Newcastle University offers the only undergraduate degree course in Geographic Information Science (BSc Honours GIS) in the UK. This programme stands alongside the BSc in Surveying and Mapping Science, with education in the broad field of geomatics having been a speciality at Newcastle for over 50 years. Acquiring skills and knowledge in measurement science, effective geospatial data handling, and technological innovation in the field, our graduates are exposed to all aspects of information processing, including open source methods and possibilities for geospatial data, its analysis, management, dissemination and applications in GIS.
Contributing to the work of Newcastle University as an active research institution, the Open Source Geospatial Lab Newcastle is the home of a number of investigative projects applying open source geospatial technologies to real world topics such as smart cities, infrastructure resilience and management, the handling of VGI, risk mapping, and ‘big data’ for environmental modelling.
Examples of our use of open systems include
a) data collection e.g. through our Urban Observatory, the largest set of publicly available real time urban data in the UK (http://www.urbanobservatory.ac.uk/)
b) data conflation e.g. assessing the quality of VGI data and the integration of such citizen-derived geospatial data with official systems (applied in improving land administration systems in less developed countries)
c) data management e.g. through UKCRIC, the UK Collaboratorium for Research on Infrastructure and Cities (http://www.ukcric.com/), a university-industry-government partnership addressing issues of unaffordable and unsustainable infrastructure development: Newcastle’s role addresses issues of data collection and modelling (http://www.ncl.ac.uk/sciencecentral/urban/infrastructure/), including the development of the first open national infrastructure database and portal (http://www.nismod.ac.uk), developed as part of the ITRC project (http://www.itrc.org.uk/).
d) data analysis e.g. examining the resilience of critical infrastructure networks to hazards (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LKbEN7rmffM) and modelling the future development of critical infrastructure networks through NISMOD (National Infrastructure Systems MODel), the UK’s first national infrastructure system-of-systems modelling platform and database, developed in partnership with the ITRC consortium (http://www.itrc.org.uk/nismod).
e) teaching e.g. use of OSGeo Live stack to introduce students to database concepts (PostGIS), server functionality (GeoServer), and web mapping.