I don’t understand how folks can attend conferences and still have enough energy left to blog about them.
I really enjoyed GeoTec this year. It was a great chance to put faces to names, like Paul Spencer, who I’d been working with for over a year without having met. I got to talk to many traditional GIS folks that I hadn’t seen since I was sipping the ESRI kool-aid full time, spend time with new online acquaintances like Peter Batty, and touch base with geo-friends that I spend more time with than my family (or so my wife says). I even got to annoy Ed Parsons with a pitch for an open protocol extension to XMPP for geospatial data collaboration. He seemed un-phased :)
Apart from general connections, a few conversations stood out for me: one with someone who had quietly implemented a disconnected GIS solution based on MapServer (extremely similar to a MapGuide app we have inhouse), another with someone who was looking to eliminate ongoing licensing fees by re-implementing their web-based GIS using MapGuide Open Source, and a series of conversations with government representatives who were looking at publishing using KML and GeoRSS.
There were certainly folks at the conference who were convinced that open source geospatial and neogeography were inconsequential. Various analogies occur to me — cough ostriches — but mostly I am sad that these people don’t see that change brings opportunity. The good news for me was that the buzz around real implications of these topics was much higher than last year.
Apart from the excellent sessions and yet another note-to-self about procrastination, one thing that I’m taking away from GeoTec is asking for KeyNote/iWork on our office “accessibility-testing” Macbook. Ed Parsons’ presentation was incredibly visually appealing, and I’m soooo tired of bulleted text.
As an aside, Autodesk was honoured for MapGuide Open Source in the GeoTec Media Geospatial Leadership Awards, beating out heavy-hitters like Google in the category: Geospatial Innovator Award – Given to a geospatial tool developer that has created new software or hardware that expands the possibilities of the geospatial industry. The Autodesk folks I spoke to there felt that the award should go to the MGOS community, but personally I am happy to see Autodesk’s decision publicly validated.
P.S. Here’s a crib sheet if you ever meet me: I’m usually a pretty quiet and easygoing type. However, when it comes to my passions (like geospatial technology) it’s pretty hard to get me to shut up, or to hold back on my opinions. I also tend to make rather outrageous statements “tongue-in-cheek”… so PLEASE don’t take me too seriously.
Update: Dale has posted his take on GeoTec (as promised below)