GeoCat FOSS4G 2021 Recap

Oct 6, 2021

GeoCat was pleased to attend the FOSS4G 2021 event and we would like to thank the organizing committee and everyone who helped put on such a well attended event in challenging circumstances.

GeoCat is honoured to sponsor FOSS4G 2021 and continue our commitment to the free and open source community.



Presentations are an opportunity to share the technology and stories that bind our community together. In addition to sharing our work here at GeoCat we greatly appreciate the creativity and enthusiasm on display.

The conference was an epic 14 tracks wide offering an enjoyable overload of choice for all who attended. Later this year everyone will be checking out videos for talks they missed.

The organizers used a combination of venueless attending the conference, and streamyard for the hosts to switch between speakers on the fly. It was good fun seeing a wall of emoji float up onto the screen reflecting the audience reaction.

FOSS4G Streaming an incredible 12 concurrent tracks
FOSS4G Streaming an incredible 12 concurrent tracks

Presentation Highlights

We saw so many good presentations. Here are some highlights from the technical side of the street:

  • Robin Wilson had a fun talk with I never knew a pdf could do that, and you can try out GeoPDF using QGIS today.
  • The OpenLayers Feature Frenzy was amazing with live code working examples as part of the slides.
  • We enjoyed hearing from Paul van Genuchten and Jo Cook on GeoNetwork and Search Engine Optimization
  • Practical Geospatial Data Versioning with Kart had a look at a setup using low-level git integration for feature level versioning with promising results.
  • Florent Gravin presented on Lowering the barrier to entry into SDI – Metadata has to be fun! showcasing some great GeoNetwork and Gabriel Roldan on the Cloud Native GeoServer RnD he did for Camptocamp.
  • Enrique Soriano’s presentation Interactive GI dashboards for any data! shared a fascinating Apache Superset dashboard and some of the challenges ahead.
  • Jorge Sanz shared An overview of the Elastic stack geospatial capabilities
  • ​​Felix Kunde had a good talk on PostgreSQL clustering with Watching after your PostGIS herd
  • Iván’s fireside provided a lot to think about, and a reminder of the importance of freedom to the free and open source community.

GeoCat Presentations

Sander Schaminee presented Bringing language support to pygeoapi. Ensuring projects are capable of supporting multilingual content is important to GeoCat to help out government customers meet regulatory obligations. Sander impressed everyone with a live demo!

Bringing language support to pygeoapi
Bringing language support to pygeoapi

Jody Garnett and Andrea Aime (GeoSolutions) presented State of GeoServer covering a lot of the 2021 development we are excited to share with our customers. This presentation provides a good overview of new features and some of the roadmap ideas seeking resources.

State of GeoServer
State of GeoServer

Our own David Blasby and Jody Garnett presented a boisterous call to action with GeoNetwork Status-No-Quo Customizations (video) offering a light hearted take on the technical approach we use to offer a great experience to our GeoNetwork Enterprise customers while working closely with the core-geonetwork community. The artistic-license reenactment of making a pull-request is a highlight, but the central message is how to maintain customizations without setting up a fork and working in isolation.

GeoNetwork Status-No-Quo Customizations
GeoNetwork Status-No-Quo Customizations

Sander wrapped up our appearance with a QGIS Bridge Status Report covering updates for the latest QGIS plugin. The project is exploring replacing our python libraries with a “bridge” to a server side node component in order to better interface with the GeoStyler project.

QGIS Bridge Status Report
QGIS Bridge Status Report


One feature of this year’s event was an adventure game with avatars where up to four people could hang out at a time. There was a very popular treasure hunt (people were obsessed) and you could watch many avatars performing a depth-first search of each room looking for clues.

The space also included a tango bar (I can still hear the music), and a virtual exhibition centre. Sadly our GeoCat booth was located in a corner, placing it under the pop-up video chat interface.

Still we managed to talk to a few familiar faces, and most importantly people who were at their first foss4g conference.

Juan and Jody reporting for booth duty
Juan and Jody reporting for booth duty

Code sprint

The code-sprint took place over the weekend, and was really spread across time zones with work being passed between Europe, Africa and North America.

Jody and Michel made some small user interface improvements for internationalization text field entry and how actions are displayed across the top of tables in GeoServer. This work was picked up by Peter Smythe (AfriGIS) who worked on updating the documentation screen snaps.

GeoServer User Interface Improvements
GeoServer User Interface Improvements

Sander has been working on the GeoServer Windows Installer replacement and the code-sprint saw a lot of this work come together. Juan was able to set up a build server job and test with the recent 2.20-RC Release candidate. Jody updated the GeoServer 2.20-RC download page (and the geoserver-user list is presently testing).

Rewriting the GeoServer Windows Installer
Rewriting the GeoServer Windows Installer

Jody also crushed a few long standing annoyances, broken log messages for both GeoServer startup (always complaining about geoserver logfile) and the Layer Preview page (always complaining about text/csv).

Open Source Geospatial Foundation AGM

Unbeknown to many, FOSS4G is also the venue for the OSGeo Annual General Meeting. This year the AGM consisted of a video (which you could watch before the event) and a question and answer session with the OSGeo board.

The format worked really well. Special thanks to Vicky for setting up the video which is broken out into chapters so you can skip to just the section you want to catch up on.

GeoCat is proud to be listed as one of the many organizations supporting OSGeo.

OSGeo Annual General Meeting
OSGeo Annual General Meeting

Sol Katz Award

This event was dedicated to Malena Libman, the conference chair and a guiding light for our community, who was lost to COVID. Thank you to the local organizing committee for your dedication, and to our former colleague María for stepping up as conference chair.

Malena Libman was honoured with the Sol Katz award, and is dearly missed by all who cared for her.

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