[OSGeo-Conf] Re: Selecting a perpetual FOSS4G PCO?

Tyler Mitchell tmitchell at osgeo.org
Fri Aug 19 17:11:03 EDT 2011

> Jeff, Arnulf and myself have been approached by an international consortium of Professional Conference Organisors (PCOs), offering to take over the hosting of FOSS4G around the world for us.

Hi Cameron,

I have also been approached, informally, by some of our past organisers who are plugged into these kinds of international consortiums and can work with others around the globe on our behalf - e.g. Sea to Sky who ran FOSS4G 2007 was interested.  GITA from this year would be interested as well.  I assume 2008 Tour Hosts, etc. would be too.  I like the idea of having a dedicated PCO.  It would make a serious change to the way bids are prepared each year, which would need to be considered, but also think it would help lower the barrier to LOCs that may be intimidated.

> I believe that we have reached the point with FOSS4G that it would make sense to have a paid staff role, or a partner organisation, dedicated to managing the hosting of FOSS4G, this providing continuity of knowledge about FOSS4G from city to city.

It would be great to hear about what isn't working well, beyond just the lessons learned we capture on the wiki.  We know that, for example, it takes PCO (companies) a while to get up to speed with our way of running things - e.g. community voting for presentations, specific timelines, system requirements.  Much of which is smoother if they ran it a second time.  

I wonder how this would shake out financially - annual retainer needed, bridge funding throughout the year required?  How do we make it profitable yet easy to run and without making major impact on your current budget.  Did you have any gut feel on that side of it?

> This would help reduce the very high learning curve that each LOC faces when running FOSS4G, and will allow us to set up websites and infrastructure which is passed on.

The approach so far has been that OSGeo Board has a rep on the LOC,  OSGeo conference committee chair is on the LOC and OSGeo staffer is on the LOC.  It would be worth reviewing how well this is working at the moment so we can see where the holes are.  These roles have been adapted over the years to help pass on that knowledge and continuity that you mention, so I think it's a good place to start.  e.g. are there areas that these roles are not covering off well enough that a PCO might do better; are there some "business systems" steps for FOSS4G planning that need to be documented to improve things, etc?

Count me in for further discussions on both aspects!

Thanks for bringing it up - it's been on my mind too.


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