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This is a presentation I gave at the OKCon on a Meetup on GeoData moderated by Hannes Gassert, Open Knowledge Foundation Switzerland and with Barbara J. Ryan, Secretariat Director of the intergovernmental Group on Earth Observations (GEO), former Director of the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) Space Programme, Francesco Pisano, Director of Research United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR), responsible for UNOSAT, Emanuele Gennai, Esri Global Affairs Executive as panelists.
Geographic data has become key for a wide range of applications: almost everything people do happens in space. Understanding a city, a refugee camp, or an illegal settlement would not be possible without well managed geodata. Such geo data thus is very valuable indeed, and is considered proprietary, although it’s usually captured and managed with public effort. On the other hand everybody with a GPS device can become an online map maker almost instantly, and powerful community efforts have already created impressive results. During humanitarian or environmental crises, readily available open data and data sharing is needed urgently, and at scale – better data fast literally saves lives, and collaborative efforts are very much needed for an effective disaster response. This meetup brought together four panelists, each of them having unique geo data stories to share. Panelists were asked how open geodata is important to their activities, how they managed to achieve open geodata goals, and what challenges they faced while developing open geodata policies and systems.