Cristina’s FOSS4G – Academic Bursary Review


FOSS4G 2013 offered a number of academic bursaries to students and early stage researchers.  This would reduce the cost of attending FOSS4G.  But, there is no such as thing as a free lunch and we asked that they write a short review of their FOSS4G experience.  First up, Cristina Rosales.

Who are you?

I am Cristina, a GIS and remote sensing researcher with experience as consultant in the environmental domain. I’m finishing a master on Geoinformation Science in the University of Wageningen (The Netherlands). Aware of the OS relevance and strong supporter of the OS “philosophy”, I designed my thesis topic in the way I could use OS software and get a better insight. Therefore, my master thesis considers the use of OS to develop a decision support system for crisis management. It’s regarding the integration of volunteer geo-information, aka VGI, with official information to offer the most updated information in case of disasters.

These are my first steps within the use of OS software, and won’t be the last ones!

What did you hope to get out of attending FOSS4G?

Being my first FOSS4G conference, I cannot compare it to the ones organized before to confirm that FOSS4G 2013 in Nottingham was the best ever!  However, the passion and inspiration received during these days made it a really worthy and amazing experience!

Looking at the program before the event I had a list of people and presentations that I thought would be interesting to see.  I was excited about having the opportunity to meet and thank people who are directly involved in developing the software and tools that I use in my research. People like Kate Chapman, Paul Ramsey and Martin Isenburg are so inspirational.  More than that, I had the opportunity to discover other projects and people who are contributing to the OSGeo community.  I think that this is probably the best aspect of FOSS4G, meeting people, getting to know them and making contacts that turn into friendships in just 3 days. OSGeo really is a community.

What caught your eye at the event?

Talking about inspiration, seeing Steven Feldman on the stage was a charge of energy! During the welcome speech I was surprised to hear that some countries have rules which mean that government departments have to use Open Source software, data and systems whenever possible. Countries such as the UK, Germany and The Netherlands. This does not reflect where Open Source solutions are being implemented, the actual use is far wider.  Other quotes that I liked from Steven’s speech were “Geo 4 All” or “FOSS4G Nottingham, the Woodstock of maps: 3 days of peace and maps”.

Due to my personal interests, I found the presentation on pgRouting from Julien Lacroix (MapGears) very useful.  It was a pleasure to assist in the session on sensor networks.  Other speeches/sentences that caught my attention were:

  • Chris Tucker –, as a tool for story telling
  • Ian James (Ordnance Survey) – His talk about WPS
  • Paul Ramsey – About “being an OS citizen” and the women involvement in  OS-IT (only about 2%)

At FOSS4G 2013 there were so many presentations and workshops that were always going to be clashes where 2 were taking place at the same time.  Choosing was difficult, but being a relative Open Source newbie, I decided that the workshops would give me a better insight into open source. The workshops were great, not just for the content, but also because they brought newbies together and we exchanged hints and tricks we had learned. It created a little support network.  I want to thank Paolo Cavallini, Anita Graser and Jeroen Ticheler for their time, clear material and help.

What do you intend to do after FOSS4G?

The knowledge that I have gained, the hints, links to projects, software discovery is going to benefit my studies immediately.  I’ll try to develop my thesis project through the OSGeo Live DVD (I’ve been struggling with the versions and interoperability of the different programs that I’ve tried to execute ’till now).

Taking inspiration from Paul Ramsey’s closing keynote, my contribution to the FOSS4G community will be to share the information and knowledge I have gained at FOSS4G 2013 with my Master students colleagues and the staff at the University. I’ll also try to keep updated on the evolution of the OSGeo software, data and projects that are relevant for my professional career.

Thanks for the great event and experience. I found the inspiration to get more involved and to support and spreading the OSGeo philosophy!

See you next year at FOSS4G Europe in Bremen.

FOSS4G 2013 academic bursaries were sponsored by EDINA. EDINA supports the use of spatial data in higher and further education in the UK.  EDINA relies heavily on free and open software to deliver its service and is proud to support FOSS4G 2013.



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It’s All Over!
Thanks to everyone who helped make FOSS4G 2013 a success!