Being a lazy blogger, I might not be writing this if someone hadn’t beat me over the head with a large obsidian spoon.
FOSS4G 2007 wasn’t a great open source geospatial conference. It was a great conference, period. FOSS4G is different. I didn’t once have a time slot where there were less than two presentations or labs that I absolutely had to attend. And there were far too many people at FOSS4G whose opinions I truly respect and I didn’t even get to spend five minutes with, though I was lucky enough to have a beer with some of them.
I agree with Adena that there was an aura of maturity around open source geospatial at this conference. The number of solid implementations I ran into (ouch), and the number of open source consultants with thriving businesses were amazing. However, this maturity was counter-balanced by an enthusiasm that spread out into the hallways and surrounding establishments in a way that I have never seen before. Clearly, you can get older without growing up… which aligns nicely with my personal goals.
One thing that I found interesting was the number of newcomers. Not just of users, trying to get a handle on what open source geospatial could do for them, but also folks from proprietary companies feeling their way around the disruptive influence of open source software. Both types of attendees seemed to be getting their questions answered, and learning that OSGeo (and disruption in general) has potential benefits for anyone who chooses to embrace it.
Next year’s conference will be held in Cape Town, South Africa, and promises to trump this year’s event. If you can find a way to get there, then do!
P.S. Before Paul tells people that I own the company, I was on the local organising committee for this conference. I didn’t do as much as some others though. People like Paul Ramsey, Dave Patton, Brian Low, Jody Garnett, Justin DeOliviera, and Sea2Sky (I’m sure I’m missing someone) deserve credit for smooth operations, and the well-prepared presenters, active participants, and willing volunteers are what made the conference as energizing as it was.
Over 200 proposals were made for presentations at FOSS4G 2007. Narrowing these down to the required 120 would be an impossible task for one committee, so we’ve taken the community-based approach of allowing you to choose your favourites.
I completed my selection this morning, after visiting the website and getting an email telling me how to rate the proposals. It said “try to restrict yourself
to between 25 and 40 expressions of interest if you can”. I thought… no problem, I’ve never been to a conference where there’s that many interesting sessions. Wrong. In the end I (barely) made it into this window, but it took me over an hour of careful reading and weighing to decide which sessions I was most interested in.
The breadth of choice for FOSS4G 2007 attendees is going to be amazing, regardless of which proposals make the final cut. When you combine the unique opportunity of hands-on workshops (filling up fast), in-conference labs, and the amazing slate of presentations, the value is incredible. Especially if you register now to take advantage of the early-bird rate.
We (meaning Paul) have just published a set of ten excellent presentations that have been given early acceptance through a democratic process.
It’s clear from the quality and diversity of presentations that FOSS4G is the one conference you need to attend this year if you want to understand how Open Source Geospatial is disrupting the traditional GIS marketplace and leading innovation in previously unimagined areas. Make sure you check out the great hands-on workshops and labs, and subscribe to the presentation submissions RSS feed for some interesting reading. :)
If you’re thinking about coming, make sure to register and arrange your accomodations/travel soon. Victoria has lots of rooms, but you might not get one in your preferred price range if you don’t book early.
When Paul Ramsey asked me to join the local organising committee for FOSS4G 2007, I jumped at the opportunity. This is going to be another in a series of great conferences, and you couldn’t ask for a better location than beautiful Victoria, British Columbia.
Paul’s recent post highlights some of the progress we have been making, and I would like to point out two great opportunities for businesses and individuals wanting to become involved in this year’s conference.
First, we have been fortunate to attract some great sponsors such as Autodesk, Google and Safe Software (see Paul’s article for a complete list) but there are still some sponsorship positions (pdf) available. Apart from the tangible benefits listed, there are many reasons why you should sponsor FOSS4G. Here are two:
- Supporting open source geospatial makes good business sense. Ensuring the continued development of high quality software allows you to focus your internal resources on the core competencies that differentiate you from your competition.
- This conference has a rich history of fostering innovation in geospatial development. By participating, you will have a chance to influence this process and be in a position to take advantage of these changes in your business.
Second, the Call for Workshops has just gone out. The great hands-on workshops are a large part of what makes FOSS4G so successful. This year, the first day of the conference is dedicated to half-day workshops, and shorter 90-minute workshops will be offered throughout the conference.
If you have a topic that you would like to share with the community, we would love to hear from you. Please fill out a proposal and send it in. Presenters of half-day workshops will receive a full conference registration, and ninety-minute workshops will give you a fifty percent discount.