Using Open Source to Help Feed the World

Enjoy this webinar featuring Andy Dearing, CEO of Boundless Spatial, and Dr. Martin Mendez-Costabel of Monsanto to learn how to unlock the power of geospatial data.

This webinar also includes a 15 minute Q&A session, as well as Q&A Documentation.

Originally recorded January 31, 2017


Dr. Martin P. Mendez-Costabel

Geospatial Big Data Engineering and Strategy Lead, Monsanto

Dr. Mendez-Costabel leads the geospatial data asset team at Monsanto’s Products and Engineering organization within the IT department, where he drives the engineering and adoption of global geospatial data assets for the enterprise.


Andy Dearing

CEO, Boundless Spatial

Andy is the CEO of Boundless and previously held the role of the Vice President of Professional Services. A commercial pilot and self-taught geographer, Andy has been working with GIS for nearly 15 years.


Anthony Calamito

VP of Product, Boundless Spatial

Anthony serves as the VP of Product for Boundless and is responsible for product strategy and outreach, educational initiatives, and our ongoing commitment to the open source community.

Q & A

Was there a driver to move to this implementation over an ESRI implementation beyond cost? If so can you go into some of the non cost related benefits?

Martin: The {ESRI}  licensing model based on number of users does not fit the need to have wide adoption of enterprise tools; performance and customization were also drivers.

Thanks for the presentation. I have a question for you. In terms of platform and technology standpoint, it's fine. On the other hand, what's your Boundless position regarding industry solution for agriculture?

Andy: That’s a great question.  We are continually looking at evolving the capabilities of the technology platform – building connectors that work with specific customer workflows.  This year, we are going to be building out content services and tools that help support the agriculture domain sector – ranging from hosting soils data, imagery analysis tools, and packaged web application templates that support the agriculture workflows.  
We are always interested in hearing what features are needed in the open source GIS stack to enable you to meet current and future business demands.  Please feel free to send those to me – your feedback is welcomed!

What are the names of your QGIS authentication plugins for ckan and when will they be publically available?

Martin: Name has not been defined yet, will do so shortly. Goal is to have the plugin(s) available in the next month or so

Is the cKan data catalogue integrated with your geoserver?

Martin: Yes, there is a direct and seamless integration between geoserver, our api gateway and ckan. The entire publishing workflow is 100% automated.

What tools did you use for data migration from Oracle/ArcSDE to POstGres?

Martin: Oracle GoldenGate/Kakfa; migration is ongoing since there are applications still writing to legacy data stores and we are working with them to redirect that to direct writing to cloud.

Did you consider any other data discovery/data catalog options besides ckan such as Geoblacklight?

Martin: Yes, we looked at multiple tools, we feel ckan brings the most flexibility for both geospatial and non geospatial data cataloguing.

How much of the Monsanto GIS implementation was custom development vs out of the box solutions (commercial and open source)?

Martin: 70/30 roughly ckan brings enough functionalities out of the box but also provides opportunities for customization.

Does your presentation directly applies as a ready-to-use application covering user's business workflow? If not, what's your plan for the future?

Martinckan was set up as a one entry point for people to discover and interact with data sets and it is directly linked to Geoserver ‘layers’. Business workflows are being addressed with the dev teams responsible for building applications (mapping, dashboards) for the different business units.

Was OGSystem directly involved in the development of the QGIS Plugins?


What is the workflow to define spatial search areas in CKAN? Is this specified as a BBOX when a data item is uploaded to CKAN? Or is there a more sophisticated GIS integration?

MartinAt the moment it is defined by the data set extent as defined in Geoserver; there are other options we are exploring.

What mobile platform /apps do you use for field inspections/inventory/workflow management?

OL3 as JS library is being used by the enterprise, ckan/geoserver being integrated directly to the applications (seamless integration).

Are you using open source solutions to integrate drone imagery into your systems?

Martin: Yes, Map2DFusion, Spark, SAGA, Geoserver/GeoTrellis.

How have you found the experience of managing cultural change or "going open"?

Martin: Very rewarding, people were experiencing severe performance issues before and we have improved on that area significantly in a very short amount of time.