Goodbye, and Hello

by Sebastian Benthall

This summer I have been transitioning to a new life chapter.

For the past four years I have worked at OpenPlans, or what was once The Open Planning Project, and specifically for OpenGeo. I couldn’t say enough about the range and depth of experiences or the wildness of the ride with that organization. For now, suffice it to say that I entered with a lot of enthusiasm for ideas of open source, technology, and good governance. Working at OpenPlans was a way to experience the confrontation of those ideas with reality.

What has been beautiful to witness is that those ideas are alive and victorious. While everything has been harder than it looked on paper, the dreams shared by so many about the promise of technology for justice are becoming real. They aren’t just dreams. They are truth.

I’m so proud to have worked in this field. What’s more, I’ve been able to be a part of OpenGeo growing as a company to become a vibrant force in world of geospatial software. This is exciting not only because it is changing the way governments use open software and open data, but also because it proves its business model. Through its success, OpenGeo shows a path of economic transformation that’s available to public and private organizations alike.

I’ve now left OpenGeo so that I can begin working towards a PhD at the UC Berkeley School of Information. Here is how their website describes the program:

The School of Information is both UC Berkeley’s newest and its smallest school. Located in the center of campus, the I School is a graduate research and education community committed to expanding access to information and to improving its usability, reliability, and credibility while preserving security and privacy. This requires the insights of scholars from diverse fields—information and computer science, design, social sciences, management, law, and policy.

I can’t explain any better than this what the program is. And to be honest, I don’t yet know what I will be doing there. It is an open future.

That said, what I better be doing there is writing more. I expect that at least initially I’ll be writing a lot of my day to day discoveries here. So, if you’ve been following this blog, then Goodbye, and Hello.