The International Archives of the Photogrammetry, Remote Sensing and Spatial Information Sciences
Publications Copernicus
Articles | Volume XLII-4/W8
11 Jul 2018
 | 11 Jul 2018


D. Oxoli, H.-K. Kang, and M. A. Brovelli

Keywords: Community, Collaboration, FOSS4G, GitHub, Software Development, Open Source

Abstract. The open and direct collaboration at the creation, improvement, and documentation of source code and software applications – enabled by the web – is recognized as a peculiarity of the Free and Open Source Software for Geospatial (FOSS4G) projects representing, at the same time, one of their main strengths. With this in mind, it turns out to be interesting to perform an extensive monitoring of both the evolution and the geographical arrangement of the developers’ communities in order to investigate their actual extension, evolution and degree of activity. In this work, a semi-automatic procedure to perform this particular analysis is described. The procedure is mainly based on the use of the GitHub Search Application Programming Interface by means of JavaScript custom modules to perform a census of the users registered with a collaborator role to the repositories of the most popular FOSS4G projects, hosted on the GitHub platform. The collected data is processed and analysed using Python and QGIS. The results – presented through tables, charts, and thematic maps – allow describing both dimensions as well as the geographical heterogeneity of the contributing community of each individual project, while enabling to identify the most active countries – in terms of the number of contributors – in the development of the most popular FOSS4G. The limits of the analysis, including technical constraints and considerations on the significance of the developers' census, are finally highlighted and discussed.