Help The World Bank build a GeoNode to QGis bridge

**Below is an opening for a short term consultant appointment (40 days) with the World Bank to develop a GeoNode to QGis bridge. The outcome of the work will be made open source under an OSI approved license.

To apply, send an email to Ariel Núñez ( attaching a cover letter, CV and links to past projects, Github profiles or similar.

THE WORLD BANK/IFC/M.I.G.A. OFFICE MEMORANDUM POSITION: Short Term Consultant: Software Developer - OpenDRI/SAFE Grade Level: STC2 Duration: 40 days, with possibility for extension Starting Date: November 1, 2012


The Global Facility for Disaster Reduction and Recovery (GFDRR) is a partnership of the World Bank, United Nations, major donors and recipient countries under the International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (ISDR) system to support the implementation of the Hyogo Framework for Action (HFA). The HFA, endorsed by the United Nations General Assembly and ratified by 168 countries, is the primary international agreement for disaster reduction. HFA’s principal goal is to effectively integrate, in a coherent manner, disaster risk considerations into sustainable development policies, planning, programming, and financing at all levels of government. Launched in September 2006, GFDRR provides technical and financial assistance to help disaster-prone countries decrease their vulnerability and adapt to climate change. GFDRR works closely with UN agencies, client governments, World Bank regional offices, and other partners.

The GFDRR is organized along three tracks of operation to achieve its development objectives at the global, regional and country levels. Track I focuses on enhanced global and regional advocacy, partnerships, and standardization of disaster risk management tools and methodologies. Track II provides technical assistance for targeted countries to mainstream disaster risk reduction in strategic planning and development policies focusing on poverty reduction strategies. Track III provides rapid and predictable disaster recovery assistance through the Standby Recovery Financing Facility (SRFF).

In order to build resilient societies, policy-makers and the public must have access to the right data and information to inform good decisions. -- decisions such as where and how to build safer schools, how to insure farmers against drought, and how to protect coastal cities against future climate impacts. Sharing data and creating open systems promotes transparency, accountability, and ensures a wide range of actors are able to participate in the challenge of building resilience. The Open Data for Resilience Initiative (OpenDRI) aims to reduce the impact of disasters by empowering decisions-makers with better information and the tools to support their decisions.

OpenDRI implements the first policy recommendation of the joint World Bank / United Nations Flagship report, “Natural Hazards, UnNatural Disasters, the Economics of Effective Prevention,” which establishes the importance of data sharing to reduce vulnerability to disasters. OpenDRI also builds upon the World Bank’s broader Open Data Initiative. OpenDRI is currently implementing these ideas in 25 countries around the world to improve disaster and climate resilience.

Collaboration with the Australia-Indonesia Facility for Disaster Reduction (AIFDR) and the World Bank/GFDRR through OpenDRI and the Building Urban Resilience in East Asia program has yielded the prototype Disaster Risk Management decision support tool. This web-based open source software has been designed to be flexible and extensible to promote new customization following user feedback. Based on the successful demonstration of the prototype tool, there is demand from the key stakeholder at the national disaster management agency (BNPB) for the productization of the tool under the name InaSAFE (Indonesian Scenario Assessment for Emergencies) including expanded software development, testing, documentation, and user training. The abstracted tool, “SAFE” and other risk information decision making applications are anticipated to be flagship products for OpenDRI and the EAP Region, with strategic partnerships extending to other Bank programs and external International organizations.

SAFE provides a simple yet rigorous way to combine data from scientists, local governments and communities to provide insights into the likely impacts of future disaster events. The software is focused on examining, in detail, the impacts by a single hazard would have on specific sectors. For example, how many people would be affected by a possible flood in Jakarta?

SAFE is built on top of the Quantum Geographical Information System (QGIS) platform and leverages the GeoNode open-source geospatial data management platform. It combines the critical elements of GIS analysis with the ability to quantify impact metrics that can be used for informed decision making. Being able to quantify the impacts a disaster event is a key element of planning risk reduction investments. Having flexible, dynamic and simple tools such as SAFE to assist in this is a step towards more resilient decisions and a critical component of the OpenDRI work program.

A top priority for this initiative is to continue to strengthen the software functionality to seamlessly link between the desktop and web-based realizations of SAFE. For this purpose, the current scope of work focuses on the following tasks: Develop a QGIS Plugin to import layers from a GeoNode and publish layers to it. Creating and editing geospatial information in the desktop, usually offline, and then uploading to an online datastore, like GeoNode, is a common use case for projects dealing with maps and open data.

While it is currently possible to download layers from GeoNode and open them in QGIS, the process involves using a web browser, interacting with the filesystem and not having styles or metadata for the downloaded layers, only the raw data. OGC web services like WMS only fetches the rendered images but does not allow the end user to perform analysis. WFS is supported in both GeoNode and QGIS but only deals with the geometries for the vector layers not style or metadata, and WCS is currently not supported in QGIS. Furthermore, there are currently different workflows for raster and vector datasets in QGIS that are more focused on the technical implementation than usability for end users. For users dealing with GIS information in the DRM context, it makes more sense to browse by catagories: hazard, exposure and others and spatial type.

Duties and Accountabilities: The proposed body of work consists of giving an unified access from the QGIS application to data on a GeoNode site, while making the distinction between raster and vector data as seamless as possible, the main use case for this is the Scenario Assessment For Emergencies tool (SAFE) [1]. All code developed will be released by the World Bank under an open source license.

Under the supervision of Ariel Nunez, the candidate will report to Francis Ghesquiere. Remote work is allowed.

S/he will be responsible for developing a QGIS plugin with the following specifications:

  1. Ability to configure a GeoNode URL, username and password and let QGIS users see the list of layers in the GeoNode and add them to the QGIS workspace. (Including WMS, WFS, WCS and available styles).
  2. Ability to upload a layer or group of layers into GeoNode (with title, description, keywords and style, as individual layers, fully configured maps are out of scope for this task).
  3. Set up of an integration test framework of the QGIS plugin against a GeoNode installed via Ubuntu packages.
  4. Packaging and releasing code to QGIS official repository.
  5. Testing and documentation.

Target Software versions: GeoNode 1.2 QGIS 1.8

Selection Criteria:

  • Master's degree in software engineering or other relevant field.
  • At least 3 years of experience writing software in Python
  • At least 3 years of experience writing Geospatial Software
  • Experience writing QGIS plugins (at least one plugin released to an official or unofficial QGIS plugin repository).
  • Experience and demonstrated participation in relevant open source software communities.
  • Demonstrated ability to write technical documentation
  • Excellent organization and communication skills.

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Posted at - Sept. 17, 2012, 12:48 p.m.

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