Following extensive flooding in the UK there is increasing pressure on the Environment Agency, the government agency tasked with national flood protection, to release open data rather than charging licence fees. These are major geo datasets which effect much of the UK population.
A 'Floodhack' hack day was held at Google Campus, London 16 Feb in conjunction with the EA, the Open Data Institute, and the Cabinet Office. This gained a lot of mainstream press such as the BBC and The Guardian.
During the hack the EA released some of its flood warning feeds for 3 months. Now there are calls by open data activists to go further.
One of the key speakers at this FOSS4G 2011 Denver conference which impressed the crowd (and me as well!) was Brian Timoney. He did not use big “digital slide presentation”, he just let his own passion to geospatial speaks by it self. On Tuesday, he exposed in a simple way without any slides presentation: how the federal government with its GeoSpatialOneStop web portal was outdated, why it was not suitable in the evolving market of today and how public organisation such as NGA and the military industry is driving the FOSS4G world in the USA. He pointed out that during the Hurricane Irene along the East Coast only pdf type of maps were released to the public to help themselves to know which area were asked to evacuate. It was a really good presentation by Brian as well as its implication in the workshop related to Business of Open source. I hope his ideas might open the minds of some people outside the FOSS4G environment to look at open source software not only military and defence type of organisation, so it can be integrated into others types of organisation in the geospatial world!
The official MapQuest blog introduces open.mapquest.com.
From the announcement: "After the successful launches of 10 open-sourced maps in Europe and Asia in partnership with OpenStreetMap (OSM), MapQuest is proud to launch its U.S. site located at Open.Mapquest.com. [...] Open.Mapquest.com provides the same features as our 10 sites in Europe and Asia, and also debuts a new error-reporting tool (which has been added to all of MapQuest’s open sites). For many, this tool may be their first step in becoming OSM contributors."