Last week (21.5-23.5.2012) took place in Prague, Czech Republic conference focused on free and open source called Free and Open Source Software for Geospatial in Central and East Europe (FOSS4G-CEE). The conference was co-organized by Faculty of Civil Engineering, Czech Technical University in Prague, so the venue was localized in university campus. The conference was focused on wide portfolio of free products, but in every case with some relationship to Central Europe. There was 60 papers, 6 workshops, 5 tutorials and 120 registered participants all over the world (CZ – 35, RO – 14, DE – 12, FR – 6, AT – 5, SK – 4, EE, HU, CH, PL, TU, USA – 3, IT, UK – 2, HR, NRW, NZ, Georgia, Ghana, Nigeria 1).
The program was divided into 3 main parts. On Sunday and Monday morning there were practice workshops, on Monday afternoon there was plenary session, where keynote speakers presented their papers. It was very interesting to see Arnulf Christl (OSGeo president), Markus Neteler (OSGeo founding-member) or Athina Trakas (OGC Director for European Services). In next two days presenters presented their papers in three parallel sections.
One of the presentations was focused on gvSIG topic as well. Rostislav Nétek talked about Influence of e-learning and Open Source solutions for education at Palacký University in Olomouc inspired by Polytechnic University in Valencia (see an abstract).
He talked about different approaches in education between Western and Eastern Europe. It is based on case study, which compares universities conventions between Spain and Czech Republic, focused on eLearning and open source sources. The author, originally from Palacký University in Olomouc, Czech Republic spent two internships at Polytechnic University in Valencia, where he met gvSIG for the first time and visited gvSIG lessons of Jesús Palomar Vázquez. He was surprised by fact that in Eastern Europe free solutions and eLearning was deeply implemented into education at universities compared to situation in Czech Republic. So now the author is responsible for gvSIG class at Palacký University. Due to fact that open source is little bit repressed in Czech education, inspired by situation at UPV he put great emphasis on self education and videotutorials for learning with gvSIG programme. After presentation there was quite long discussion about it, especially with one of keynote speaker Helena Mitasova (North Carolina State University), which confirmed that it is very important to increase awareness about software like gvSIG among students in Europe as well in USA. Moreover the discussion about it continued in the foyer.
Generally, FOSS4G-CEE was really great conference, with strong impact of knowledge and experiences about open source solutions. It was agreed, that, FOSS4G-CEE 2013 will be organized by Vasile Crăciunescu and his team at geo-spatial.org in Bucharest, Romania.