Late last fall, I was a “mostly happy” MapGuide 6.5 user and was beta testing (am I allowed to say that?) Autodesk’s new code base. I even knew exactly what it was going to be called… at least three times. Then Autodesk dropped a bombshell and announced that they were going to release MapGuide as open source.
That was almost a year ago, and in that time a lot has changed. MapGuide has changed its name twice more (MapServer Enterprise, and finally MapGuide Open Source / Enterprise), the Open Source Geospatial Foundation (OSGeo) was founded as a collaborative effort between a bunch of open source geospatial projects and generously funded by Autodesk, and the first three 1.0 releases of MapGuide Open Source have taken place.
Just as importantly, MapGuide has been taking steps to become a healthy open source project and graduate from OSGeo incubation. A code provenance review has been undertaken, most of the requirements of the incubation checklist have been met, and finally this week the MapGuide Open Source Project Steering Committee (PSC) has been formed.
You can see the provisionary makeup of the MapGuide PSC on the OSGeo website; these will be firmed up more after a couple IRC meetings. Basically, though, the PSC is formed of three Autodesk employees (Bob Bray – Chair, Bruce Dechant and Tom Fukushima) and three external members (Andrew Morsell of Spatial Integrators, Paul Spencer of DM Solutions Group, and myself) but the final number of members is not finalised. I am excited to participate in this committee, and look forward to guiding MapGuide (mmm word choice) along its path as an innovative, flexible, and fully functional geoprocessing server.
Along the way, both MapGuide and the FDO project (which is also forming its PSC and undergoing a code provenance review) have started to garner community support. I wrote about FDO a couple weeks ago, and since that time have been pointed to an interesting presentation that was given at FOSS4G by Mateusz Loskot and Frank Warmerdam on their experiences in building the PostGIS and GDAL Raster FDO Providers, entitled FDO, Street Vendors in the Cathedral. It’s worth a read. I have also heard rumours of some commercial/proprietary endeavours that will either be creating FDO providers or using FDO internally to provide access to geospatial data.
With MapGuide, solution providers such as DM Solutions Group, Spatial Integrators, Pacific Alliance Technologies, and Arrow Geomatics are providing solutions on top of the MapGuide platform (I’m sure there are many others from the activity on the mailing lists. If I missed you, feel free to leave a comment below with a link).
As well, DM Solutions has announced a commercial subscription-based support service for MapGuide Open Source called Premiere, has been actively involved in the development of a web-based authoring application called Web Studio which is included in recent releases of MapGuide, and is working on various other initiatives which will substantially improve the value of MapGuide Open Source.
To have DM Solutions in our corner is a great thing, but I would be happy to see other developers providing value by joining the MapGuide Open Source development team and helping to take it in directions we haven’t even thought of yet. I hope to see this come about in the next year as the MapGuide development process becomes more public and others see ways that they can contribute. In particular, if anyone would like to work on an open source geocoding or routing service for MapGuide, please get in touch with the PSC after we get some of the administration out of the way and a roadmap in place. I, for one, would love to hear from you.
Well, that’s all for tonight. See you again in a month or so… unless I find time to write that simple FDO/MapGuide build guide earlier. :)