[Board] EGU General Assembly 2014: FOSS / OSGeo Townhall Meeting - Overview

Suchith Anand Suchith.Anand at nottingham.ac.uk
Sun Apr 13 22:49:46 PDT 2014

Hi Peter,

Thanks. Jeremy will be in contact with you for this.

From: "Peter Löwe" [peter.loewe at gmx.de]
Sent: Sunday, April 13, 2014 2:26 PM
To: Suchith Anand
Cc: Cameron Shorter; Jeremy Morley (Jeremy.Morley at nottingham.ac.uk); marketing at lists.osgeo.org; OSGeo-Board; yann.chemin; Dominik Reusser; Jens Klump; AttilioCastellarin; peter.loewe at tib.uni-hannover.de
Subject: Aw: RE: [Board] EGU General Assembly 2014: FOSS / OSGeo Townhall Meeting - Overview

Hi Suchith, hi Jeremy,
sorry for the delay - the preparations for EGU and FOSS4G are keeping my busy.
A short presentation/lightning talk about "Geo for all" and the ICA OSGeo labs will be great for the OSGeo townhall at EGU.
Since the townhall will take place on Tuesday, 29 April from 19:00–20:00 hours in Room B13, it would be good to get together the night before for a meeting/rehearsal for all townhall presenters. @Jeremy: Would you be able to attend  ?


<peter.loewe at gmx.de>

Gesendet: Donnerstag, 10. April 2014 um 14:59 Uhr
Von: "Suchith Anand" <Suchith.Anand at nottingham.ac.uk>
An: "Cameron Shorter" <cameron.shorter at gmail.com>, "Peter Löwe" <peter.loewe at gmx.de>, "Jeremy Morley (Jeremy.Morley at nottingham.ac.uk)" <Jeremy.Morley at nottingham.ac.uk>
Cc: "marketing at lists.osgeo.org" <marketing at lists.osgeo.org>, OSGeo-Board <board at lists.osgeo.org>
Betreff: RE: [Board] EGU General Assembly 2014: FOSS / OSGeo Townhall Meeting - Overview
Hi Peter,

It is good to see that the Town Hall meeting at EGU 2014 for “OSGeo: Free and Open Source Software (FOSS) in the Geosciences” is taking place.


I am sure there will be lot of academics and researchers from the Earth Science community all over the world will be attending this session and it will be really helpful if you can include short presentation (5 min) of our  "Geo for All" initiative http://www.geoforall.org/  so that the participants know about this education initiative and can join.

Jeremy Morley (cc in) is attending and is happy to present this. Many thanks.

Best wishes,


From: board-bounces at lists.osgeo.org [mailto:board-bounces at lists.osgeo.org] On Behalf Of Cameron Shorter
Sent: 05 March 2014 19:50
To: Peter Löwe
Cc: marketing at lists.osgeo.org; OSGeo-Board
Subject: Re: [Board] EGU General Assembly 2014: FOSS / OSGeo Townhall Meeting - Overview

Hi Peter,
I'm surprised that board members haven't commented on your proposal. Your proposal is not a standard request and we don't have specific guidelines to go buy.
I think the closest is the Code Sprint Guidelines:

I expect you will have better luck if you can do a bit more ground work and provide:
1. A list of volunteers willing to help.
2. Source another sponsor, I expect that OSGeo would be able to provide matching funding.
3. Only request minimal funds from OSGeo. (Ie, it will be difficult for OSGeo to justify paying for a bar, and likely will question whether it should pay for food).
4. Once you have that in place, put a motion forward, that OSGeo should pay $XX for YY, which the board can then vote on.

On 04/03/14 03:51, "Peter Löwe" wrote:
Hi Cameron,

can you please give me a hint on how long the decision processes of the OSGeo usually take ? This is of course a classic case of RTFM - but I'm not sure where this info can be looked up. The planning for EGU is progressing and it would be sensible to request a a timeslot for the OSGeo townhall sooner than later.

Also, to request money from the marketing committee for the production of a stack of OSgeo Live DVDs for EGU - does a semi-formal E-mail request suffice ?


<peter.loewe at gmx.de><peter.loewe at gmx.de>

Gesendet: Sonntag, 23. Februar 2014 um 04:48 Uhr
Von: "Cameron Shorter" <cameron.shorter at gmail.com><cameron.shorter at gmail.com>
An: "Peter Löwe" <peter.loewe at gmx.de><peter.loewe at gmx.de>, board at lists.osgeo.org, marketing at lists.osgeo.org
Betreff: Re: Aw: Re: EGU General Assembly 2014: FOSS / OSGeo Townhall Meeting - Overview
Forwarding to OSGeo board list, as apparently Peter was blocked from sending to the list.

On 23/02/14 05:17, "Peter Löwe" wrote:
Dear OSGeo board, dear OSGeo marketing committee,

I'm forwarding the following info to you all about an opportunity to launch an OSGeo themed event within the EGU General Assembly, as suggested by Cameron Shorter. Feedback about the feasibility of funding for the event would be very welcome.


Gesendet: Freitag, 21. Februar 2014 um 20:37 Uhr
Von: "Cameron Shorter" <cameron.shorter at gmail.com>
An: "Peter Löwe" <peter.loewe at gmx.de>, "Margherita Di Leo" <margherita.di-leo at jrc.ec.europa.eu>, jmckenna at gatewaygeomatics.com, "yann.chemin" <yann.chemin at gmail.com>, "Markus Neteler" <markus.neteler at fmach.it>, "Dominik Reusser" <reusser at pik-potsdam.de>, massimiliano.cannata at supsi.ch, "Helmut Kudrnovsky" <alectoria at gmx.at>, "Alessandro Frigeri" <alessandro.frigeri at iaps.inaf.it>, "Jens Klump" <jens.klump at gfz-potsdam.de>, "Jens Klump" <jklump at uni-bremen.de>, markus.metz.giswork at googlemail.com
Betreff: Re: EGU General Assembly 2014: FOSS / OSGeo Townhall Meeting - Overview
Hi Peter,
If ok with you, do you mind including board at lists.osgeo.org and marketing at lists.osgeo.org to the email CC list on this thread?
(If you wish sponsorship $$, then these communities need to see the proposal and vote on it).

This event looks like a valuable promotional opportunity for OSGeo. The question is whether it is more or less valuable than the many other opportunities. I refer you to consider the board priorities:
In particular: "Support initiatives which support themselves", and "Packaging and Marketing".
Sourcing a co-sponsor would be compelling, and noting that you will have numerous volunteers already attending the conference helps your case.

I note also that the marketing committee is mostly ineffective due to a lack of volunteers to support requests such as these. In particular, we are missing a process for approvals and distribution of funds. (This is a thinly veiled suggestion that you might wish to help out).

On 22/02/14 02:52, "Peter Löwe" wrote:
Hi all,
[cc: Cameron Shorter for the OSGEO Marketing Board]
[cc: Jeff McKenna, OSGEO Prez]

Thank you very much for all your feedback concerning the current discussion on options for FOSS/OSGeo meetings during the upcoming EGU General Assembly (Vienna, April 27 –May 2 2014).

Here is an (exhaustive) update on the topic, based on past experience organising one Townhall and various Splinter Meetings in the past. Beware - this is a rather long posting.

It boils down to two questions:
- Do we want/need to raise awareness for OSGeo within EGU ?
- Are we willing to invest about 1500 Euro / 2000 USD for a one hour reach-out event, which will pave the way to make OSGeo a stakeholder within EGU/AGU   ?

Background Info:

What is this European Geoscience Union (EGU) ?
EGU, the European Geosciences Union, is Europe’s premier geosciences union, dedicated to the pursuit of excellence in the geosciences and the planetary and space sciences for the benefit of humanity, worldwide. It was established in September 2002. It is a non-profit international union of scientists with over 12,500 members from all over the world. Membership is open to individuals who are professionally engaged in or associated with geosciences and planetary and space sciences and related studies, including students and retired seniors.

What is this Americcan Geophysical Union (AGU) ?
[Wikipedia] The American Geophysical Union (AGU) is a nonprofit organization of geophysicists<http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Geophysicist>, consisting of over 62,000 members from 144 countries. AGU's activities are focused on the organization and dissemination of scientific information in the interdisciplinary and international field of geophysics. The geophysical sciences involve four fundamental areas: atmospheric and ocean sciences; solid-Earth sciences; hydrologic sciences; and space sciences.
Researchers in the Geosciences can be members of either EGU or AGU - a membership in one of the organisations allows to benefit from from both AGU and EGU offerings, including attending annual conferences like the EGU General Assembly. In a nutshell: The EGU General Assembly is open to the 62,000 members of AGU as well.

What is a EGU General Assembly ?
The annual EGU General Assembly is the largest and most prominent European geosciences event. It attracts over 11,000 scientists from all over the world, of which more than a quarter are students. The meeting’s sessions, typically over 500, cover a wide range of topics, including volcanology, planetary exploration, the Earth’s internal structure and atmosphere, climate, as well as energy and resources. General Assemblies have around 4,500 oral presentations and over 9,000 posters. Aside from disciplinary sessions, dealing with the topics covered by each scientific division, the meeting also features Union-wide sessions such as great debates, Union symposia (including the EGU Awards Ceremony), medal lectures, short courses and education and outreach symposia.

What is a Townhall Meeting, what’s a Splinter Meeting  ?

Both types of Sessions are open (only) to EGU participants and be booked free of charge (no cost for the venue!).
Townhall Meetings are meetings open for all participants in the conference. During these meetings new initiatives or decisions are announced to a larger audience following an open discussion on the matter. Townhall Meetings will be scheduled from Monday to Friday from 19:00 to 20:00 in the conference centre’s lecture rooms.  Townhall Meetings last 60 minutes in the evening, fit 50 to 350 people, and are announce in the Information&Schedule Book.  They attract large crowds,  as they are staged in the evening after the scientific sessions. Usually people linger after the official ending of the Townhall to discuss the topics raised and to network. During this informal part, beverages and finger food are consumed by the attendees (this has to be funded – more on this below).

Splinter Meetings are side meetings on non-commercial purposes organized by participants. They can be organized during the course of the conference and they can be public or by invitation only. Splinter Meetings last up to 90 minutes and are held during the day. Scientific sessions are held in parallel, which can prevent interested people from attending. They fit 36 to 60 people and are announced in the Programme (Information & Schedule Book) if booked early.

OSGeo related background:
Since 2012, there have been “FOSS in Earth Sciences” themed events at the EGU General assembly, hosted by OSGeo/FOSS volunteers. This started with an improvised Splinter Session which drew a surprisingly large crowd.
References to OSGeo software can be spotted rather often every year during the poster sessions (> 9000 posters!). Last year we had the first session on FOSS in the Earth and Space Science Informatics (ESSI). This year there will be two independent FOSS sessions (ESSI and Hydrology). This is a significant step ahead. By now, researchers can apply to attend the conference, to showcase the FOSS aspects of their work.  Before this, everything “FOSS” had to be relabelled/closeted since there was no recognition for this kind of scientific work.
While we have two FOSS sessions this year,  I strongly believe that many people already doing FOSS-based research, or wanting to learn about OSGeo, have not been reached.
FWIW: ESR! and Microsoft Research usually have nifty booths at EGU.

Options for OSGeo:
1.    We can opt to apply for a Splinter Meeting on FOSS (GIS) in Earth Science like in the past years. This will cause only moderate effort. We can structure the session as we like. There can be presentations, show&tell, discussions etc. This has been done before and it's fun. We will reach an audience of 30-50 people (- in comparison to 11,167 attendees in 2013). Since there are FOSS-related sessions, a FOSS-themed Splinter Meeting is logical, while a Splinter Meeting title referring to OSGeo would be difficult to justify - until now OSGeo has not stepped forward within EGU.
2.    We can apply for a Townhall Meeting on OSGeo and its impact on Earth Science. This will allow us to step forward and officially put OSGeo on the map within EGU. The Townhall could include presentations on what OSGeo is, why it’s significant for Earth Science, latest developments like OSGeoLive [option: OSGeo-Live demo + OSGeoLive-DVDs as giveaways], etc., making it a genuine reach out event. However, this requires financial support and volunteers:
a.     Putting the Townhall programme together would be a collaborative effort by OSGeo volunteers attending the conference. I am sure we can easily put together an one hour show from existing material + what OSGeo/FOSS people activists will showcase at the conference.
b.    The event needs to be announced before and during the conference. Since the FOSS/OSGeo attendees do their research in many different fields, we should be able to reach out to a large interdisciplinary community. While very large Townhalls draw over 350 people, an expected size of 100 people seems more realistic to start with (this is already twice the size of a Splinter Session).  Reality check: In 2012, Alessandro Frigeri and myself were able to attract at least 40 people by putting up posters made in a copy shop two days ahead of the Splinter Session - geoscientists dig FOSS !.
c.     Funding for OSGeo-Live DVDs: The Townhall would need reliable funding for the production of OSGeo-Live-DVDs before the conference.
d.    Funding for beverages/food:  Townhall sessions usally come with free “refreshments” (softdrinks, alcoholic beverages, finger food) for the attendees. The is only one company available for the catering:
                                                                                                     i.        Their estimate for limited catering (water, beer, some wine. breadsticks) for 100 people is about 1500 Euro (ca. 2000 USD).
                                                                                                    ii.        A “cash-bar“, where the attendees (~100people) pay for themselves, costs about 1040 Euro (1450 USD)  for labour wages and general effort.
                                                                                                   iii.        Theoretically, having a Townhall “on a diet” without any beverages or food would be possible, but is rather unusual.
Thanks for reading through all of this!
I hope this overview will help you all to come up with a "well-informed opinion". Your thoughts would be much appreciated.



Cameron Shorter,

Software and Data Solutions Manager


Suite 112, Jones Bay Wharf,

26 - 32 Pirrama Rd, Pyrmont NSW 2009

P +61 2 9009 5000,  W www.lisasoft.com<http://www.lisasoft.com>,  F +61 2 9009 5099


Cameron Shorter,

Software and Data Solutions Manager


Suite 112, Jones Bay Wharf,

26 - 32 Pirrama Rd, Pyrmont NSW 2009

P +61 2 9009 5000,  W www.lisasoft.com<http://www.lisasoft.com>,  F +61 2 9009 5099

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