[SAC] [OSGeo] #694: Marble Virtual Globe - OSGeo incubation

#694: Marble Virtual Globe - OSGeo incubation
Reporter: tackat | Owner: sac@…
     Type: task | Status: new
Priority: major | Milestone:
Component: Systems Admin | Keywords:
Here's Marble's application (v. 1.0.1) for OSGeo incubation. See




for more information about OSGeo.

1. Please provide the name and email address of the principal Project

Marble mailing list: marble-devel@kde.org
The Marble Developer mailing list is the preferred point of contact for
all issues that are related to Marble..

Original Author & (Co)-Maintainer: Torsten Rahn <rahn@kde.org>

2. Please provide the names and emails of co-project owners (if any).

The Marble source code is owned by its authors and is licensed under the
LGPL 2+.

Marble's team consists of several individuals that feel responsible for a
certain part of the source code. This responsibility is self-chosen and
usually the result of a particular interest in a certain topic. As such
it's subject to changes and has changed frequently in the past as Marble
continues to grow and develop.
An incomplete list of the current maintainers includes:

Dennis Nienhüser - Routing, Mobile version
Bastian Holst - Online Plugins, Mobile version
Thibaut Gridel - libgeodata, KML support
Jens-Michael Hoffmann - Tile Loading, Blending, OSM support
Bernhard Beschow - experimental OpenGL version, Custom Maps, API Design
Sebastian Wiedenroth - Mac Packaging
Christophe Leske, Patrick Spendrin - Window Packaging

and many others. Translations are done by the KDE translation team which
has got its own language maintainers, see: http://i18n.kde.org/. Same goes
for documentation, the webpage and other parts behind KDE's

3. Please provide the names, emails and entity affiliation of all official

See e.g.:

4. Please describe your Project.

Marble client application (for users):
Marble is a Virtual Globe and World Atlas that you can use to learn more
about Earth: You can pan and zoom around and you can look up places and
roads. A mouse click on a place label will provide the respective
Wikipedia article. Of course it's also possible to measure distances
between locations or watch the current cloud cover. Marble offers
different thematic maps: A classroom-style topographic map, a satellite
view, street map, earth at night and temperature and precipitation maps.
All maps include a custom map key, so it can also be used as an
educational tool for use in class-rooms. For educational purposes you can
also change date and time and watch how the starry sky and the twilight
zone on the map change.
In opposite to other virtual globes Marble also features multiple
projections: Choose between a Flat Map ("Plate carré"), Mercator or the
The best of all: Marble is Free Software / Open Source Software and
promotes the usage of free maps. And it's available for all major
operating systems (Linux/Unix, MS Windows and Mac OS X).

Marble library (for developers):

Marble is a light weight generic geographical map component for use in
your own Qt 4.x / C++ application. The MarbleWidget provides a ready-made
solution for displaying maps and locations. This includes support for GPS
tracking and importing KML/GPX files.

5. Why is hosting at OSGeo good for your project?

We do not plan to host the source code of Marble via OSGeo.

However as a Free Software geospatial project we share the ideas behind
OSGeo and its primary goals: supporting and promoting the collaborative
development of open geospatial technologies and data.
By becoming a member of the OSGeo community we see a better chance for us
to raise awareness of geospatial Free Software in general as well as about

See the answer to question 18 for more information.

6. Type of application does this project represent(client, server,
standalone, library, etc.):

The Marble application is a client that makes use of the Marble library
("libMarbleWidget"). There is a Qt-only version available as well as a
version that also makes use of the KDE libraries
The Marble library (libMarbleWidget) is a C++ library that is entirely and
only based on Qt.

7. Please describe any relationships to other open source projects.

Marble is part of the KDE project. Right now the application and its
library are shipped as part of KDE-EDU (http://edu.kde.org)
Marble allows for displaying OpenStreetMap data. As such we are in touch
with OpenStreetMap and part of the community.
Marble's feature set is mostly based on libMarbleWidget which has no other
dependencies except for Qt.
However Marble can optionally make use of other Open Source components
such as libgpsd, monav, etc. to extend the feature set.

8. Please describe any relationships with commercial companies or

Marble is a community project which has mostly been developed by people in
their sparetime as part of the KDE project.
As part of the KDE community the Marble project has also successfully
participated in the Google Summer of Code project during the last 4 years.

So far there have been no significant code contributions to Marble with
commercial background. However we are about to launch a website that will
offer support for Marble through companies that some developers are
involved with:


9. Which open source license(s) will the source code be released under?

The license of the Marble application and its library is LGPL 2+. The data
shipped with Marble is covered by licenses that are provided in the spirit
of the LGPL (or BSD license).

10. Is there already a beta or official release?

Yes. The current stable version is Marble 1.0.0 which got released as part
of the KDE 4.6 release on January 26th 2011. We are working towards the
next stable releases Marble 1.1 (end of March 2011) and Marble 1.2. Marble
1.2 will get released as part of the KDE 4.7, see:
http://techbase.kde.org/Schedules/KDE4/4.7_Release_Schedule .

11. What is the origin of your project (commercial, experimental, thesis
or other higher education, government, or some other source)?

Marble was originally started as a hobby project by Torsten Rahn. After
some months of development it was imported into KDE's SVN repository.
Together with Inge Wallin the first public Marble release (v. 0.3) had
been prepared as part of the KDE project. Since then Marble's developer
community has continously grown.
And nowadays Marble is a flourishing community project of people working
on Marble in their sparetime.

12. Does the project support open standards? Which ones and to what
extent? (OGC, w3c, ect.) Has the software been certified to any standard
(CITE for example)? If not, is it the intention of the project owners to
seek certification at some point?

Supporting and promoting the idea of Free Software, Free Maps and Open
Standards is Marble's primary mission.
We support open standards such as the OGC KML standard, GPX, OSM and the
usual ones that are common among Free Software developers.
Marble's internal data structures are modelled after KML. Internally all
data is passed as a KML document.

13. Is the code free of patents, trademarks, and do you control the

As far as we know Marble itself is free of patents and trademarks. The
only related trademarks are "KDE" and "Marble" which are held by the KDE
Marble's copyright is held by its authors and the code is released under
the LGPL 2+.

14. How many people actively contribute (code, documentation, other?) to
the project at this time?

Marble has got a very active big community of users and developers.
About a dozen people per month are actively involved with developing the
source code. However this number doesn't take small patches, fixes,
documentation and translation into account.
The total amount of people involved with Marble development according to
Ohloh has certainly exceeded 100 already: see:
http://www.ohloh.net/p/marble/contributors (this doesn't include
contributors without repository access).

15. How many people have commit access to the source code respository?

See e.g.:

16. Approximately how many users are currently using this project?

Marble has been shipped as part of each KDE 4 release. As such it's
distributed with all major Linux distributions and these days is often
getting installed as part of the default installation.
Marble is also available for the Windows platform and for Mac OS X.

There are several figures available that indicate that Marble is being
actively used by at least tenthousands of people, e.g.


17. What type of users does your project attract (government, commercial,
hobby, academic research, etc. )?

Marble attracts all kinds of users. We know about government users and
users who use Marble to display their scientific data.
Some projects using Marble are listed under:
Recently the austrian publisher "Hölzel" has started to ship his "Kozenn"
atlas together with "Geothek" which is a product based on Marble, see:


18. If you do not intend to host any portion of this project using the
OSGeo infrastructure, why should you be considered a member project of the
OSGeo Foundation?

We do not intend to be hosted by OSGeo, since the technical infrastructure
around Marble is already provided by the KDE community. The KDE e.V.
(http://ev.kde.org) is a foundation that serves as an umbrella
organization of the KDE project and as such helps to support the
infrastructure of the KDE project.
The Marble projects has its roots deep in the KDE community and has a good
relationship to the KDE e.V.. The KDE e.V. serves as an umbrella
organization which promotes Free Software, Open Standards, the "Free
Culture" and Qt as well as KDE. And we are pretty happy with the KDE e.V.
as an umbrella organization that covers these aspects.

KDE and its KDE e.V. also support the idea of open geospatial technologies
and data. However it is not the primary mission of the KDE e.V.. This is
where OSGeo becomes appealing for us:

As a Free Software geospatial project we share the ideas behind OSGeo and
its primary goals: supporting and promoting the collaborative development
of open geospatial technologies and data.
We'd like to help the OSGeo community in following this mission: We'd like
to promote open/free mapping data as well as OpenSource/FreeSoftware
geospatial applications. And we feel that a closer relationship between
Marble and OSGeo would be mutually beneficial for both OSGeo and Marble to
reach users and developers that haven't been accessible for each alone

We see lots of opportunities by having a shared umbrellaship via KDE (to
cover infrastructure and the aspect of FreeSoftware) and OSGeo (to cover
the promotion of open geospatial technologies and data).

19. Does the project include an automated build and test?

Yes, as part of the automated builds and tests of the KDE project. The KDE
project has automated test builds. The results of these test builds are
available via dash board.
Also we are making use of QA tools such as the static code checker Krazy:
http://www.englishbreakfastnetwork.org/krazy as part of the KDE hosting.

20. What language(s) are used in this project? (C/Java/perl/etc)

The Marble library and the Marble application are fully based on C++ and
the Qt library.

21. What is the dominant written language (i.e. English, French, Spanish,
German, etc) of the core developers?


22. What is the (estimated) size of a full release of this project? How
many users do you expect to download the project when it is released?

We try to keep packages for Marble around 10-20 MB. There are certainly
ten-thousands of people who download our software and our software gets
distributed to millions of possible users.

Ticket URL: <http://trac.osgeo.org/osgeo/ticket/694&gt;
OSGeo <http://www.osgeo.org/&gt;
OSGeo committee and general foundation issue tracker.