Join us for the Cloud-Native Geospatial Outreach Event!
I’m pleased to announce that we have just opened registration for the Cloud-Native Geospatial Outreach Event we’re putting on with the OGC on April 19th and 20th. You can read more background in my previous post and in the recap from the first event. The core idea is to highlight an exciting new trend in geospatial, welcoming new users to learn about some incredible communities. From the sign-up page:
The last few years have seen a quiet revolution in the way geospatial data is stored, processed, and analyzed. Several small communities of developers and advanced users are leveraging the near-infinite compute and storage capabilities of the cloud to reinvent geospatial workflows from the ground up. This new way of working is called ‘Cloud-Native Geospatial’, and you can learn all about it from all the leaders of these communities on April 19th and 20th.
More information about the event is included below, but first I want to thank our initial sponsors:
Our top two sponsors are Planet and Carto. Planet has been one of the most consistent supporters of Cloud-Native Geospatial, especially COG and STAC, and it’s awesome to welcome Carto as the newest ‘sustaining partner’. Carto is a true leader in cloud-native approaches for geospatial vector data and is doing great work on interoperability with GeoParquet. Development Seed has helped a number of organizations adopt cloud-native geo, using their great stack of open source tools, and it’s a pleasure to have them as a partner for the event. And I’m really excited that UP42 has joined as our newest sponsor, and then Azavea, Radiant Earth, Natural Resources Canada, Kartoza, Amazon Web Services and Safe Software round out our sponsors. If your organization wants to support the event and join as a leader of this new movement see our sponsor prospectus and get in touch!
We are in the midst of a fundamental paradigm shift in how geospatial data is stored and used, following the wider movement towards ‘the cloud’. The first phase of geospatial information online was called ‘Web GIS’, which brought maps and light geospatial analysis to the browser. This has been a huge step forward, but most of the core workflows remained the same — a group of experts does the analysis and publishes their results. With Web GIS the results are no longer a printed map or a pdf; it is instead an interactive experience where a user might be able to tweak some variables. Which is a great improvement, but the ‘real work’ of geospatial analysis still doesn’t happening online.
The way forward was first shown by Google Earth Engine (GEE), where vast amounts of data is stored in the cloud and any users can run global-scale computations. The Cloud-Native Geospatial movement is the generalization of the possibilities shown by GEE, with interoperable formats that are optimized for the cloud. These lead to a radical simplification of the effort and cost needed to distribute geospatial information. Publishing data in one of the cloud-native formats means numerous tools can access it directly, without needing to download the full file or go through an API. This is leading to an explosion of innovation, with more tools able to access this data directly and a reinvention of many traditional workflows.
We are still very much in the early days of this paradigm shift, but the potential is to finally make the power of geospatial accessible to everyone. If Cloud-Native Geospatial lives up to its promise there will no longer need to be special departments where geospatial insight happens. Everyone will be able to directly tap into information about our earth to inform their decisions.
About the Event
There are a surprising number of organizations already working in this new paradigm, and a number of awesome communities building incredible tools. Our goal is to gather all their stories in one place and accelerate this new movement by welcoming new users and collaborators.
So the whole event is designed to be a higher-level introduction to the various ecosystems embracing the cloud-native geospatial philosophy. Thus if you’re curious about these standards and tools but have not yet been able to dig in then this is the event for you. But I’m also sure that experts will learn something new and be inspired, as we’re bringing together a number of communities that are less aware of one another, even as they’re working in similar ways.
The event is free and virtual-only, and we’re aiming to making it friendly to everyone on the globe, with sessions spread across all time zones. And we’ll also try to post the recorded talks immediately, so you’ll be able to watch any sessions you missed while asleep. As for the exact structure, the majority of talks will be ~5 minute ‘lightning talks’, so as an attendee you’ll get to learn about a large number of different initiatives and experiences without having to spend your whole day on zoom. We’ll also have a longer 15–20 minute overview talk from each of the foundational ecosystems — COG, STAC, Zarr & COPC. And then for people who want an opportunity to dive deeper there will also be a number of 60 minute tutorials, highlighting a few of the key tools and workflows in the ecosystem.
The response to our initial Call for Speakers has been incredible, with over 60 talks and tutorials submitted. Once we’ve got the initial agenda drafted I’ll share some of the highlights. I like to consider myself pretty plugged into the communites and I’ve been blown away by the amount of awesome activity and use cases that I learned about just reading through the submissions. The initial deadline for talks has passed, but if you missed it and have a great story to share then feel free to submit to be a speaker at https://forms.gle/eLm7nZCR2kcmjRjt9.
Thanks again to our sponsors, and please sign up today at cloudnativegeo.org to join us on April 19th and 20th.