Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Summer of Coders at FOSS4G

Google was a proud sponsor of the annual Free and Open Source Software
for Geospatial, aka FOSS4G conference, held this year in Victoria Canada in late September. We used our booth space in the exhibit hall to showcase the work of five of Summer of Code students who worked on geospatial related projects, all under the auspices of OSGeo, an umbrella organization for the Open Source Geospatial community:

Hans Haggstrom - 3D Rendering Pipeline for GeoTools
Jan Jezek - New Transformation Algorithms for GeoTools and uDig
Petr Pridal Klokan - GDAL2Tiles - Utility for easy tile-based
publishing of raster maps and KML SuperOverlay
Christophe Rousson - Caching data in uDig
Chris Whitney - JTileCache

The students also had a chance to demo their work alongside Googler James McGill in the Demo Theatre.

Two of the students have contributed blog posts on their experience with SOC and at FOSS4G - here are their stories:

Chris Whitney writes:

When I began my Summer of Code project, I was largely unaware of both the technical and the organizational aspects of open source geospatial software. At the FOSS4G 2007 Conference, I realized that both the user and developer communities supporting open source geospatial are large and diverse, including major governmental, scientific, and user-focused applications. The booths, demos, and presentations were all very interesting and informative. Meeting many of the projects' developers in person was a unique experience-- I now have faces to go along with the mailing list personalities.

I also had the opportunity to demo my Summer of Code project, JTileCache, at the Google booth, and in the demo theater. JTileCache is a Web Map Service (WMS) image tile cache written as a Java servlet. The project is available at code.google.com. My demo at FOSS4G was a user interface speed comparison between serving image tiles directly from Geoserver, versus serving the image tiles from the cache. (Obviously, the cache should make the tiles load faster.) Overall, response to the project was positive, and will encourage me to continue improving JTileCache. My mentoring organization, Geoserver, has been a great help and support throughout my Summer of Code experience. Attending FOSS4G 2007 provided strong motivation for me to continue working on JTileCache and participating in the open source geospatial community.

Jan Jezek - GSoC + FOSS4G; My story

After finishing master studies in Geodesy and Cartography at the
Czech Technical University in Prague I've started Ph.D. studies mostly because the open source software for geospatial interested me a lot. I've applied for a few student projects in my country (Czech Republic) but usually without success and also the offer of such projects for students was quite poor. So I started to be little bit frustrated because of that.

GSoC has helped me in several ways:
- I've realized that open source communities are friendly (maybe a little bit more than some lecturers :-)
- I've finally get time and motivation to learn things that I've been interested in for a long time, but still wasn't able to look deeper into them.
- It was nice to finally work on project that is having real users and to get constructive feedback from other core developers and not least;
- to be accordingly honoured for the work by Google and to have a chance to demo my work at FOSS4G.

Finally the best thing was to take a trip and see all the people from the mail lists face to face at the FOSS4G conference in Victoria. Yes, this summer was nice! Thanks Google for helping me to find my way!

Our thanks to Jan and Chris for the bloggage, their time and effort at FOSS4G, and all their hard work on their SoC projects. If you'll be giving a presentation about your Summer of Code activities or have recently attended a great conference, post a comment and let us know!

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