This is a message to welcome everybody to the new utilities and telecoms
mailing list. There are a couple of people already on the list who
weren't at our FOSS4G meeting the other day so I want to explain a
little of the context and to try and summarise the conclusions of the
The decision to set up this new group was taken at a Birds of a Feather
meeting at FOSS4G on Wednesday. The meeting was a chance for those
interested in applying FOSS in the utilities and telecoms sector to
share experiences and thoughts on how we can take this forward. It was a
small group but we had a presence from three different countries and
with experience of different sectors like telecoms, electricity or gas.
This list is the main outcome of that meeting, a step which enables us
to include more participants and where we can communicate on what people
are doing. We also talked about where we can start to do things. There
are a huge number of open source tools out there, but there is no stack
or ready made product which you could use to do a new utilities project
from scratch. So to begin the process of constructing such a platform we
felt that work on a database schema that you could put into a PostGIS or
other DB would be needed. This means using existing public resources,
such as industry specific schemas that people like ESRI have produced,
but with the idea that we can rethink things a bit and try to make our
model as generic as possible. A lot of network data models share common
ideas and elements even if the sector specific equipment is different.
We also talked about what we might consider to be fundamental building
blocks for any utilities application. This covered issues like network
tracing, schematics, database versioning, being able to represent
network objects with multiple geometries and in multiple geographic
spaces e.g. for internal plant views. This is just looking ahead a
little, we need to build the group's presence and activity to a point
where we can start to think about some kind of application development.
If anyone who was there remembers other issues we covered then feel free
to add to my recollection.
A couple of things about the list. I am the administrator, I will try
not to use this power in an arbitrary or tyrannical way. Julian Collaer
([hidden email]) is the backup administrator, so contact
either of us if there are issues or suggestions concerning the admin of
the list. I think its a good idea if we try to use fairly standard
headers on our messages and keep them relevant to the content. So, for
example, mails concerning schema design for electricity could have a
header like [Database schemas][Electricity]. We all get lots of email
and this kind of thing just helps us to separate mails by their content.
Let's try and expand the membership of the list a bit, think of contacts
we have on Twitter or LinkedIn who might be interested and invite them
Our starting point at the moment is to share existing resources we know
about for schemas and common data formats, although anyone is free to
initiate discussions around other topics. For me, just the existence of
this list is a result - I didn't know what to expect when I set up the
BoF meeting. Now we have the forum, we need to give it some life!