UN OSGeo Challenge

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UN OSGeo Challenge

Maria Antonia Brovelli

Dear All

we are ready to issue the UN OSGeo Challenge thanks to the efforts of Serena, Hae-Kyong, Christina and many others.

Two challenges will be sponsored by OSGeo and one by Boundless. 

I'm appending the text below. 

Please comment as soon as possible but not later than tomorrow at midnight GMT because we want to issue it in such a way to close the delivery of the material before Dar Es Salaam.

Many thanks to Boundless to sponsor the Challenge 2!

And many thanks to all the people who contributed.

In my opinion it is a good occasion also for communicating the activities of the UN Committee, especially to young people.

Best regards.


OSGeo UN Committee Educational Challenge

Call for proposals to develop open geospatial educational/training material

The OSGeo United Nations (UN) Committee invites proposals for developing open geospatial educational material for three challenges. The Committee promotes the development and use of open source software that meets UN needs and supports the aims of the UN. In the last few years, the Committee has mainly worked on the UN Open GIS Initiative, a project  "... to identify and develop an Open Source GIS bundle that meets the requirements of UN operations, taking full advantage of the expertise of mission partners (partner nations, technology contributing countries, international organizations, academia, NGOs, private sector). The strategic approach shall be developed with best and shared principles, standards and ownership, in a prioritized manner that addresses capability gaps and needs without duplicating efforts of other Member States or entities. The UN OpenGIS Initiative strategy shall collaboratively and cooperatively develop, validate, assess, migrate, and implement sound technical capabilities with all the appropriate documentation and training that in the end provides a united effort to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of utilizing Open Source GIS around the world." (more details at [1]).

The first two challenges (one sponsored by Boundless) are related to the UN Open GIS Initiative. The third challenge is more general and relates to the use of high resolution and high quality global datasets available for environmental, social and economical analysis everywhere, especially in developing countries. The challenge is aimed at addressing the current lack of training material for using such data with open source software in support of UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Winners will be guided by mentors from Boundless [2], the UN Open GIS Initiative [3] and OSGeo [4] to ensure that the material meets the requirements of the target audience. Winning material will be included and distributed in OSGeo Live. OSGeo Live [5] is a freely available and self-contained bootable DVD, USB thumb drive or Virtual Machine based on Lubuntu, containing a wide variety of open source geospatial software that can be tried out without installing anything.

Challenge 1 - Spiral 1 of UN - GeoSHAPE  platform for data collection

Prize: USD 3,000 sponsored by Boundless

Requirements: This call is for the development of education material that teaches the user how to apply the GeoSHAPE platform [6] to assist in a real-life scenario involving a relevant theme in today’s world. Themes could include humanitarian aid, disaster management, emergency management, or sustainable development.  The scenario could be an ongoing, recent, or historical event or could be created for the purposes of the challenge. If the scenario is created, it should be as realistic and relevant to today’s challenges as possible and use data relevant to a geographic location on the earth. The instructional materials should teach the user how to perform specific workflows relevant to the scenario.  The proposal should specify:

  1. A description of the applied scenario.

  2. A list of workflows to be included in the scenario. The list should be specific enough to highlight how the platform can be used in assist in the effort. For example, distributed editing could be used to track and share the location of resources in the field in real-time.

  3. A list of the types of relevant datasets to be used with a short description. The datasets should include freely available and open geodatasets. Given the nature of the challenge, datasets may need to be created for the purposes of the scenario.

Target audience: professionals at local, regional, national or international agencies, especially those in developing countries that may use in the platform in one of the above mentioned themes.

Mentors: Christina Hupy [hidden email]

Challenge 2 - Spiral 3 of UN - Functionalities for UN Operations

Prize: USD 3,000 sponsored by OSGeo

Requirements: Do you analyze geospatial data for your business/research? There are several geospatial-analysis-functions available in open source for geospatial community. GeoAnalysis library [7] is a java-based open source for geospatial analysis. This call is for development of an educational material using GeoAnalysis library

Please assume that you would like to teach your students/folks how to use the GeoAnalysis library by using desktop SW like uDig or through Internet, and how to use geo-analysis functions for their business/research. Proposal should specify:

1) Description of a business (purpose of using GeoAnalysis, scenario, etcs)

2) Description of analysis model (analysis flow, analysis functions, input/output dataset) of the business described in 1)

3) List of datasets to be used for the analysis

4) Others

Target audience: Researchers, educators and professionals at local, regional, national or international agencies, especially those in developing countries.

Mentors: HaeKyong Kang ([hidden email] ), MinPa Lee ([hidden email] ) and DHN Cho ([hidden email] )

Challenge 3 - Open geospatial data and software for UN sustainable development goals

Prize: USD 3,000 sponsored by OSGeo

Requirements: This call is for the development of educational material that teaches users how to work with with free and open source geospatial software and freely available global open datasets (higher interest in high resolution datasets) on tasks that contribute towards achieving at least one of the UN Sustainable Development Goal [8]. The proposal should specify

1) A description of the tasks and how they contribute to achieving one or more UN Sustainable Development Goals.

2) The list of freely available global open geodatasets that will be included in the educational material, with a short description of each dataset, its spatial and temporal resolution and a link (URL) to the dataset.

3) The list of free and open source geospatial software for which the educational material will be developed, with a short description for each software and a link (URL) to its website.

Target audience: Researchers, educators and professionals at local, regional, national or international agencies, especially those in developing countries.

Mentors: Maria Brovelli [hidden email] and Serena Coetzee [hidden email]

Educational material for all three challenges can be included in OSGeo-Live in one of two ways:

1. As a Quickstart Tutorial for a software project included in OSGeo-Live (e.g. GeoServer, QGIS etc). Current Quickstart tutorials are listed at  https://live.osgeo.org/en/overview/overview.html. Quickstart Tutorials are licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License for Quickstarts.

2. As workshop material. Current workshops are listed at https://trac.osgeo.org/osgeolive/wiki/Live_GIS_Workshop_Install. The license with a Creative Commons ByAttribution (CC-BY) license.

Your proposal should clearly indicate whether you propose to provide material for OSGeo-Live as 1. or 2. or both.

See the following examples of related educational material: training material used by GeoForAll to support the United Nations in their migration to geospatial open source applications [9] and courses developed by Geo Academy [10].

Proposals (in English) of not more than 5 pages should describe the material that you plan to develop, comprising:

  1. A title for the proposed open geospatial educational material.

  2. Identification of the challenge (1, 2 or 3).

  3. Name, address, e-mail address, CV of the proposer.

  4. Full outline of the proposed geospatial educational material, including learning outcomes, prerequisite knowledge, educational approach and content.

  5. Any additional information requested for the specific challenge (see above).

  6. A signed statement agreeing that the educational material may be published in OS-Geo Live with a Creative Commons ByAttribution (CC-BY) license.

  7. A schedule for the development of the training material, indicating important milestones. For start and end dates, see important dates below.

Evaluation criteria:

  1. Proposer is an OSGeo Charter Member 10 (max)

  2. Proposer’s documented experience in education and training 20 (max)

  3. Proposer’s age (20 if < 40 years old; 0 if >40 years old) 20 (max)

  4. Experience with respect to what is proposed by the specific challenge 10 (max)

  5. Proposal 40 (max)

Proposals will be evaluated by the OSGeo Educational Challenge Judging Commission comprising representatives from OSGeo, Boundless and UN Open GIS. The proposal will be shortlisted and its content reviewed only if the sum of the first four criteria is at least 40. Evaluation criteria for the content include the suitability of the proposed material for the target audience and requirements, feasibility of the proposal, as well as the gender, relevant experience, qualifications and language proficiency of the proposer.

You can submit proposals for more than one challenge. However, one proposal should be for one challenge only. Only proposals by individuals will be accepted (no proposals by teams). Proposals should be submitted to [hidden email].

Important dates

Announcement of the COSGeo Educational Challenge                    30 March 2018

Deadline for submission of proposals: 30 April 2018

Announcement of the winners: 31 May 2018

Winners receive first 1/3 of the prize money: 15 June 2018

Submission of geospatial educational material by the winners:

15 August 2018

Evaluation of the Educational Material by mentors       

30 September 2018

After the positive evaluation, winners receive remaining 2/3 of the prize money.

Prize money will be made available to the winners in one of the two ways:

  1. They provide their IBAN/Swift info and OSGeo/Boundless deposits the money directly into their bank account via Wire Transfer.

  2. They provide their PayPal info and OSGeo/Boundless transfers the money into their PayPal account.

For queries on specific challenges, contact the mentors of respective challenges. Any other queries can be addressed to [hidden email].

[1] https://wiki.osgeo.org/wiki/UnitedNations_Committee

[2] https://boundlessgeo.com/

[3] http://unopengis.org/

[4] https://www.osgeo.org/

[5] https://live.osgeo.org

[6] http://geoshape.org/

[7] https://github.com/MapPlus/spatial_statistics_for_geotools_udig  

[8] http://www.un.org/sustainabledevelopment/sustainable-development-goals/

[9] http://wiki.osgeo.org/wiki/UNTraining

[10] https://fossgeo.org/

Have a good reading:


Prof. Maria Antonia Brovelli
Professor of GIS and Digital Mapping
Politecnico di Milano

P.zza Leonardo da Vinci, 32 - Building 3 - 20133 Milano (Italy)

Tel. +39-02-23996242 - Mob. +39-328-0023867,  [hidden email][hidden email]


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R: UN OSGeo Challenge

Maria Antonia Brovelli
Dear Cameron
Yes, we already presented the initiative to Angelos and Astrid.
Many thanks for the suggestions. 
About the criteria
1) being charter member is not mandatory; everybody can apply. On the other side charter members are people who were awarded with this title and we believe that it is worth to be considered. 
2) we want to have young people but with experience in education and training as they have to produce this kind of material. 
I believe there are many good candidates and the competition will be very high.

Thanks a lot also for the typos that we will correct.

Inviato dal mio dispositivo Samsung
-------- Messaggio originale --------
Da: Cameron Shorter <[hidden email]>
Data: 29/03/18 22:08 (GMT+01:00)
A: [hidden email], live-demo <[hidden email]>, Angelos Tzotsos <[hidden email]>
Oggetto: Re: [UN] UN OSGeo Challenge

Maria, OSGeo UN Committee, OSGeoLive team,

Great initiative, I'm very supportive.

I'm excited to see OSGeoLive engaged prominently in the criteria. I think that OSGeoLive has the potential to be a great asset to the education community and this is an excellent initiative to fast track this.

Have you been talking with someone from the OSGeoLive team about the practical implementation? (Angelos would be a good start). There are a few things that I think need to be thought through:

* OSGeoLive is currently space constrained to our distribution medium. Typically a 4 Gig or 8 Gig USB. Large teaching datasets could cause us challenges. We have options to address this, but it is something we should consider up front.

* OSGeoLive has remained a healthy project for 8 years in part because we have ensured our cost of maintenance doesn't exceed our volunteer capacity. We need to think through how can maintain any material created, and how we can keep maintenance requirements to a minimum.

Re: evaluation criteria:

On 29/3/18 10:45 pm, Maria Antonia Brovelli wrote:

Evaluation criteria:

  1. Proposer is an OSGeo Charter Member
* I'd suggest this be changed to "has demonstrable experience within the OSGeo community". One of our best technical contributors to OSGeoLive, who regularly also gave great council, as well as writing very good documentation, was someone who shunned titles and has never signed up to be an OSGeo Charter member. (As I write this, I think he'd be a good candidate for this project - if he could be tempted). There are others like him. They shouldn't be excluded from applying.
On the other hand, there are some OSGeo Charter members who have done little after joining. I believe creating a "honey-pot" will lead to people applying for charter membership for personal benefit instead of altruistic reasons.
  1. Proposer’s age (20 if < 40 years old; 0 if >40 years old)
* I question the purpose of this? If you are trying to increase young people applying, then an age break at 40 doesn't help the struggling end of the age spectrum. (I'd be more inclined to make a break at say 25).
I think you will find older people, will self select themselves out based on their typically higher pay grade.
I'd be inclined to remove this criteria all together.

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