Frank Warmerdam–Leading Open Geospatial Community By Action

Puneet Kishor, August 7th, 2013

Frank Warmerdam at CC HQ

Frank Warmerdam at CC HQ

What do you get when you write software that becomes the basis of just about every geospatial application out there? You get perspective. Frank Warmerdam has been authoring, improving, supporting, and shepherding Shapelib, libtiff, GDAL and OGR for the past 15 years. Frank believes that by sharing effort, by adopting open, cooperatively developed standards, and avoiding proprietary licenses, adoption of open technologies could be supercharged. And lucky for us, he is right. To paraphrase him, open standards facilitate communication, capture common practice, and externalize arbitrary decisions.

Frank has done it all — worked as an independent consultant, for a proprietary remote sensing company, for a large search engine and mapping company, and now for a small, innovative space hardware maker. But most importantly, he has been a leader in the open geospatial world, at the helm of the Open GeoSpatial Foundation (OSGeo) that I myself have been involved with as long as I have personally known Frank, that is, for a good part of the past decade.

While OSGeo has faced a number of challenges, it has also enjoyed tremendous success through growing number of projects and chapters, local conferences, being perceived as a legitimate player, and recently, getting representation in its Charter Membership from 37 countries.

Global distribution of OSGeo Charter Members

Global distribution of OSGeo Charter Members. Chart courtesy OSGeo.

Frank says working on data libraries is a grungy job. Everyone wants ‘em but no one wants to work on ‘em. We relate to that as licenses are kinda like that, an essential infrastructure play that require getting the legal and technical details right, yet are most effective when they recede in the background and make us enjoy the content to the fullest.

Per Frank, the next set of challenges revolve around getting open geodata with easy to understand, interoperable license terms. As micro-satellite imagery becomes ubiquitous with frequent imagery collects, the resulting flood of imagery may lead to more ready adoption of open terms, perhaps even a current, live, or almost-live global, medium resolution basemap for OpenStreetMap. We can dream, and with my friend Frank to lead us with his quiet actions and measured wisdom, our dreams will come true.

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University of California adopts system-wide open access policy

Timothy Vollmer, August 2nd, 2013

Today the University of California (UC) Academic Senate announced the adoption of a system-wide open access policy for future research articles generated by UC faculty. The articles will be made publicly available for free via UC’s eScholarship repository.

According to the press release, the University of California open access policy will cover 8,000 faculty who author approximately 40,000 articles each year. From the UC statement:

By granting a license to the University of California prior to any contractual arrangement with publishers, faculty members can now make their research widely and publicly available, re-use it for various purposes, or modify it for future research publications. Previously, publishers had sole control of the distribution of these articles.

It appears that authors will have the option of depositing their articles under open licenses, such as Creative Commons licenses. The FAQ says,

Uses of the article are governed by the copyright license under which it is distributed, and faculty authors choose which license to use at the point of deposit. Faculty members may choose to restrict commercial re-use by choosing a Creative Commons license with a “Non Commercial” (NC) restriction when they deposit their article; or they may choose to allow it by choosing a license like the “Attribution only” license (CC BY). If no license is specified, a non-commercial license will be used by default.

Faculty are also able to opt-out of the policy on a per-article basis, which may limit the effectiveness of the policy overall if opt-outs become commonplace.

The UC policy builds on existing open access policies in California, such as the one at UCSF. Here’s a link the full text of the policy. Congratulations to UC for passing this policy, and we hope that faculty will embrace sharing research articles under open licenses.

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CC News: The School of Open Is Back!

Elliot Harmon, July 24th, 2013

Creative Commons

Stay up to date with CC news by subscribing to our newsletter and following us on Twitter.

Top stories:

School of Open

Round 2 of the School of Open starts August 5! Sign up for courses on copyright for educators, open science, and much more.

The Future of Creative Commons

The first decade of CC is over; what’s next? In our new publication The Future of Creative Commons, we lay out the top priorities in all the areas where we work.

Free! Music! Contest

Hey, CC musicians! You have only one more week to enter the Free! Music! Contest!

Autodesk logo

Autodesk announced that its support and learning content for its 2014 product line is now available under Creative Commons licenses.

In other news:

If news like this is important to you, consider making a donation to Creative Commons.

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Join Team Open! CC seeks operations engineer

Elliot Harmon, July 24th, 2013

Engineering Department employees, 1962

Engineering Department employees, 1962
Seattle Municipal Archives / CC BY

We’re looking for an operations (DevOps) engineer to join us in creating next generation products and services that enable sharing, curating, remixing, and collaborating on open content.

The operations engineer is a full-time position reporting to the director of product strategy, and is a unique role which provides hands-on technical engineering of our server and application environments we use to provide rock-solid, scalable services to the public, while at the same time also working within the community to recruit and create trusted groups of DevOps volunteers. As such, the operations engineer works closely with the rest of the Products & Technology team, including other developers and user experience designers, as well as Creative Commons staff and particularly with community volunteers.

Read the full job description and instructions for applying.

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Autodesk invites users to remix its content

Elliot Harmon, July 23rd, 2013

This morning, Autodesk announced that its Media & Entertainment (M&E) support and learning content for its 2014 product line is now available under Creative Commons licenses; that’s 20,000 pages of documentation, 70 videos, and 140 downloadable 3D asset files under CC BY-NC-SA and CC BY-NC-ND licenses.

“Autodesk embracing Creative Commons licensing is a big win for Creative Commons, but more importantly, it’s a big win for the design community online. The power of the internet lies in how easy it is for people to share and build on each other’s work. CC licenses make that kind of sharing possible without the law getting in the way. In opening its resources, Autodesk is demonstrating that it understands the capacity for creativity and collaboration among its community of users.” – Creative Commons CEO Cathy Casserly

According to a press release that Autodesk released this morning, the Open Learning Initiative was actually a direct response to demands from the community of users of Autodesk products. Paul Duguay, a 3D and multimedia studies instructor at the Collège Communautaire du Nouveau-Brunswick in Canada, discovered a series of videos on the Autodesk 3ds Max Learning Channel that perfectly fit his curriculum needs. Duguay wanted to be able translate the audio into French and publish the videos on the college’s website. Autodesk started licensing its content under CC so that community members like Duguay could use the material to its full potential.

It’s fantastic to see an industry leader in design software choosing to open its documentation and training content to its community. Autodesk has also demonstrated its commitment to open by donating to Creative Commons at the Innovator level. Thank you to Autodesk for making an investment in a more creative, collaborative internet.

Read the full press release.

Update: Here’s some nice coverage by San Francisco Chronicle’s James Temple:

“For a company as prominent as Autodesk to do this, it sends an important signal to other major players: We think that’s a service to our customers we want to provide,” said Corynne McSherry, intellectual property director at the Electronic Frontier Foundation. “Hopefully other companies will then take a look and say, ‘Maybe we should do that too.’”

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Nordic CC Film Festival program announced

Elliot Harmon, July 22nd, 2013

You’ve already heard us talk about the the Nordic Creative Commons Film Festival the latest in a growing movement of CC filmmakers and festival organizers changing how films are funded, produced, and distributed. Last week, festival organizer María Ibáñez emailed me to let me know that the list of CC-licensed films featured in the festival has been announced.

One thing that makes NCCFF interesting is that anyone can host a screening. Last week, the organizers also launched a cool signup platform where you can select which films you’d like to screen and add your screening to the official calendar. More information here.

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School of Open, Round 2: Courses open for sign-up

Jane Park, July 22nd, 2013

Miss Boyer's Kindergarten Class, 1917
Miss Boyer’s Kindergarten Class, 1917 / UA Archives | Upper Arlington History / No known copyright restrictions

The School of Open is offering its second round of facilitated courses! Starting today, you can sign up for 7 courses during a two week period; sign-up closes 4 August (Sunday) and courses start on or after 5 August (Monday). All courses are free to take and open to reuse under the CC BY-SA license.

The School of Open is a community of volunteers from around the world passionate about peer learning, openness, and the intersection of the two. These volunteers helped launch the School of Open in March. And now they invite you to join them in the following courses.

To sign up for any of these courses, simply go to the course page and click ‘Start Course’ under its left Navigation column.*

    1. Copyright 4 Educators (AUS) (7 weeks) – This course is open to anyone in the world, but will focus on Australian copyright law as pertains to education. This course will equip Australian educators with the copyright knowledge to confidently use copyright material in the classroom. It will also introduce OER and teach you how to find and adapt free, useful resources for your classes. Facilitators: Delia Browne and Jessica Smith

    2. Copyright 4 Educators (US) (6 weeks) – This course is open to anyone in the world, but will focus on US copyright law as pertains to education. The course is taught around practical case scenarios faced by teachers when using copyright material in their day-to-day teaching. Facilitator: Laura Quilter

    3. Creative Commons for K-12 Educators (7 weeks) – This course will help K-12 educators find and adapt free, useful resources for their classes. It will also help them incorporate activities that teach their students digital world skills — such as finding, remixing, and sharing digital media and materials on the web. Facilitator: Jane Park

    4. Designing Collaborative Workshops (4 weeks) – This course brings together case studies of some great collaborative workshops that have been run in the past with an open invitation for you to share your own experiences with either running or participating in a workshop that worked well (or didn’t). Facilitators: Mick Fuzz and Jane Park

    5. Writing Wikipedia Articles: The Basics and Beyond (6 weeks) – If you can read Wikipedia, you can learn to build it! In this course, you will learn about the software, the rules, and the cultural values that drive and support this ubiquitous and community-built online encyclopedia. It will focus on articles about openness in education. Facilitators: Pete Forsyth and Sara Frank Bristow *This course runs on Wikipedia; follow instructions to sign up at the course page

    6. Open Science: An Introduction (4 weeks) – This course is a collaborative learning environment meant to introduce the idea of Open Science to young scientists, academics, and makers of all kinds. Facilitator: Billy Meinke

    7. Why Open? (4 weeks) – This course will facilitate discussion on the different meanings of openness, how openness applies to different domains, as well as participants’ views of what it means to do things openly. Participants will engage in open activities, and examine the benefits and potential issues with openness. Facilitators: Christina Hendricks, Simeon Oriko, Jeanette Lee, Pete Forsyth, and Jane Park

Too busy to take a course this time around? Don’t worry, we’re around for a while. Sign up to be notified when we launch our next round of facilitated courses, or take a stand-alone course at your own pace, at anytime.

Don’t see a course you want to take but are full of good ideas? Help us build the courses you want to see with others. Join the School of Open discussion list and introduce yourself and your “open” interest.

Forward this to your friends

Want to take a course with your friends? Do these 3 things and call it a day.

      1. Tweet this:

      Open for sign-up: free facilitated #schoolofopen courses on #OER #openscience #wikipedia #copyright #whyopen http://creativecommons.org/?p=39060

      2. Blog/forward this:

      School of Open, Round 2 is open for sign-up! Take a free, facilitated online course on open science, collaborative workshop design, open educational resources, copyright for educators, Wikipedia, CC licenses, why open? — and more! at http://schoolofopen.org/. Take this course with me: [link to course of your choice here]. Read more about the launch at http://creativecommons.org/weblog/entry/39060.

      3. Print out a copy of this pdf and pin it to the bulletin board at your work, school, or local coffee shop.

What is the School of Open?

school of open logo

School of Open
http://schoolofopen.org/
The School of Open is a community of volunteers focused on providing free education opportunities on the meaning, application, and impact of “openness” in the digital age and its benefit to creative endeavors, education, research, and more. Volunteers develop and run online courses and offline workshops on topics such as Creative Commons licenses, open educational resources, and sharing creative works. The School of Open is coordinated by Creative Commons and P2PU, an active peer learning platform and community for developing and running free online courses.


School of Open logo incorporates “Unlock” icon from The Noun Project collection under CC BY.

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Saylor Foundation launches open online K-12 courses

Cable Green, July 18th, 2013

Saylor K-12 Beta by The Saylor Foundation / CC BY

The Saylor Foundation recently launched a new K-12 program on Saylor.org, debuting courses for grades 6-12 in English language arts and mathematics. A team of experienced educators and staff are developing courses fully aligned to the US Common Core State Standards. Like Saylor’s college-level courses, the K-12 program incorporates open educational resources (OER), making the courses, as well as their contents, widely reusable by students, teachers, and parents nationwide. The course frameworks and instructions are available under a Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license. Thus, while the courses are ready for use as-is, anyone may also reuse, revise, remix, and redistribute their courses to meet local needs.

Following its higher education model, Saylor’s K-12 team focused on reviewing and vetting an existing pool of OER, selecting the best OER to develop instructions and learning outcomes. With Common Core standards providing a framework for each course, Saylor aims to make K-12 OER easy to find and use. Saylor is currently working on 18 additional courses which will be rolled out as they are completed.

How can you use K-12 courses on Saylor.org?

Teachers:

  • Flip your classroom without shooting your own videos. Saylor provides recommendations on their site.
  • Incorporate more engaging digital content in your class.

Schools:

  • Get current, openly licensed, Common Core–aligned materials for free.

Parents:

  • Provide extra resources to supplement what your kids learn in school.
  • Use self-contained curriculum for home-schooling families.
  • Accelerate or review subjects with your kids.

Students:

  • Do more challenging work. Your school might not offer calculus, but Saylor.org does!
  • Learn subjects in a different way and acclimate to an online learning environment.
  • Review material you learned in school.
  • Go further and prepare for your SATs/college (more on that on the site).
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Free! Music! Contest accepting submissions

Elliot Harmon, July 8th, 2013

Once again, our friends at Musikpiraten e.V. are hosting the annual Free! Music! Contest to find the best Creative Commons–licensed music of the year. CC is proud to serve as a partner in this year’s F!M!C.

From Musikpiraten e.V.:

Patron of this year’s contest is Victor Love, lead singer of the Italian cyperpunk band Dope Stars Inc.. In 2011, DSI separated from their label and released their album Ultrawired as a free download via The Pirate Bay. They had been the first band that had ever been featured with a “Doodle” on the BitTorrent search engine’s landing page. Since that release they have been playing worldwide on various festivals.

As in the last years, a double-CD packed to the brim with the best songs of the contest is going to be produced. A jury chooses the best tracks and takes care that the best of every genre is featured – from Trash Metal to Hip Hop and Blues, whatever the artists submit. Moreover, vouchers worth 100€ will be raffled among all participants – even the willingness to make one’s music free shall be rewarded! Last but not least, there will be a gig near Heidelberg to win. Due to travelling costs, this one is very likely to go to a band from Germany.

Read the full contest rules in English or German. Entries are due July 31.

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The Impact of Open Textbooks at OpenStax College

Cable Green, July 8th, 2013

OpenStax College, an initiative of Connexions, the open educational resources (OER) authoring project at Rice University, is creating high-quality, peer-reviewed open textbooks. All of OpenStax College’s books, including the art and illustrations, are available under the Creative Commons Attribution license (CC BY), allowing anyone to reuse, revise, remix and redistribute the books.

The first two OpenStax College books were published in June of 2012, and since then Introduction to Sociology and College Physics have been downloaded over 110,000 times, used by more than 1.5 million unique online learners, and adopted at over 200 schools. These adoptions represent real savings for over 30,000 students in classes around the world. OpenStax College estimates that it has saved these students more than $3 million (USD) so far.

OpenStax isn’t stopping there. Biology and its corresponding book for non-majors, Concepts of Biology, and Anatomy & Physiology have now been released and are ready for use in classes in the fourth quarter of 2013.

OpenStax College recently received grants to complete six more books from several major foundations, including the Laura and John Arnold Foundation, Hewlett Foundation, Kanzanjian Foundation and Lowenstein Foundation. The next phase will feature Introduction to Statistics, Pre-Calculus, Principles of Economics, U.S. History, Psychology, and Chemistry. These books are entering production now and are scheduled to be released by the end of 2014.

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