(English) SigLibre 9, Girona

The 9th SIGLibre conference in Girona starts with bad news: no wifi. But that didn’t stop us to talk about geo free stuff.

Almost all the plenary talks touched topis like smart citizens, open data, crowd data, crowd sourcing,… It is quite clear this is an emerging subject that we are going to use more and more. But, is this really a business market or is this just something to research and contribute to the community?

Malcolm Bain – IdLawPartners
“Open core, dual licensing, master subscription, commercial open source product specialists – mucha jerga para hablar de cómo hacer dinero con Open source: Hablemos de sus aspectos legales”

What makes a software free is not the code: it is the license. And that’s what is important. But Malcolm hasn’t come here to talk about licenses or patents, but about business with free software. We need to find the added value for open software so we are able to sell it. The problem is: this added value has nothing to do with FOSS. FOSS is freaky, geeky, sneaky,… How can we mix this two concepts? Where is the value position?

The added value for FOSS based business is the legal part. Open source license grants you access, modify and distribute the source code, so you can “physically” fix the bugs yourself, get a local IT supplier to support you (or support yourself) and share that support across a community. You can also have your own agenda on the versions you use. There is an unlimited license to use your free software on the life cycle you want, you don’t depend on third parties company’s planning.

And most important: you can check the code you are being sold. No seller can cheat you selling software that doesn’t do what it needs to do.

There are many strategies to sell free software:

* Dual License: two types of licenses for the same code: private or free.
* Open Core: free core but extensions are payed.
* Subscription strategy: you sell the technical support only.
* Product specialist: revenues from services (maintenance and consulting).
* Consulting services strategy: pure service model.
* Hosted strategy: Saas, cloud.
* Platform providers: for example, openstack hosting.
* Legal services: consulting legal services.

The free software is an investment on the long run, which is something that capitalists investors usually don’t like. That’s why free software is going to win: because there are no capitalists investors that want to get their interests back.

We live in a world that is designed, built and run by Open Source software. Don’t forget it!

Alberto Labarga – NavarraBioMed
“Periodismo de datos y la visualización de datos abiertos”

Alberto works on health and medical services based on free software and free hardware. As a sidenote: he mentioned that all gis software he knew was free, so it looks like we are doing marketing stuff right. He talked about open data and how to display it. Sometimes we focus too much on technology and not on how our users perceive it. Right now, everyone claims to be doing big data visualization, but very few people has real access to big data databases. So, there is a lot of fuzzy smoke on this topic.

From the crowd data perspective, there are many interesting projects like #adoptaUnSenador or #adoptaUnCorrupto, where spanish government obscured PDFs about incomings and wealth of politicians were crowd-parsed. There are other projects, like @jjelosua’s “España en llamas”, which conflates all data about fires in Spain. As this kind of projects appeared, many tools were also developed to help this type of jobs. Transparency comes hand by hand with this projects, like visualizing budget spent on each public administration.

The biggest problem with opendata right now is that there is a lot of public data still not published. And what is published is usually static or not on a useful format. Spain (and Europe) still have to follow UK on this topic and open more data so more apps and usecases can be developed.

He had an amazing presentation where he presented more usecases I can write on a summary here.

Irene Compte – Exploradora y aventurera tecnológica
“Open Smart cities: mitos y realidades”

Irene did an interactive theatre presentation showing his view about how this smartcity concept started and evolved. She has been working on this topic since the very beginning of the concept and that made her have a very close experience.

Victor Olaya – Boundless
“Algunas ideas sobre música, literatura y mapas”

Closing plenaries, Victor Olaya enphasizes the need to do good maps. We have a lot of technical people working on maps, building maps. But, do they have some studies about it? Are they prepared to present data the best way? We assume that all maps are used the same way all across the world. And that we can use almost the same style for all usecases. All this assumptions only complicates things to the user in the end.

Ed Parsons – Google
“Where is the Cathedral and the Bazaar : some musings on openness, ecosystems and bringing geo to the web”

At the end of the day, as a closing plenary, we had Ed Parsons, from Google, who talked about what is his view on future hits on geospatial. Appart from his insistence on using the word “open” instead of “free” or “libre” (they are difficult non-marketable words, he said), there is a very clear position on Google trying to go further on their attempt to control what people do. “Only if you want, the choice to have a mobile phone is yours”, as he clearly states. But is this true? Can someone live on our society without using mobile phones?

For example, Google is working on backpacks to map inside buildings as their streetview cars map cities. This way, they will have more detailed information about where people are and what they do. They claim it is for offering more detailed services. I don’t doubt it but, where is intimacy going? Will new generations know what is to have a private space where they don’t need to pose? Where they can relax because no-one is watching? Are we coming closer to a 1984 Big Brother based on companies instead of Government? Will that may be even worse, even if the company’s motto is “don’t be evil”?

A lot of questions to answer.

Original entry in GeoCat’s blog

Jornadas SIG Libre Girona VII

Estas últimas Jornadas SIG Libre de Girona han girado en torno a servicios cloud y datos abiertos. Desde el apoteósico inicio con las ponencias plenarias, con parte destacada de Sergi Morales (ExportosenTI), el resto de las charlas han ido rodando todas en el mismo tema. Algunas quizás un poco más críticas, como F. Puga desde CartoLab cuando nos pidió que no olvidáramos que no todo el mundo tiene acceso global a internet, y que muchos millones de personas, las cuales no tienen nuestro nivel tecnológico, también tienen necesidades GIS.

Esto es lo que significa cloud en zonas en desarrollo. #siglibre7 #firstworldproblems

Otra gran cuestión que se ha levantado en estas jornadas ha sido, de la mano de Malcolm Bain, cuales son los límites legales de los servicios de almacenamiento de datos en la nube, qué podemos esperar y exigir y hasta qué punto, desde la perspectiva del proveedor de servicios, tenemos que ofrecer un mínimo de nivel de servicio. Resulta sin duda sorprendente aprender que algunos de los contratos que aceptamos en servicios muy conocidos (como correo electrónico web o hosting) son, sencillamente, ilegales.

La batalla del software libre ya está ganada, ahora queda la batalla de la libertad y privacidad de los datos.

También ha resultado una delicia ver el enfrentamiento dialéctico entre varios de los ponentes, como cuando Javier de la Torre (Cartodb) arremetió contra OGC o las IDE. Sin duda un tema que, aunque no coincido completamente con su opinión, es algo a debatir y mejorar. ¿Deberían intentar los IDE hacerse más amigables para acercarse al usuario o es suficiente con ser un repositorio de datos?

El jueves por la tarde, Geocat tuvo sesión doble entre varias charlas muy centradas en los metadatos y su importancia en los IDE. Primero presentamos rápidamente quiénes éramos y qué hacíamos, centrándonos sobre todo en GeoNetwork y Bridge, mencionando también nuestro futuro GeoCat Live. Y justo antes de terminar el día, un taller de 30 minutos para presentar GeoNetwork, justo antes de dar paso a la primera reunión de geoinquietos nacionales.

Es difícil resumir en un sólo artículo toda la tremenda dimensión alcanzada en estas jornadas. Mucho optimismo, muchas ganas de seguir trabajando y, sobre todo, la certeza de que estamos en el camino correcto, apoyando el software y los datos libres, centrándonos en la parte social de nuestro trabajo. El viernes, casi para finalizar, Javier Sánchez orientó la recta final de las jornadas hacia este tema, hablando de las empresas sociales, las cuales no sólo tienen una cuenta de resultados económica sino también social.

En resumen, las Jornadas SIG Libre Girona son sin duda el Evento SIG(en mayúsculas) que cualquier hispano hablante debería tener en cuenta si quiere estar al día de las últimas novedades.The main theme of this Jornadas SIG Libre de Girona has been cloud services and open data. Since the apotheosic beginning, with an outstanding speech of Sergi Morales (ExportosenTI), the rest of the conference has been running around the same theme. Some of them maybe more critical, like the one of F. Puga from CartoLab when he asked us not to forget undevelopment zones where not everyone has internet access and millions  of people, which doesn’t have our tech level, also have GIS needs.

This is what cloud means on undevelopment countries. #siglibre7 #firstworldproblems

Anotheer interesting theme of this conference came by the hand of Malcolm Bain, who told  us about the legal limits of data cloud services, and what can we expect and demand and to what extent, from the cloud service provider, we have to offer a minimum service level. It is undoubtely surprising to learn that some of the contracts we accept on very well known services (like web mail or hosting) are, in fact, ilegal.

The battle of free software is ended, now we have to battle on freedom and privacy of data.

It has also been delightful to see the debate between some speakers, like when Javier de la Torre (Cartodbtalked against OGC or the government repositories of data. Undoubtfully a theme which, although I don’t fully agree, needs some discussion and improvement. Should government repositories of data become more useer friendly or should they remain just as repository of data?

On thursday evening, Geocat had a double session between speeches very focused on metadata and the importance of governmment spatial portals. We first focused mostly on GeoNetwork and Bridge, talking also about our future GeoCat Live. and, just before ending  the day, a workshop of 30 minutes to present GeoNetwork, which has followed by the first national meeting of geoinquietos.

It is hard to summarize in only one article all the huge dimension reached on this conference. A lot of optimism, willing to keep working and, most of all, the certainty that we are on the right path, helping free software and free data, focusing on the social part of our work. On Friday, almost to finish, Javier Sánchez oriened the end of the conference to this theme, talking about social companies, who have not only an economic result but also a social one.

In the end the Jornadas SIG Libre Girona are undoubtely the GIS Event (capital letters) to which every spanish speaker should take into account to be in contact with latest GIS news.

Original article here.

¿Qué es GeoNetwork?

GeoNetwork es una aplicación web que permite mantener un catálogo de datos referenciados geográficamente. Esto es, un portal con buscador que permite visualizar metadatos combinándolos con mapas. Sigue estrictamente los diferentes estándares para datos, desde Inspire hasta OGC. Esto ha propiciado su gran expansión en muchas organizaciones, como el geoportal suizo o el brasileño, pasando por el neozelandés.

Se despliega sobre un contenedor de aplicaciones java (como tomcat o jetty), funcionando sobre el framework Jeeves. Jeeves se basa en transformaciones XSLT que permiten un desarrollo rápido y sencillo (a la vez que potente) de interfaces tanto para un usuario como para máquinas (XML).  Esto hace que los datos en GeoNetwork sean fácilmente accesibles por diferentes plataformas.GeoNetwork is a web application that allows you to maintain a geographic referenced metadata catalogue. This means, a search portal that allows you to view metadata combined with maps. It strictly follows different standards for metadata, from Inspire to OGC. This has allowed GeoNetwork to expand to a lot of organizations, like the swiss geoportal or the brasilian one, not forgetting the New zealander.

It is deployed inside a java application container (like tomcat or jetty), working over the Jeeves framework. Jeeves is based on XSTL transformations that allows a simple quick development (and powerfull) of interfaces, for humans or machines (XML). This makes metadata from GeoNetwork to be easily accesible by different platforms.

Apuntes del taller de GeoServer

Estas son las notas que tomé sobre el taller de GeoServer en las últimas Jornadas GvSIG.
Más información.

Es fundamental cambiar la configuración geoserver_data_dir en el fichero web.xml para no perder los datos cada vez que se reinicia el contenedor de aplicaciones (como Tomcat). Así mismo, es bueno echarle un vistazo al resto de configuraciones ya que contiene datos interesantes como el tipo de proyecciones que se van a utilizar o el tamaño de la caché. Hay datos configurables “on the fly” y datos no configurables sobre la marcha.

Vamos a probar a añadir algunas fuentes de datos para generar las capas. Para agregar un shapefile, tienes que copiar el fichero del shape en la misma máquina física del servidor. Para incluir el shapefile en el geoserver, hay que buscar la opción de añadir un nuevo datastore de tipo shapefile. Si se utiliza la localización del tipo “file:data/…” es una uri relativa al geoserver. También se puede buscar con el botón “Browse” y se utilizarán rutas absolutas.

Cuidado: No debes dar permiso a cualquiera para la interfaz de configuración porque pueden ver todo el disco duro físico en este tipo de cuadro de diálogo.

Lo mejor es utilizar memory mapped buffers (salvo que uses Windows) si tienes suficiente memoria RAM, ya que evitarás contínuos accesos físicos a disco. Así mismo, lo mejor es reproyectar desde el EPSG nativo al declarado. Si el shapefile es muy grande, calcular el bounding box tardará bastante. Esto no pasa en bases de datos reales donde hay índices espaciales.

GeoServer te permite introducir marcas de agua en tus datos (por ejemplo para usar OpenStreetMap).

Cuando se usan conexiones a bases de datos, marcar la opción de validar la conexión, porque nunca sabes cuándo va a petar la conexión.

GeoWebCache permite en las últimas versiones de Geoserver, administrar cómodamente qué capas se cachean.

Se pueden poner datos que varíen según el tiempo, por ejemplo para tornados o tormentas. En la tabla de la base de datos habrá una columna indicando el tiempo. También se pueden poner datos con elevaciones. Pero todo esto hay que hacerlo con Google Earth. Lo interesante es que se sirven los datos, luego algún visor libre que lo soporte podría ser interesante…These are the notes I took on the GeoServer workshop at the last gvSIG Conference.
More information.

It is important to change the settings of the geoserver_data_dir in the web.xml file to keep the data each time you restart the application container (like Tomcat). It is also good to check out the other settings as it contains interesting facts such as the type of projections to be used or the size of the cache. There are configurable data on the fly and data not configurable on the fly.

Let’s try adding some data sources to generate the layers. To add a shapefile, you have to copy the file in the same physical server machine. To include the shapefile in GeoServer, look for the option of adding a new shapefile datastore type. If you use the location “file: data /…” you use a relative uri to geoserver. You can also search using the “Browse” and use absolute paths.

Warning: Do not you give permission to any user on the configuration interface because they can see all the physical hard disk in this type of dialog.

It is best to use memory mapped buffers (unless you use Windows) if you have enough RAM, then you will avoid continuous access to physical disk. Also, it is best to reproject from native to declared projection. If the shapefile is very big, calculate the bounding box take some time. This does not happen in real databases where spatial indexes.

GeoServer allows you to insert watermarks in your data (for example to use OpenStreetMap).

When you use database connections, you should check the validate connection option, because you never know when the connection is going to crash.

GeoWebCache allows, on the latest version of GeoServer, to set up easily which layers will be cached.

You can use data which varies through time, for example for storms and hurricanes. On the database table, you will have a column for time. You can also use elevation data, but then you have to use it with Google Earth. The interesting thing is that, once you have the data, some hipothetical free visor can be used to support it…