Calling All Lobbyists?

Via All Points Blog, I read this article concerning the geospatial Line of Business in the federal government, and found an interesting invitation:

"Think big, propose big ideas," Young said. "Let's hear where you failed so we don't replicate that going forward."

I'll leave it to other visionary lobbyists to propose sole-sourcing the federal geospatial enterprise, or converting our surging prison population (we're #1) into map digitization chain-gangs. If you want to pitch one of these ideas, you're welcome, but please do throw me a small bone. We'll go for lunch and a brace of martinis at whatever Washington restaurant is filling the void left by the closure of Signatures.

I have bolder ideas yet. The GSA wants big? I can go big:

Open Source: mandate the use of open source software in the geospatial LoB.

Open Standards: this is what allows a diversity of applications to work together, and prevents vendor lock-in.

Open Systems: the internet, from which we can not separate geospatial interests, is supposed to be distributed, decentralized, and even a bit anarchic. Consolidation is counter-productive. If anything, we need more participants in the geospatial community, and federal funding should go towards increasing the diversity of connections between agencies (government or civic) and citizens. More mash-ups, more peer-to-peer; fewer repositories, fewer one-stops.


Re: Calling All Lobbyists?

Author: Brian Flood

hi Sean assuming you're comments above are not completely tongue-in-cheek :) mandating Open Standards makes complete sense but why would you mandate Open Source? It's an option just like commercial software but I'm not sure why you would exclude one over the other (what ever happened in the MA state govt anyway?) on another note, Mapnik's use of the AGG library is quite nice. Excellent quality maps. Do you know why MGOS didn't use this library? Seems like they missed a good oportunity there... cheers brian

Re: Calling All Lobbyists?

Author: Sean

On mandating open source: I have to take a pretty hard line initially to give myself room to bargain, right? Others are just as free to insist (with far too much success) that the federal government be COTS only. I think most people are comfortable somewhere in between. Why didn't Autodesk go with Anti-Grain? Maybe it's that the license isn't OSI approved, or maybe Autodesk wanted to save sexier graphics for their commercial version. When I take off my hacker hat and start to think like a product manager, I can think of a bunch of plausible explanations.

Re: Calling All Lobbyists?

Author: GeoMullah

Say, that picture looks vaguely familiar? Say, is that my office? Wait. That is my office!

Re: Calling All Lobbyists?

Author: Chris Holmes

As part of OSGeo I'm looking to put together a response to this (unfortunately I couldn't go to the practitioner day thing). In true open source fashion, all our welcome to contribute (and I'm looking to be a lot more swamped than I thought I would be). See the page at the OSGeo wiki.