Geo for All – Open Principles in GeoEducation and Science

By Suchith Anand

On behalf of the Geo for All community, I wish to send our greetings to colleagues in Brazil on the 20th anniversary of the SciELO (Scientific Electronic Library Online). It is great to know that the SciELO Program will celebrate 20 years of operation, in full alignment with the advances of open science. I applaud the alignment of SciELO journals and operations with the best practices on communication of open science, such as publishing research data, maximizing the transparency of research evaluation and the flow of scholarly communication.

I would like to take this opportunity to introduce you to Geo for All initiative and welcome all interested to join us. Central to Geo for All mission is the belief that knowledge is a public good and Open Principles in Education will provide great opportunities for everyone. The key ingredients that make Open Geospatial Science possible are enshrined in Open Principles, i.e: Open Source geospatial software, Open data, Open standards, Open educational resources, and Open access to research publications. The aim of this initiative is to create openness in geo education and to encourage the flair and creativity that is so critical to society’s wellbeing, both now and in the future. Geo for All is an outreach programme initiated by scientists and academics as a means of laying down strong foundations for Open Geospatial Science. The initiative now has dedicated research labs worldwide and dedicated journals to advance the discipline of Open Geospatial Science.

Though the members of our community hail from many different backgrounds, we all seek to eliminate the digital divide and empower all as full citizens and contribute to building up Open Knowledge for the benefit of the whole society and for our future generations. We would to like to thank all educators worldwide who have made contributions to open education efforts and are being good global citizens by helping spread the benefits of education to all.

The last decade has seen a rapid growth in open source geospatial software and open data developments. Building upon the broader progress in open science, the synergies in the developments in open source geospatial software, open data, open standards, open hardware and open access to research publications have been key in accelerating the advancement for open geospatial science and applications. A combination of factors are driving this momentum, including the contributions made by hundreds of developers and the leading role played by the Open Source Geospatial Foundation (OSGeo), aiming primarily to support and promote the collaborative development of open source geospatial technologies and data. For the geospatial community this has offered exciting opportunities for expanding both research and education for the future. By combining the potential of free and open GI software, open data, open standards, open access to research publications, open hardware, etc. it’s possible to enable the creation of a sustainable innovation ecosystem for advancing the discipline and accelerating new discoveries to help solve global cross disciplinary societal challenges from climate change mitigation to sustainable cities. A networked approach is essential to formally bring expert researchers, scientists, stakeholders, and so on together to help solve global cross-disciplinary societal challenges. Transparency of research is fundamental to scientific advancement (no “black boxes” or proprietary barriers), and geospatial science should always be open and inclusive.

Service for the benefit and betterment of humanity is a key fundamental principle of Geo for All and we want to contribute and focus our efforts for the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. 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.), for the first time in history we are truly able to make opportunities for quality education accessible for all. There are many examples in our Geo for All community, from gvSIG Batoví in Uruguay to the use of Geographic Information Systems (GIS) at schools in Poland, who have proved that it is possible if we have the will, power, and determination. Access to quality education and opportunities is key for getting rid of extreme poverty and to enable broadly shared prosperity for all. Geo for All aims to welcome ideas from the wider community on how we can work together in order to build global synergies and collaborations enabling this even for the poorest and remotest schools worldwide allowing for quality education opportunities for all. We welcome everyone interested to join synergies and work together supporting open principles in geo education and enabing geo technologies to empower communities and help improving the quality of life and standards of living for everyone. Let us all work together to help create a world that is more accessible, equitable, and full of innovation and opportunities for everyone.

We look forward to working and building collaborations with all interested on this open education mission. Access to quality education and opportunities is key for getting rid of extreme poverty and enabling broadly shared prosperity for all.

External links

Geo for All <>

Open Geospatial Data, Software and Standards <>

Special issue “Open Geospatial Science and Applications” of ISPRS International Journal of Geo-Information <>


About Suchith Anand 

Suchith Anand is the founding chair of the ICA Commission on Open Source Geospatial Technologies and founding chair of Geospatial IG of Research Data Alliance. He is leading open geospatial science through the establishment of Open Source Geospatial Labs/Research Centres in key universities worldwide as part of the Geo for All initiative. He is also member of Working Groups on Open Education and Open Science of the Open Knowledge Foundation. He established the Open Source Geospatial Lab at the University of Nottingham under MoU with the Open Source Geospatial Foundation. He is one of the founders of the Open Source GIS Summer School initiative and the Geospatial Open Source, Open Standards, Open Data e-learning initiative. He is reviewer for various funding councils (EU, RCUK etc) and number of leading GIS journals (such as the International Journal for Geographical Information Science, Computers and Geosciences, etc). He is also in the scientific committees of many international conferences and serves on the Editorial Board of GIS Professional. He is also invited speaker for many conferences and universities. He is involved in many EC funded research (GIS4EU, ISSUE , GI-N2K, GEOTHNK, etc), involved in supervising PhD students and also external examiner for PhD (both UK universities and other EU universities), etc . His research interests and publications are in automated generalization, metaheuristic optimization techniques (simulated annealing, genetic algorithms, hill climbing, tabu search, etc), location based services, linked data, HealthGIS, AgriGIS, open source, open standards, open data, and data harmonization research. His mission is to build up open source, open standards, open data research for bridging the digital divide.


Como citar este post [ISO 690/2010]:

ANAND, S. Geo for All – Open Principles in GeoEducation and Science [online]. SciELO in Perspective, 2018 [viewed ]. Available from:


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