8.2 moves to Open Governance

Ib Green
Published in
4 min readAug 7, 2020

--, which has been developed under the stewardship of Uber’s Engineering organization over the last 5 years, has now taken a big step and moved to an open governance model. In addition, 8.2, the first community planned version of, has now been released.

This blog post shares some thoughts about why the move to open governance was so important, and gives some glimpses of the exciting public roadmap that was presented. 8.2, the first community planned release, is now available. The image shows the new globe visualization mode in 8.2.

Why Open Governance?

Many great open source software projects, while free to use and open to contribution, are still controlled by one company or a small group of people. This is often fine, as the owners are also typically the maintainers and tend to work hard (usually for free) to support their communities.

But once an open software project gets to the point where multiple companies depend on it for their own commercial products, and the project starts to receive major development contributions from those companies, the introduction of an open governance model can make a big difference in removing barriers to adoption.

The goal for moving to open governance was to create an even more inviting playing field for anyone who wants to use or contribute to Contributors can now become involved in the decision making process, and those that make significant contributions can even get seats on the steering committee and get a say in all program matters.

An Open Planning Process

A key aspect of open governance is to let the community take part in the planning of upcoming software releases, and the first community planning meeting for the 8.2 release was held in early May 2020.

The various tech leads took turns in sharing the plans for the upcoming 8.2 and 8.3 releases, as well as longer term roadmaps.

The planning meeting was well attended, with representatives from a number of leading geospatial software companies, and the feedback from the audience was very positive.

Highlights from the community planning meeting

Advanced TileLayer development is a major focus area for 8.x

Gigapixel zoom
I3S tile set rendering a textured 3D mesh model of San Francisco

Support for tiled data has seen a lot of development over the last year, and the + combination now provides a comprehensive support for tiled data layers including 2D tiles (geospatial and non-geospatial), 3D tiles (both the 3D Tiles and I3S OGC standards are supported), as well as terrain from tiled elevation data sources etc.

Also many “tricky corner cases” that arise when visualizing tiled data, such as cross-tile highlighting, working with high pitch views, request throttling when loading multiple tiled data sources etc are now handled correctly by

Longer Term Roadmaps ( v9)

The open governance meeting also gave the tech leads a good opportunity to provide the community with a glimpse of features that are being considered for the next major releases of the frameworks, such as:

Improved support for non-JavaScript programming languages

  • pydeck
  • (C++ port)
  • Swiftdeck, Javadeck for mobile
  • Language independent styling specification, cross-language transport protocol

Core Features

  • Globe projections
  • Advanced Tile Layer Features
  • Typescript, WebGPU, ES Modules

These are just a few highlights, for those interested in the details, the slides from the presentation are linked at the end of this post.

Also check out the 8.2 Whats’ New page as it details the outcome of the first community planned release.

A new member of the family, pydeck brings to the Python data science community

Join the movement!

A goal of the moving and the other frameworks to an open governance model is of course to open the doors to additional participation. We want to grow the community, and if you are interested don’t hesitate to reach out on the channels below. We look forward to hearing from you!



Ib Green

Ib Green is CTO at Unfolded ( and the lead architect of, and has worked on and GPU frameworks since the inception in 2015.