By Cristiano Giovando
The 2016 GeoNode Summit was the largest gathering to date of developers and users of the popular geospatial data sharing software GeoNode. The event, organized and hosted by the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP), took place in Rome between November 28th and December 2nd. Over 40 participants – from government representatives, to private sector software developers, international NGO program managers, and researchers from universities – came together from five continents for the week-long event.
GeoNode is a free and open source software that allows online sharing of geospatial data. GFDRR has been supporting the growth of GeoNode since the beginning of the project in 2010, by investing in code development, training and community building. Today GeoNode is used in many official government websites across the world supporting the implementation of successful open data initiatives.
The summit was the perfect opportunity for everyone to share their experience in using and contributing to GeoNode. The week started with two days of hands-on working sessions where participants discussed ongoing and proposed GeoNode project developments. These included:
– Strategies for coordinating contributions to the official documentation by many organizations producing GeoNode training materials;
– A plan for social media engagement around the success stories of GeoNode users;
– New tools for making installations of the software easier and more efficient, in particular for automatically deploying in cloud environments;
– Ongoing efforts for bridging desktop mapping software like Quantum GIS with GeoNode, to enable a seamless workflow for publishing maps and layers authored locally;
– Integration with other data platforms such as the Humanitarian Data Exchange (HDX).
Wednesday was dedicated to more formal presentations, during which the GFDRR team shared success stories on building communities and partner capacity through the use of GeoNode. In countries like Malawi and Sri Lanka, GFDRR has supported the local government in building online platforms that are used everyday for managing and sharing critical geospatial data. By training local developers and GIS managers in using GeoNode, GFDRR is enabling these countries to maintain, customize and extend data sharing platforms for more informed decision making and disaster management.
Several other organizations also showcased how GeoNode is being used and extended:
WFP GeoNode supporting the UN agency’s global and in-country operations;
– the Activation Viewer of the European Commission’s Copernicus Emergency Management Service providing information for emergency response activities;
– a GeoNode created by the U.S. Department of State for the Secondary Cities project;
– WorldMap, a collaboratively edited, multilingual, free internet mapping media site open to everyone and housed at the Center for Geographic Analysis at Harvard University.
The second part of the day included technical presentations by developers around custom GeoNode developments, such as the GFDRR’s sponsored GeoSAFE which makes InaSAFE’s hazard modeling functionalities available through a web application. A full list of presentations can be found on the summit schedule web page.
The last two days focused on discussing the general project roadmap and prioritizing features for upcoming releases in the 2.5 series. A major 2.6 version, expected for 2017, will include new security permission and authentication features, allowing more flexible and secure GeoNode installations. There is a lot in the pipeline for this exciting project and its vibrant community. Follow @GeoNode on Twitter or join the user mailing list for the latest!