[Open-education] GeoAmbassador– Professor Charlie Schweik

Suchith Anand Suchith.Anand at nottingham.ac.uk
Sat Dec 2 14:38:10 UTC 2017

Dear colleagues,

On behalf of GeoForAll community , it is my great pleasure to honour Charles (Charlie) Schweik  as our GeoAmbassador. Charlie Schweik is a full professor at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, USA in a joint appointment between the Department of Environmental Conservation and the School of Public Policy.

Charlie has an undergraduate degree in Computer Science, a Masters of Public Administration from Syracuse University, and a PhD in Public Policy from Indiana University. At UMass, since 1999 he’s offered regularly an introduction to Geographic Information Systems to undergraduate and graduate students in natural resource conservation majors, as well as to students in UMass’ Masters of Public Policy and Administration program. Schweik began his research career studying landcover change -- usually deforestation or reforestation -- using GIS and Landsat satellite-based remote sensing, and connecting that to the social science study of natural resource “commons” governance and management. But beginning around the year 1998, his computer science background converged with this interest in commons and common property regimes, when he first heard the phrases “Free/Libre” or “Open Source” software. Since then, much of his research has focused on the study of Free/Libre and Open Source Software (FLOSS) as a form of Internet-based collective action. In 2012, he published his book, Internet Success: A Study of Open Source Software Commons (MIT Press) [1], which included a statistical analysis of over 170,000 open source software projects, looking for factors that lead projects either to ongoing collaboration or project abandonment. One of the chapters in the book studied qualitatively six OSGeo projects, investigating similarities and differences in the way they are governed and managed. Among other things, he learned from this study that open source software collaboration is not about the establishment of large development teams, but are usually made up of smaller teams of two to three developers with an interest or a “user-centered need” for that software. He also discovered that more than half of the successful ongoing collaborations in his dataset gained a developer from another continent [2]. Since completing that work, Schweik continues to expand his interest in the potential and promise of global Internet-based collaboration in the development of open source scientific hardware and in open educational resources (OER).

Most recently, he gave a GeoForAll webinar [3] where he emphasized the untapped potential of the GeoForAll network in online collaboration in Free and Open Source for Geospatial research and education, and is actively trying to encourage educators and geospatial scientists at GeoForAll labs to find areas of mutual need and interest, to start cross-lab collaborations in FOSS4G-related research or educational content development. GeoForAll lab members with an interest in collaborating with another lab on educational material, make your interests known by entering a record in the OSGeo wiki table at https://tinyurl.com/GFA-collaborations     or contacting Charlie directly at cschweik at umass.edu

GeoForAll is committed to work towards the vision of the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development for building a better world for everyone. Open Education is the simple and powerful idea that the world’s knowledge is a public good and that technology in general and the internet in particular provide an extraordinary opportunity for everyone to share, use, and reuse knowledge. Openness is key for true empowerment and sustainability.

We are proud to honor Charlie as our GeoAmbassador and we are extremely grateful for his contributions to GeoForAll.

Best wishes,


[1] e-book freely available for download at https://works.bepress.com/charles_schweik/29/
[2] https://www.thecommonsjournal.org/articles/10.18352/ijc.397/
[3] https://youtu.be/dVCDME7cxUA

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