AfriGIS’s Peter Smythe appointed to GeoServer Project Steering Committee.

(Pretoria, South Africa – 13 May 2024)  

Peter Smythe, Senior Systems Analyst at AfriGIS, has been appointed to the GeoServer Project Steering Committee (PSC), a body made up of individuals who represent the various communities which have a stake in GeoServer.

GeoServer is an open-source mapping server that allows users to share, process, and edit geospatial data. Designed for interoperability, it publishes data from any major spatial data source using open standards.

This appointment comes as a recognition of Smythe’s contributions to the GeoServer community and his efforts in advancing open-source GIS technologies at AfriGIS.

The limitations and challenges of developing proprietary solutions, including investment, ongoing maintenance and then serving only select markets, led AfriGIS to pivot towards open-source solutions, adopting GeoServer and Leaflet, which provided immediate benefits including enhanced reliability and feature sets. This strategic shift has since enabled AfriGIS to develop a rock-solid mapping solution that has performed with outstanding reliability.

“The OGC standards compliant GeoServer, also known for its extensive and helpful online documentation, became a natural fit for AfriGIS,” says Smythe. “I started off in this open-source community by making straightforward documentation corrections through GitHub, which gradually escalated to code fixes and improvements. Over the years, we have added to that by writing plugins, testing release candidates and participating in other community support activities.”

Recognising the need for sustained contribution to open-source communities, AfriGIS allocated budget two years ago for open-source contributions. This budget has allowed AfriGIS to undertake larger projects and more significant community engagements.

In 2023, Smythe volunteered to assist with the monthly release train for GeoTools/GeoWebCache/GeoServer. This effort aimed to alleviate the burden on core contributors, enabling them to focus on more critical aspects like software development and code reviews. His multiple contributions led to an acknowledgment from the GeoServer Project Steering Committee at the end of 2023, celebrating his efforts by donating $500 in his name to the Geo-Information Society of South Africa (GISSA), a local GIS organisation. This highlights the impact of corporate responsibility towards community-driven projects.

“As a newly appointed member of the PSC at the beginning of this year, Peter is part of a group of members coordinating development and maintenance activities for the 2024 roadmap, engaging with the community through user and developer email lists, and encouraging open dialogue and collaboration,” says Brian Civin, Chief Sales and Marketing Officer at AfriGIS.

“Peter’s appointment is a testament to his personal and professional commitment to the GIS community and also underscores AfriGIS’s strategic direction towards embracing and contributing to open-source technologies,” Civin adds. “His work illustrates the impact that volunteers can have on technology communities.”

AfriGIS is proud of Peter’s achievements and fully supports his ongoing efforts to advance the GeoServer project and the broader GIS community. “We encourage other professionals and organisations to contribute to open-source projects; while the rewards may not be immediate, the long-term benefits and recognition are profoundly impactful,” Civin says.

About AfriGIS 

AfriGIS is the leading Geospatial Information Science company in Southern Africa that specialises in location-sensitive data and solutions. It provides customers across the board with a suite of web-based tools and APIs to connect to, enhance, and enrich their own data with location intelligence, insights, and trusted data. The organisation was founded in 1997 and celebrates more than 27 years in business. It is a level 1-certified broad-based black economic empowerment (B-BBEE) business, with more than 100 employees, in Pretoria, Durban and Cape Town in South Africa, Dublin in Ireland, and Dhaka in Bangladesh.


Media enquiries: Irene Masia, AfriGIS

Contact details: +27 (0) 87-310-6400, [email protected]


Issued by: Michelle Oelschig, Scarlet Letter  

Contact details: +27 (0) 83-636-1766, [email protected] 

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