The Geospatial Information System industry is over $4B in size and growing rapidly. Perhaps more interesting is that geospatial (think maps) technology is being integrated into mainstream technology. For example, how may people have not used Google Maps or a GPS at some point? Technology change has made what was impossible a decade ago not only possible, but perhaps practical for firms that could not use geospatial technology in the past. Driving this along with technology change are new standards and a non-profit foundation called the Open Source Geospatial Foundation (OSGeo).

GeoTools is a geospatial toolkit developed in Java that is used by GeoServer, a standards-based web mapping engine under the banner of OSGeo. It is feature rich and very competitive in terms of performance with other web mapping software available today. There is government, industry, and community interest in this project. This project therefore has the potential to enable a consortium of smaller firms to rally together and bid on geospatial projects tendered by larger firms and governments. This in turn has a high likelihood of creating jobs, saving the government and industry firms money, strengthen the open source geospatial community, and enable the scientific teams to be more productive.

This is a great opportunity for students to learn a lot about Java, Java web programming, geospatial technologies, and databases, and to work with teams from IngresOpenGeo, OSGeo, and roughly half a dozen other companies. This project could launch a very successful career for students with the organizations involved. Many of these firms are recruiting in anticipation of baby boomer retirements coming in the next decade.

Mentor: Andrew Ross (Ingres)