The International Archives of the Photogrammetry, Remote Sensing and Spatial Information Sciences
Publications Copernicus
Articles | Volume XLI-B6
17 Jun 2016
 | 17 Jun 2016


T. U. R. Khan, P. Davis, and F.-J. Behr

Keywords: Geospatial certification, Open Source, Geospatial Technology Competency Model, OSGeo

Abstract. The geospatial industry is forecasted to have an enormous growth in the forthcoming years and an extended need for well-educated workforce. Hence ongoing education and training play an important role in the professional life. Parallel, in the geospatial and IT arena as well in the political discussion and legislation Open Source solutions, open data proliferation, and the use of open standards have an increasing significance. Based on the Memorandum of Understanding between International Cartographic Association, OSGeo Foundation, and ISPRS this development led to the implementation of the ICA-OSGeo-Lab imitative with its mission “Making geospatial education and opportunities accessible to all”. Discussions in this initiative and the growth and maturity of geospatial Open Source software initiated the idea to develop a framework for a worldwide applicable Open Source certification approach.

Generic and geospatial certification approaches are already offered by numerous organisations, i.e., GIS Certification Institute, GeoAcademy, ASPRS, and software vendors, i. e., Esri, Oracle, and RedHat. They focus different fields of expertise and have different levels and ways of examination which are offered for a wide range of fees.

The development of the certification framework presented here is based on the analysis of diverse bodies of knowledge concepts, i.e., NCGIA Core Curriculum, URISA Body Of Knowledge, USGIF Essential Body Of Knowledge, the “Geographic Information: Need to Know", currently under development, and the Geospatial Technology Competency Model (GTCM). The latter provides a US American oriented list of the knowledge, skills, and abilities required of workers in the geospatial technology industry and influenced essentially the framework of certification.

In addition to the theoretical analysis of existing resources the geospatial community was integrated twofold. An online survey about the relevance of Open Source was performed and evaluated with 105 respondents worldwide. 15 interviews (face-to-face or by telephone) with experts in different countries provided additional insights into Open Source usage and certification.

The findings led to the development of a certification framework of three main categories with in total eleven sub-categories, i.e., “Certified Open Source Geospatial Data Associate / Professional”, “Certified Open Source Geospatial Analyst Remote Sensing & GIS”, “Certified Open Source Geospatial Cartographer”, “Certified Open Source Geospatial Expert”, “Certified Open Source Geospatial Associate Developer / Professional Developer”, “Certified Open Source Geospatial Architect”. Each certification is described by pre-conditions, scope and objectives, course content, recommended software packages, target group, expected benefits, and the methods of examination. Examinations can be flanked by proofs of professional career paths and achievements which need a peer qualification evaluation. After a couple of years a recertification is required.

The concept seeks the accreditation by the OSGeo Foundation (and other bodies) and international support by a group of geospatial scientific institutions to achieve wide and international acceptance for this Open Source geospatial certification model.

A business case for Open Source certification and a corresponding SWOT model is examined to support the goals of the Geo-For-All initiative of the ICA-OSGeo pact.