Workshop 3: Call for Position Papers

Conceptualizing a Geospatial Software Institute (GSI)
Workshop 3: Strategic Plan and Governance of GSI

Dates: July 14-16, 2019 Location: Annapolis, MD, USA

Geospatial data is increasingly collected from diverse sources at rapidly growing rates. Harnessing such big data through geospatial software is fundamental to discovery and innovation in a large number of science and application domains. Numerous research and education communities have hence become highly dependent on geospatial software, which is often developed without rigor, heedless of best practices common among developers. Consequently, these communities are struggling to establish the appropriate geospatial software tools and solutions for transforming geospatial data into knowledge, insights, and intelligence. To respond to these challenges and opportunities, NSF has funded the conceptualization of a Geospatial Software Institute (GSI) to engage diverse geospatial science and application communities for planning a long-term geospatial software hub of excellence to serve the broad communities.

The conceptualization project has been seeking input from the broad communities of geospatial software developers and users, primarily through a succession of three workshops and multiple surveys. The first workshop, focused on connecting big data with geospatial discovery and innovation, was held in January 2018 at the University of Southern California ( This workshop brought together fifty participants representing diverse research and education communities who helped identify a set of key science domains (e.g., biosciences, environmental science and engineering, hydrology, polar sciences, social sciences, and the nexus of food, energy, and water) that the potential GSI could serve together to enable convergence research and education. The second workshop, held in July in Chicago (, focused on gaining an in-depth understanding of which scientific use cases could benefit from advances in geospatial software and identifying a suite of core technical capabilities necessary for geospatial data transformation and associated scientific problem-solving. The second workshop brought together fifty-five representatives of both domain science and geospatial software communities and began the planning of how GSI could lead the communities to sustain and benefit from an open geospatial software ecosystem.


The third workshop will build on the successes of the previous workshops and related community engagement activities, and focus on the strategic plan and governance of GSI to serve the broad and diverse geospatial communities. Specific questions to be addressed by the workshop include but not limited to:

(a) how can GSI contribute to innovation and sustainability of a national geospatial software ecosystem?

(b) what sociological issues (e.g., teaming, credit, training) of developing, maintaining, and using geospatial software should GSI tackle and how?

(c) how should GSI help bridge domain science communities with geospatial software experts to achieve desirable scientific advances while meeting critical needs of education and workforce development?

(d) who should GSI be positioned to serve and what should its strategic goals be? and

(e) how should GSI be governed?

Position papers are sought to address any of the aforementioned foci and/or other topics related to the strategic plan and governance of GSI.


To foster active participation, we invite submissions of position papers of approximately 500 words, along with an up to 2-page resume or biosketch of the author who will attend the workshop. Each position paper may not exceed 2 pages and should conform to the following formatting requirements: 1) Times New Roman font type at a size of 11 points or larger; and 2) margins of at least one inch on all sides. The organizing committee will review all submissions.

Submissions should be sent via []. The deadline for submission is October 31, 2018, and you can expect to hear back from the committee by November 9, 2018. Contributors of accepted position papers will be invited to attend the workshop with travel support provided and to present or discuss their work. All accepted position papers will also be published on the workshop website [], and attendees will be asked to read the papers in advance of the workshop.


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