Pretoria, South Africa: The first African open source geospatial laboratory, under the auspices of the ICA-OSGeo Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), was recently established at the Centre for Geoinformation Science (CGIS) at the University of Pretoria in South Africa. CGIS engages in open-source research for geospatial software and data, either using open-source geospatial software and data as tools in research, or contributing to the software and data through research.
Open source software and data are also used in formal tertiary education and continued education courses at the university.
Other research themes in CGIS are forensic geography; space geodesy, earth and atmospheric observation; and spatial data infrastructures. CGIS is led by Dr Serena Coetzee who is looking forward to receiving Prof Georg Gartner, president of the ICA, and Arnulf Christl, president of OSGeo, at the CGIS later this year when they will be in South Africa as keynote speakers at the GISSA Ukubuzana 2012 conference in Ekurhuleni, Johannesburg.
In 2011, the International Cartographic Association (ICA) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Open-source Geospatial Foundation (OSGeo) with a view to develop global collaboration opportunities for academia, industry and government organisations in the field of open-source GIS software and data. The MoU aims to provide expertise and support for the establishment of Open-source Geospatial Laboratories and Research Centres across the world to support the development of open-source geospatial software technologies, training and expertise.
The goal is to establish five laboratories in Asia, Europe, Africa, the Americas and Australasia during the first phase. These will act as nodes for future expansion. The MoU also aims to provide support for building up and supporting the development of open-source GIS teaching and training materials, and the joint organisation of open-source GIS events and workshops through the ICA network in order to encourage wider participation globally.