Bremen, November 2013. Europe's largest ever event on free geospatial and location-based software will be held at Jacobs University in Bremen, Germany from July 15 through 17, 2014. Also at this conference, the winners of the NASA Worldwind Europe Challenge will present their innovative apps to the public.
More than 500 delegates are expected; notably, the FOSS4G-Europe conference does not only attract software developers and open-source service companies, but also industry and governmental agencies which increasingly recognize the value and cost savings potential of open-source software.
"We are proud and excited to have the honour of organizing the first pan-European FOSS4G", says Conference Chair Prof. Dr. Peter Baumann, head of the Large-Scale Scientific Information Systems (L-SIS) Research Group at Jacobs. Adds Organizing Committee Chair and L-SIS group member Susanne Ebrecht, "This event actually will contribute to bridging gaps between open-source and commercial software worlds".
The main financial support is coming from the transatlantic Big Geo Data initiative, EarthServer, funded by the European Commission. Additionally, sponsors are being invited from industry, government, and other organizations.
FOSS4G (Free and Open Source for Geospatial) is a conference series held under the auspices of OSGeo. This is a worldwide acting, independent, nonprofit legal entity established to support the collaborative development of open source geospatial software, and promote its widespread use. Its international Board of Directors elected periodically by the OSGeo Charter Members, one of which is Prof. Dr. Peter Baumann.
The OSGeo Board now has agreed to hold the FOSS4G-Europe Conference on the campus of Jacobs University in Bremen coming summer. Following an outstandingly successful FOSS4G-CEE, for Central and Eastern Europe, in Bucharest this summer, it was decided to widen scope to a pan-European event next year. Expecting over 500 participants this will be the largest event of its kind in history, only surpassed by the global FOSS4G conference. As part of this activity network, there are continental FOSS4G events held in Africa, Asia, and Latinamerica.
The NASA Worldwind Europe Challenge is an annual programming competition organized by NASA, Patrick Hogan, and Prof. Maria Brovelli, University Como, Italy. The challenge is to develop solutions that serve the spatial data needs of the European Community and respond to the INSPIRE Directive. Solutions sought will use NASA’s World Wind, an open-source virtual globe like Google Earth. Data used should relate to INSPIRE, the Infrastructure for Spatial Information in Europe. Examples of applications include a wildfire management tool, a tool for urban management, tools for weather display and climate research, and others.
The term free and open-source software denotes computer programs which, together with their blueprint (called the program's source code), can be distributed without ownership limitations and can be modified and improved by anybody. This prevents from software vendor dependencies and typically leverages resources from developer communities whose passion it is to continuously improve freely available software. As universities frequently are engaged in open-source projects, it is not uncommon that such projects actually define the state of the art. Prominent examples include the Apache Web server and the rasdaman array database system.