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friday :: may 27, 2005
geoserver: open access to geographic data

High quality information about public spaces is just as much a public good as the public spaces themselves. Quality of life in public places - both built and natural - is largely determined by how well we, as a society, process and interpret the signals that this information sends us. By definition, data about human interaction with the environment has a geographic component; for this reason, at the GeoServer project, they are particularly interested in effectively sharing geographic data.

In general, this public geographic data is now stored and maintained in such a way that it is available to the public only at a relatively high cost of acquisition and integration. Perhaps even worse, this is also true for inter- and intra agency data sharing. Anyone who has ever had the need to use public geographic data is well aware that this is a non-trivial process. Furthermore, the public sector has yet to embrace a concept of a distributed and consistent stewardship of public geographic data.

We believe that this organizational paradigm stems from legacy technology that made it nigh impossible to interoperate at reasonable costs. However, with increasing ubiquity of physical data connection and the advent of new web service and data transfer standards, the technological possibilities have expanded. In the geographic data arena, the commendable work of the OpenGIS Consortium and its member organizations have provided the standards framework with which to solve these problems. The GeoServer project is an attempt to take some of the most relevant pieces of this framework and actualize them in a way that positively impacts the public sector's ability to act as a steward for public information.

At the GeoServer project, they don't believe in simply harassing the public sector to provide more open and seamless access to public information; overworked public servants get griped at enough from the public as it is. Instead, they offer the GeoServer project as a solution to them and others who would like to open access to geographic data resources of all kinds. It is their hope that this free, standards compliant server will allow for a better flow of geographic information by lowering the barriers to data providers who might not otherwise be inclined to serve their data.

The end result of all of this, as they see it, will be a powerful platform for enabling greater communication of public information from the within the public sector itself, from public sector to citizens, and between increasingly active online citizen communities. In fact, their primary aim is to help enable a critical mass of online, standards-based geographic data. They believe that once enough data is online, the resultant positive network externalities will lead to an upward spiral of geographic communication and a radically increased ability to understand and make decisions about our environment. If you share this vision, please join by developing or using the Geoserver project! >from *Geoserver project site*.

related context
some new mapping services: google maps (beta), yahoo! maps, driving directions, and traffic, A9.com yellow pages, msn virtual earth
> mapping hacks by schuyler erle, rich gibson, and jo walsh
> OpenStreetMap. the free wiki world map, a free editable map of the whole world.
> OpenGuides. a network of free, community-maintained 'wiki' city guides to which anyone can contribute.
> GeoURL. a location-to-URL reverse directory
> land/mark : locative media and photography. exhibition, april 8 - may 5, 2005
> mapping. 'the map is perhaps the quintessential meeting place of art and science.' exhibition, march 21 april 22, 2005.
> plan: pervasive and locative arts network. january 28, 2005. report by naomi spellman

operator views geographic display of geoserver

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