Open source inspired workflows 
for open (and closed) geospatial data

19d03ecc1ff5da1a5e63a3ddaa2d84c2?s=47 Ben Balter
October 15, 2015

Open source inspired workflows 
for open (and closed) geospatial data

Open source software is produced by distributed teams rarely in the same place at the same time, rarely working on the same thing at the same time, yet they consistently produce better results than their closed source and proprietary counterparts. A big part of their continued success is open source's unique workflow and tools. What would it look like to treat geospatial data with the same respect that open source developers treat their code? What if we took the tools and workflows of open source and used them to create collaborative geospatial tools and datasets, even if that data was ultimately never public?

19d03ecc1ff5da1a5e63a3ddaa2d84c2?s=128

Ben Balter

October 15, 2015
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  1. ! Open source inspired workflows 
 for open (and closed)

    geospatial data @benbalter government@github.com government.github.com
  2. ! 1. How open source got here 2. Where geodata

    is today 3. What data publishers can learn
  3. ! Open source ≠ published code

  4. ! Open source as a philosophy

  5. ! Open Source (software)
 software that can be freely used,

    modified, and shared 
 (in both modified and unmodified form) by anyone
  6. ! Open Source
 a philosophy of collaboration in which working

    materials are made available online for anyone to fork, modify, discuss, and contribute to.
  7. ! Open source as a workflow

  8. ! Open source workflows must be location- and time-agnostic

  9. ! Wikipedia v. Encyclopedia Britannica

  10. ! A brief history of 
 open source tooling

  11. ! In the beginning, we had drawers

  12. PDP-1 (or so I’m told)

  13. Open source at the Tech Model Railroad Club

  14. ! We eventually upgraded to email

  15. ! ...and FTP

  16. ! ...and the read-only web

  17. ! 1. Had to be there 2. Had to know

    them 3. Had to be perfect
  18. ! This is where (geo)data is today

  19. ! Computering is hard

  20. None
  21. ! You are constantly one character away from crashing the

    entire site
  22. Version Control * 2d96cfe - (HEAD, tag: v3.1.1, origin/master, origin/HEAD,

    master) :gem: bump (43 minutes ago) <Ben Balter> * f4b446b - remove stray backtick (44 minutes ago) <Ben Balter> * 83599e3 - Merge branch 'master' of https://github.com/benbalter/g-man (46 minutes ago) <Ben Balter> |\ | * 42514ea - Merge pull request #61 from devscott/laxco (50 minutes ago) <Ben Balter> | |\ | | * 072d9b5 - Adding in additional entry for La Crosse County, WI (54 minutes ago) <Scott Sloan> | |/ * | 1e95d95 - remove unresolvable domains (46 minutes ago) <Ben Balter> * | 1a8645a - remove uwyo.edu/CES (86 minutes ago) <Ben Balter> |/ * 70410ba - Merge pull request #60 from jpmckinney/canada (2 hours ago) <Ben Balter> |\ | * a77ad43 - Use consistent comments for Canada hosts (2 hours ago) <James McKinney> | * 1776e45 - Add more Canadian hosts (2 hours ago) <James McKinney> * | 05211a0 - Merge pull request #58 from mitio/bulgarian-government-domains (3 hours ago) <Ben Balter> |\ \ | * | fe8f862 - Add Bulgaria's government main domain (3 hours ago) <Dimitar Dimitrov> | |/ * | 85d0c7b - Merge pull request #59 from mitio/fix-readme-typos (3 hours ago) <Ben Balter> |\ \ | |/ |/| | * f558a90 - Add missing word in the readme (3 hours ago) <Dimitar Dimitrov>
  23. ! Version control tracks who made what change when

  24. ! Author publishes User downloads User finds a bug User

    submits 
 a patch
  25. ! Is this a bug? Has anyone else experienced this?

    Is this the best solution?
 Can someone help test this? Can you release a new version with the fix? Email all the things!
  26. ! The instructions to contribute to the linux kernel is

    50,000 words
  27. ! Collaborative version control Decentralized & social

  28. ! Decentralized Everyone has the opportunity to contribute

  29. ! Social Everything happens in the open and by people

  30. ! Standardized Don't need to RTFM

  31. ! Captures and exposes process Proposed alternatives, what decision was

    made, why
  32. ! Is this a bug? Has anyone else experienced this?

    Is this the best solution?
 Can someone help test this? Can you release a new version with the fix? (Google and then) post all the things!
  33. ! "Anyone is encouraged to contribute to the project by

    forking and submitting a pull request. (If you are new to GitHub, you might start with a basic tutorial.)" Contributing to whitehouse/petitions
  34. ! Open source ≠ published code

  35. ! Open source ≠ published code

  36. ! Open source ≠ published code

  37. ! Three lessons geodata can 
 learn from open source

  38. ! 1. Prefer open formats to increase potential for data

    consumers
  39. ! Purpose-built, proprietary tools

  40. None
  41. Shapefile GeoJSON

  42. ! 2. Adopt shared standards

  43. None
  44. ! Foster Open standards

  45. None
  46. ! 3. Free tightly held data

  47. ! Published data

  48. None
  49. ! Open data

  50. None
  51. ! Collaborative data

  52. None
  53. ! Bonus: collaborative tools

  54. None
  55. ! Your first (or second) step

  56. ! Don't make multi-year, multi-million dollar investments on a hunch

    for what developers might find useful
  57. ! 1. Establish a "data" repository

  58. ! 2. Publish all the data you can

  59. None
  60. None
  61. None
  62. None
  63. ! Open source inspired workflows 
 for open (and closed)

    geospatial data @benbalter government@github.com government.github.com
  64. ‣ PDP-1 — flickr.com/photos/hiddenloop/307119987/ ‣ Punch Card Decks — mehul

    panchal, via Wikimedia Commons Photo credits