[OSGeo-Conf] Re: [Board] Proposal/thoughts for a FOSS4G Advisor Role

Jeff McKenna jmckenna at gatewaygeomatics.com
Mon Dec 5 06:19:20 PST 2011

Hi Cameron,

Your email was filtered oddly for me since it was sent to multiple lists 
so I missed it until now.  I'll reply inline below:

On 11-11-26 5:48 AM, Cameron Shorter wrote:
> I've read through this thread and my sentiments are very similar to
> Peter Batty's. Like Peter, one of the things I missed most when we were
> organising FOSS4G 2009 was experience from previous conferences.
> Paul Ramsey (chair of FOSS4G 2007) did weigh in sometimes and his advise
> was hugely valuable (along with his Lessons Learned), but beyond that,
> we re-learned many things again the hard way.

This is exactly why I am proposing a partially funded position, to 
establish this consistency that you mentioned here.  Someone to turn to 
to provide that experience that you mention.  I fully agree with you.

> I've added comments to the wiki for the FOSS4G Advisor Role.
> In particular:
> * I think this role should be supporting local FOSS4G events as much as
> the international event. The transition to many local events will reach
> an order of magnitude more people than the international event, and as
> such should be encouraged. They will also be experiencing different
> opportunities and challenges, as they will often be smaller with less
> access to OSGeo celebrities, and as such would probably benefit more
> from an advisor role than the international events.

This is something that I have been somehow doing for years (in 2010 I 
traveled to Beijing, Vietnam, Japan local chapters); and I agree that 
there is a need for this role (local chapter outreach), but that would 
definitely increase the effort proposed (reference: 
http://wiki.osgeo.org/wiki/FOSS4G_Advisor_Role) and I would happily 
modify it to include this expanded role for the advisor if you wish, as 
I feel local chapters need guidance as well.

> * I think the most effective way to help many events is to start adding
> to a FOSS4G Cookbook. If a FOSS4G adviser's key role is to share
> knowledge between events, then I would expect they would be a key
> contributor to such a Cookbook.

I agree that the RFP needs more structure/guidelines.  However I 
personally have always liked each local committee's take on the FOSS4G 
event, giving them space to adapt the event to their needs and culture. 
  I am quite happy how this has been handled through the years.

> * I didn't feel a need for advice related to the venue that an external
> advisor would have significantly helped with, and as such don't see
> funding a pre-visit to the conference venue as a priority.

I fully disagree here.  The advisor has (potentially) attended every 
past FOSS4G and has much experience with the demands of the FOSS4G 
audience.  Nothing can replace boots-on-the-ground advice.

I hope I didn't miss other comments from you.

Thanks for these comments.  Keep 'em coming! :)


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