[Open-education] GeoforAll Newsletter and First “GeoForAll” lab of the month - Open Source Geospatial Lab , Kathmandu University, Nepal

Suchith Anand Suchith.Anand at nottingham.ac.uk
Fri Jul 31 23:42:48 UTC 2015

Dear Colleagues,

We are very happy to inform that the first Geo4All newsletter is now ready at  http://opensourcegeospatial.icaci.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/Newsletter-vol.-1-no.-1.pdf

Our sincere thanks to Dr. Nikos Lambrinos (Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Greece) for taking the initiative to start newsletter for GeoforAll and being the chief editor and his excellent team for making this newsletter possible. Thank you to Antoni, Ela, Emma, Sergio, Rizwan, Pavel, Alexey and Nikos for their help for the newsletter.

Thanks to the hardwork of our amazing colleagues and support from ICA, OSGeo, ISPRS ,  we have been growing rapidly (with over 100 Labs), it is timely that we have our newsletter to share the many developments, events, activities etc from all members. It is also our great pleasure to use this opportunity to highlight the contributions of one lab in each newsletter issue to help all of us learn more about our members, share ideas and build collaborations for the future.

It is my great pleasure, to introduce our colleagues at the Open Source Geospatial Lab , Kathmandu University, Nepal [1],[2] as our first “GeoForAll” lab of the month. We are especially grateful for the work and relief efforts done (and still doing) after the terrible earthquakes by our colleagues in Kathmandu University lead by Dr Shashish Maharjan in these challenging circumstances and may God help them to help others in need. Their whole team along with many students and volunteers were key in helping the recovery efforts.

Our focus in addition to Universities and Higher Education is also on "Teacher Training programs" and accelerating the establishment of small GeoForAll labs (with access to internet) even in the poorest and remotest schools worldwide to enable quality education opportunities for all. These "GeoForAll" labs (tablets or low cost hardware based) in addition to help teach geoeducation will be help bring quality teaching and learning opportunities for all. Technology is a big leveller and enabler for the poorer sections of the society to also be part of the global economy and we should not allow creation of artificial barriers (being forced to buy high cost proprietary software) to deny this opportunity for the bottom billions. It is their right to also be part of the digital opportunities.

One of the important decisions made at Como meeting during FOSS4G 2015 Europe was to welcome Governments, Industry, SME's, NGOs etc who support GeoForAll's education mission and criteria to join us as "Partners", so we have global network of Open Geospatial Science Research and Education ‘Labs’ and ‘Partners’ to expand more collaborations for the future. We will bring together all key players (Government organizations, Industry, SMEs, NGOs) on the common mission of education and opportunities for all.

In spite of all the economic & technological developments, it is a sad fact that thousands of schools globally (esp. in developing countries) even today do not have access to even a single computer. Many of these poor schools do not even have a proper library.  I am confident if we keep focus, we can achieve the target to enable digital education opportunities (tablets or low cost hardware based) in many of the poorest schools globally in just 10 years time and having this partnership with universities, governments, Industry, SMEs and NGOs is key for this. So even if till now many of these schools did not have access to any proper library or other learning resources, they will now have access to the best digital education resources available globally from wikipedia to MOOCs.

Thanks to the unique convergence of some key developments (hardware costs will keep decreasing, internet access will keep increasing even in developing and poor countries, availability of free and open source software, open education resources etc.), we are in the first time in history truly have a real opportunity for making quality education opportunities accessible for all. I have seen this already happening even in some poor government schools in rural India and also many examples in our GeoForAll community from gvSIG Batovi in Uruguay [3] to GIS at Schools [4] etc, has proved that it is possible if we have the will power and determination.

I am fully confident that if we are able to focus and bring together the amazing energies and reach of the wider community for our education mission, it will be game changer not just for Geoeducation but for the wider Education also. Access to quality education and opportunities is key for getting rid of extreme poverty and enable broadly shared prosperity for all.

                      Education + Empowerment = Geo4All

GeoForAll [5] aims to welcome ideas from the wider community on how we can work together for building global synergies and collaborations for enabling this even for the poorest and remotest schools worldwide to enable quality education opportunities for all.

We look forward to working and building collaborations with all interested on this education mission.

Best wishes,


[1] https://sites.google.com/a/ku.edu.np/opensourcegeospatial/
[2] https://geospatiallab.wordpress.com
[3] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=orwN9K07XPo
[4] http://www.edugis.pl/en/images/stories/guide/gis-at-school.pdf
[5] http://www.geoforall.org

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