Views from the 2018 GeoNode Summit

Continuing on its encouraging trajectory, and following the publication on investments in open source software, the 2018 GeoNode Summit welcomed many new and regular contributors to Torino, Italy from March 26-28. The Summit, hosted by ITHACA, was a chance for the community to share knowledge, ideas, and use cases for GeoNode – a free and open source software for creating websites to manage and share geospatial data. GFDRR has supported the growth of GeoNode since 2010, by investing in code development, training and community building. Today GeoNode is used in many official government websites to manage geospatial data locally as part of OpenDRI projects.

2018 GeoNode Summit participants representing more than 20 countries

The Summit showed us that the GeoNode community is growing, with more than 60 developers and users participating from 20 countries, including World Bank client countries Bangladesh, Madagascar, Malawi, Nepal and Uganda. Summit participants included representatives from World Food Programme, World Bank, Médecins Sans Frontières, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and the private sector.

The Summit began with a day of educational workshops for both developers and users of the platform. The second day was dedicated to presentations in which participants shared their experiences using and extending GeoNode. These talks covered a wide range of examples, from deploying GeoNode in low and middle-income countries to implementation of new features and more technical uses. Technical presentations demonstrated (1) the integration of GeoNode with QGIS 3, (2) running third-party flood models via a GeoNode front end, and (3) the use of Docker software to simplify installation. Newcomers at the Summit were provided a snapshot of the rich history of GeoNode’s evolution since 2010.

geonode workshopThe third day saw sessions on governance, a code sprint, and a human-centred design workshop. The design workshop followed recommendations made in the open source investment report, which insists that investment in user-centred design and documentation are key for open source communities. Stay tuned for a separate blog post detailing the activities and insights from this workshop.

The code sprint focussed on finalizing the GeoNode version 2.8 release, which includes exciting features such as the new metadata wizard editor, a role-based data publication workflow, full compatibility with QGIS styles, and many bug fixes. A new governance model for the GeoNode project is now being defined. A Project Steering Committee (PSC) will be set up this month to accommodate the expanding set of actors, including developers and other active members of the community. This new structure will ensure a better technical foundation, outreach coordination, and leadership for GeoNode.

The Summit ended with a roadmap discussion for working towards GeoNode 3.0. To ensure GeoNode continues to make the most of latest technology trends, developers are launching an initiative to modernize the code base using a more flexible architecture that follows current development best practices, including an API-first approach, micro services, and compliance with new Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC) international standards. These updates will ensure GeoNode’s stability, extensibility, ease of deployment, and integration with other geospatial systems.

The success of the 2018 Summit is testament to growing demand for GeoNode as the open source platform of choice for managing and sharing geospatial data. Such in-person gatherings are invaluable opportunities for the globally distributed project community to share experiences, get to know each other, cross-pollinate ideas, and create a roadmap. There’s an exciting, healthy future for GeoNode – find out how you can get involved!