed under: spanish Tagged: universidades

GIScussions: Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde consider a new Geospatial Commission

Thu, 11/23/2017 - 23:34

Dr Jekyll & Mr Hyde 1931 via Wikimedia

It’s November, it’s budget time, it’s that moment when geo-geeks and OpenData enthusiasts scour the hundreds of pages of budget pronouncements searching for phrases like “Ordnance Survey”, “Land Registry” and “Open Data”. It’s amazing how often we have got a mention in the budget or spending review publications over the past decade, you’d think that with all of the challenges that the country has faced since the crash of 2008 that the Chancellor would have more important things on his mind than geospatial data (don’t get me started on my list of omissions from the budget).

Yesterday, the Chancellor gave his “make or break” budget speech and within minutes of the budget report being published twitter was humming with discussion about geospatial open data, to be honest humming might be a bit of an exaggeration but  quite a few geo-geeks were onto this announcement:

“4.14 Geospatial data – The UK has some of the best geospatial data in the world, and much of it is held by public bodies. The potential economic value of this data is huge. To maximise the growth of the digital economy and consolidate the UK’s position as the best place to start and grow a digital business, the government will establish a new Geospatial Commission to provide strategic oversight to the various public bodies who hold this data. To further boost the digital economy, the government will work with the Ordnance Survey (OS) and the new Commission, by May 2018, to establish how to open up freely the OS MasterMap data to UK-based small businesses in particular, under an Open Government Licence or through an alternative mechanism, while maintaining the OS’s strategic strengths. The Budget provides £40 million a year over the next two years to support this work.”

Wow, the buzz words are rushing at you at 100mph! I’ve highlighted a few in red above. Well this is fantastic news, or is it? I find myself with very mixed views on this announcement (as usual with budget announcements there is very little detail so we are left to guess what is actually intended) hence the Jekyll and Hyde analogy – this could be great but on the other hand …

Some Mr Hyde-ish pedantry

9 years after the Free Our Data campaign successfully made the case for OpenData leading to Gordon Brown’s Damascene moment when he met Sir Tim Berners-Lee we are about to be able to access MasterMap as OpenData (or are we? more on that in a minute). So what’s not to like about opening up MasterMap? If that is the outcome, and MasterMap becomes some form of OpenData (inevitably there will be conditions that will preclude certain usage and activities) then that has to be a good step forward. However, the devil is in the detail and when I read that budget statement I cannot avoid reading between the lines and wondering what they really mean or whether anyone in government really understands what they are buying into. Call me a pedant if you wish.

“the best geospatial data in the world”

A little bit of exaggeration or evidence of the persuasive powers of OS marketing and the influence of their leadership? I think it is fair to claim that we have some of the most detailed and up to date large scale mapping compared to any other country but does that make it the “best in the world”? For many, data that provides global coverage may be more useful/desirable than highly detailed data for one country (of course the two are not mutually exclusive).

“maximise the growth of the digital economy and consolidate the UK’s position as the best place to start and grow a digital business”

I’d suggest that for many, if not most, digital businesses success is dependent on being able to scale globally, a dependence on a highly detailed geospatial dataset that cannot be replicated across multiple geographies may be a hindrance rather than an advantage. I know of at least one ‘hot’ startup that started out thinking it would use MasterMap as a key data resource in its service and has now reconsidered as it prioritised geographic expansion over greater detail.

Call me an obsessive Remainer if you wish, but I reckon that access to talented staff from across Europe and further afield will be a bigger factor in making the UK the best place to start and grow a digital business than access to our national map data.

“The potential economic value of this data is huge”

Gosh we have heard this one so many times in the past but somehow it always remains “potential”. The evidence base remains limited (see this from 5 years ago and this from earlier this year), the same few companies in transport and health are repeatedly cited as case studies although they don’t seem to be generating much growth in revenues or employment let alone profits that can be shared with wider society through taxes. A year or so after the first release of OS OpenData in 2010, the OS commissioned a study of the benefits, that study was never published, since then there has been an NAO report and a study by the ODI.

Maybe the evidence does exist but it just needs publishing, maybe there is reason to believe that it will exist in the future and we just need to understand the assumptions and modelling but surely after nearly 8 years it is time to move on from an act of faith in the economic benefits of Open Data to stimulate innovation.

Of course there are other immensley important benefits arising from Open Data e.g. transparency, accountability and societal well being which may be more important than the financial benefits. But we are being told that government are about to invest £80m over 2 years “to support this work” that amount of money represents a 10% increase to the funding of 150 primary schools or … I think it is reasonable to expect some transparency from government on the basis that it is choosing to invest taxpayers money in geospatial data in preference to education, health, care or welfare budgets.

“establish how to open up freely the OS MasterMap data to UK-based small businesses in particular”

Well this will be fun, I guess a group of consultants and OS management could spend a fair chunk of that £40m working out how to define a small business, how to restrict the benefit to UK based companies, what to do when a small business grows, what to do when a small UK business gets acquired by an larger non UK business, how to prevent a non UK business setting up a UK subsidiary to gain access to the “hugely valuable” “best geospatial data in the world”.

The phrase “under an Open Government Licence or through an alternative mechanism” suggests that this may not be fully Open Data and that there will be constraints on what users can do with the data which will prompt a not unjustified howl from Open Data purists who aspire that data should be free to use, re-use and combine with other data. Maybe, but I doubt that would be sustainable while larger users are expected to pay millions for annual licenses for MasterMap.

Over to Dr Jekyll

Enough of my Mr Hyde-ish doubts, let’s pause to look at some of the early comment on the announcement, perhaps others have a better informed and more positive outlook.

A good place to start would be the former CTO of the OS, my friend Ed Parsons (now Geospatial Technologist at Google)

This creation of the geospatial commission in the budget can only be the beginning of a major realignment of Geo in UK government… Not the easiest timing for implementing however but Good News without question.

— Ed Parsons (@edparsons) November 22, 2017

Charles Arthur the founder of of the Guardian’s Free Our Data campaign and a long term advocate of Open Data celebrated with

Back in 2006, we at Guardian Technology launched the #FreeOurData campaign. Getting OS data available for free was a lynchpin. And this takes it further.
This is what it looks like when you have an idea that’s unstoppable.

— Charles Arthur (@charlesarthur) November 23, 2017

The open data agenda gets new impetus in this Budget with this excellent announcement on opening up Geospatial Data #fitforthefuture

— Matt Hancock (@MattHancock) November 22, 2017

Michael Cross, the other founder of Free Our Data wrote

So, a Geospatial Commission. Is this the cadastral agency hinted at in the Tory manifesto, massively watered down? Thoughts, please. #Budget2017 #OpenData

— Michael Cross (@michaelcross) November 22, 2017

While Ed Dowding said

Amazing to think that if we'd all listened to @edparsons a dozen years ago @OrdnanceSurvey could be what people use instead of google maps, and civic and public sector innovation in the UK would have had an extra decade to build amazingly detailed services.

— Ed Dowding (@eddowding) November 22, 2017

And finally this from Civil Service World

Government claims better use of location data produced by public bodies could grow the economy by £11bn a year – and has created the new Geospatial Commission to do this #Budget2017

— Civil Service World (@CSWnews) November 23, 2017

Inevitably addresses had to spoil the party a little bit, Bob Barr, who has advocated an open address register for more than a decade, poured some cold water on the jubiliation

Royal Mail’s PAF ownership MUST NOT be allowed to undermine the intention of the Geospatial Commission. One of disgraced Michael Fallon’s worst decisions.

— Robert Barr (@DrBobBarr) November 23, 2017

The Big 40

By this stage you may think that I should pay more attention to Dr Jekyll, if all these people think that the announcement is good news why am I still hesitant? I’m baffled by the talk of £80m over 2 years, that’s an enormous amount of money and based on any reading of OS accounts significantly more than the value of MasterMap sales to small businesses. So what is the rest of the money for?

My skepticism is fuelled by the knowledge that when OS negotiated £20m p.a. for the initial OpenData release they bundled in a number of products whose sales were relatively minor and in several cases were in decline. It is highly debatable that government got a good deal and the lack of evidence of usage only adds to that doubt. Rumour has it that the £20m was substantially reduced during a subsequent review.

Perhaps there is a big demand for MasterMap that will be satisfied by some form of OGL availability, I hope there is more evidence for the demand than there has been for the initial data releases from the OS. In the recent OS Annual Report and Accounts they report an average of 290 downloads per day (some products are chunked so that you need to download several chunks to get national cover). The risk for government is that smaller commercial users of MasterMap will be delighted with the price reduction or elimination that they receive but that the latest colossal estimate of £11bn of benefit will not be realised, but hey when you can throw out numbers like £11bn a cost £40m sounds like a tiny price to pay.

The Geospatial Commission

“Get thee gone Mr Hyde!” I say.

Maybe there is more to this new Geospatial Commission than just funding OS to make MasterMap open/free to small businesses for 2 years. The clue might be buried in the announcement “a new Geospatial Commission to provide strategic oversight to the various public bodies who hold this data” and a bit more info came out with this press release from the Cabinet Office and the Treasury 

“The new Geospatial Commission, supported by £40 million of new funding in each of the next two years, will drive the move to use this data more productively – unlocking up to £11 billion of extra value for the economy every year.

The new Commission will draw together HM Land Registry, the Ordnance Survey, the British Geological Survey, the Valuation Office Agency, the UK Hydrographic Office and the Coal Authority with a view to:

  • improving the access to, links between, and quality of their data
  • looking at making more geospatial data available for free and without restriction
  • setting regulation and policy in relation to geospatial data created by the public sector
  • holding individual bodies to account for delivery against the geospatial strategy
  • providing strategic oversight and direction across Whitehall and public bodies who operate in this area”

Perhaps the Geospatial Commission heralds a merger of the Land Registry and Ordnance Survey into a body similar to the cadastral bodies in several other European countries, this opens up the potential for a complete release of geospatial Open Data funded by a tiny levy on property transactions which is what Bob Barr has been suggesting for ages.

OS data sales revenue has, in effect, been an expensive to collect, geospatial data use tax. The new Commission has an opportunity to re-think and charge those who cause the data to change, not those who want to access it.

— Robert Barr (@DrBobBarr) November 23, 2017

“That would be a fantastic outcome for Open Data advocates, transparency campaigners, innovative businesses and the public sector purse” says Dr Jekyll to a sulking Mr Hyde.

Groundhog Day

This really does feel like a Groundhog Day, we keep having discussions about Ordnance Survey business models, open data, sustainability and innovation. 2 years ago I wrote to the then Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne, suggesting that plans to “develop options to bring private capital into the Ordnance Survey before 2020” might not be a great idea. If you can bear it you might want to re-read what I said at the time because it feels equally applicable today as advice to Mr Hammond and his new Geospatial Commission.

“Why not just fund this team to carry on surveying etc? You currently pay the OS £80m for them to do this through a series of agreements with government, that should be more than enough to cover the costs of surveying, data management etc. You could probably save at least £10m or £20m or even more once they stopped doing things that weren’t really essential. You could make the raw data available to government and the private sector for free and without restriction potentially unlocking a chunk of the billions that people think will come from OpenData”

Removing sales, marketing, licensing, legal, other commercial staff, consultants, cartographic functions, printed map production and sales would probably result in operational costs lower than government’s current £88m expenditure with OS. We could have free and open geospatial data and potentially even reduce the tax payers spend on that data! Perfect for people (or governments) who like having cake and who like eating cake. If there really is £11bn of extra value to be released for the economy from open geospatial data then most of it should still be there without the commercial paraphernalia.

2 years on from George Osborne’s spending review we have heard little more about introducing private capital into OS and the proposed privatisation of Land Registry has been canned.

Putting on my Mr Hyde hat, I wonder what if anything the Geospatial Commission will achieve over the next 2 years. But switching to my Dr Jekyll hat, if the Geospatial Commission used its £80m of funding to merge OS with LR we could end up with free open geospatial data, reduced costs to taxpayers and we might find out whether there really is this huge potential to be unleashed.

Since the budget, I have been chatting with someone who has had close operational links with OS, who remarked:

“Basically the OS operates as if it was a competing private company but it’s like Network Rail, the Met Office & the Hydrographic Office, it’s a tax payer funded monopoly … 80% or more of its income is from the taxpayer STILL. So after 20 years, the growth model has failed. Time to Reboot for the 21st Century

I’m not sure about the 80% but otherwise I think this sums up where we are and why we need a rethink.

A touch of irony

Regular readers of this blog will know that there is usually an image at the beginning of each post. Sometimes the connection between the content and the image is quite tenuous to say the least but on this occasion I thought I would try to find a nice MasterMap image to start the post. It isn’t easy to find Creative Commons images of MasterMap so I thought I would tweet the OS team to ask for one. Ed Parsons pointed out the irony of that!


— Ed Parsons (@edparsons) November 22, 2017

Unfortunately a day later I hadn’t received a reply from anyone on the OS social media team so I went looking for an image idea to start the post and along came Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde who represent my split personality on this topic – Dr Jekyll loves the idea of more open data, Mr Hyde wonders whether we are wasting a lot of taxpayers money


gvSIG Team: SIG aplicado a Gestión Municipal: Módulo 13 ‘Mapas’

Thu, 11/23/2017 - 17:29

Ya está disponible el módulo nº 13 del curso de SIG para Gestión Municipal, donde mostraremos cómo crear mapas con la cartografía que tenemos en nuestras vistas.

El mapa será el documento que nosotros podremos imprimir, o exportar a PDF o a PostScript, y en el que insertaremos las Vistas que hemos creado en nuestro proyecto.

En él podremos insertar todo tipo de elementos, como textos, norte, escala, leyenda, imágenes o logos, cajetines, gráficas, rectángulos, líneas…

La cartografía a utilizar en este vídeo la podéis descargar desde el siguiente enlace.

El vídeo de este módulo es el siguiente:

Post relacionados:

Filed under: gvSIG Desktop, spanish, training Tagged: ayuntamientos, gestión municipal, layout, mapa, pdf, Salida gráfica