The 52°North GmbH has been founded in 2006 as a German SME company
limited by shares “Gesellschaft mit beschränkter Haftung – GmbH”).
Shareholders with the indicated shares are University of Münster (Münster,
Germany) – 26%, University of Twente (Twente, The Netherlands) – 26%,
Environmental Systems Research Institute Inc. (Redlands, California, USA) – 24%, and con terra GmbH
(Münster, Germany) – 24%. 52°North is a company (GmbH), but it acts as a n-opnrofit organization
based on the shareholders agreement. Shareholders receive neither profit shares nor other payments from
52°North coordinates activities of multiple partners from research, industry, and public administration. Its
mission is to foster the development of new concepts and technologies in Geoinformatics, in particular
Sensor Web, Web-based Geoprocessing, Security of Geospatial Web Services, Semantics, Earth
Observation, geostatistics, and Metadata. The company has a long and outstanding record in the Geo-IT
domain and is significantly contributing to the development of international standards. For example,
52°North is involved in the OGC and in the advancement of the INSPIRE directive (e.g. contributing to
the definition of a future INSPIRE Download Service for observation data based on the OGC SOS 2.0
A pro-active innovation strategy is a central element of 52°North’s activities. This becomes manifest in
European (FP7) and national research projects as well as the company’s involvement in OGC Testbeds.
This is complemented by professional services projects (consulting as well as software development)
helping customers to integrate up to date technological developments into their operational
infrastructures. 52°North focuses on the development of open source software in order to promote the use
of the existing developments and to motivate external developers to contribute to the advancement of the
Software developed by 52°North is put under an OSI-approved open source license (primarily GPL
version 2 or Apache Software License Version 2.0) and software projects are set up in a collaborative and
open environment managed by 52°North.
52°North’s profile matches the tasks in the project with respect to the experience in development and
application of standards, metadata modelling (including observation data), enabling communities with
interoperable solutions for data sharing, information extraction from geospatial data, managing a
collaborative research process, and developing open technology.
Key project participants________________________________________________________
Dr Simon Jirka PhD and diploma in geoinformatics, works as community leader for the Sensor
Web group of the open source initiative 52°North. His activities are focused on Sensor Web architectures
and especially on sensor discovery mechanisms. Besides his contribution to several European projects
such as GEOWOW and NeXOS he is also involved in the Sensor Web Enablement initiative as well as
the hydrology related activities of the Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC). Through his daily work,
comprising research activities as well as commercial consulting and software development projects,
Simon Jirka has a broad range of experience in Sensor Web related topics and co-authored several OGC
papers to increase the usability of standards for in-situ observations. Key role on the project: Staff
working for the beneficiary - Internal project management at 52°North and contribution of background
knowledge in the field of GEOSS and Sensor Web technology.