[OSGeo-Conf] North American FOSS4G conference

Tim Schaub tschaub at opengeo.org
Fri Sep 23 16:23:21 EDT 2011

I think these are good concerns.

In my opinion, the main justification for trying a regular conference
in North America would be to provide more substantial and predictable
revenue for OSGeo.  We haven't proven that sponsorship funds are
impossible to sustain, but we've demonstrated that they are hard to
come by.  We also haven't proven that a regular conference could
provide stable revenue, but the evidence suggests it to me.  I imagine
that the organizational costs of a conference would be reduced if it
were done regularly (by the same people).  I also imagine that
attendance wouldn't fluctuate wildly, and should continue to grow.

We (the board) clearly don't have consensus about the value (or risks)
of a regular conference.  It's good to hear input from others.

Given what was agreed upon in terms of a global rotation for the
conference, we also don't have stable or predictable revenue.  With
diminishing sponsorship revenue, we've seen that we can't make a
commitment to a stable ED position either.


On Fri, Sep 23, 2011 at 1:44 PM, Dave McIlhagga
<dmcilhagga at dmsolutions.ca> wrote:
> It depends on what OSGeo is trying to achieve through running conferences. Is it:
> 1. Provide an opportunity for a maximum number of developers to connect face to face
> 2. Encourage adoption of OSGeo technologies
> 3. Raise funds for OSGeo
> 4. etc...
> Encouraging adoption fo OSGeo was the primary driver for the current 3 region rotation, but I'm not sure if that's still the highest priority of the organization. Uncertainty in this matter led in some part to the difficulties in the selection process this year.
> I'd like to suggest that the Board conduct a full review of the conference selection process -- as it currently feels highly disconnected from the priorities of the board. The recent decision of the board to eliminate the Exec Director position was in part rooted in finances -- that's understandable, however at the same time, selecting China was likely not a wise choice if finances were the primary driver. Is it possible that this selection led directly to the termination of the ED position? Was that wise?
> I believe the FOSS4G selection process is one of the most important decisions made annually by OSGeo as an organization. What concerns me is that this decision is currently effectively made by this committee without it being strongly connected to the priorities of the organization as a whole.
> If nothing else, given the financial link between this selection, and the viability of OSGeo, I believe fixing this process needs to be one of the top priorities by the board.
> My 2 cents.
> Dave
> On 2011-09-23, at 3:05 PM, Bart van den Eijnden wrote:
>> I totally agree with what Volker says here.
>> My personal preference would be a two year rotation between Europe and North America, with only local conferences in Other.
>> Bart
>> Sent from my iPhone
>> On Sep 23, 2011, at 7:52 PM, Volker Mische <volker.mische at gmail.com> wrote:
>>> Hi all,
>>> I already wrote it in my blog post about the FOSS4G, but it should also
>>> hit the mailing lists as well.
>>> I don't think that a yearly North American FOSS4G is a good idea. I fear
>>> that people will be going there and the global one will die (especially
>>> next year, when it is "in some other country").
>>> A lot of devs in the FOSS4G world are from North America (I'd even say
>>> the majority, but I'm not sure about it). Those will definitely go to a
>>> North American event.
>>> I could imagine that many people from Europe can justify one conference
>>> to go somewhere in the world, when there's enough value. Which is for
>>> me, in case for the FOSS4G, meeting almost all core developers of the
>>> various FOSS4G projects.
>>> If I have the choice to meet all the North American developers and a lot
>>> of other ones as well, and the choice between meeting some American and
>>> European developers perhaps at some other place in the world (where it
>>> might even be harder to get there (think about past events like
>>> Australia)). Where would you go?
>>> And also important: where would the sponsors invest? It was already a
>>> hard time for the Sydney conference to cover the costs, how hard would
>>> it be if there's another big conference?
>>> For me those are reasons why the a global event might die, and that
>>> would be a shame. As we heard at (I think) the AGM, past conferences
>>> planted seeds in those locations.
>>> The rotating between Europe, North America and somewhere else makes a
>>> lot of sense to me, but if there will be a North American conference
>>> every year, we can just drop the "somewhere else" and go for a Europe,
>>> North America, North America rotation.
>>> For me the solution would be to make more localised conferences in North
>>> America, like a West Coast, East Coast, Central, Canadian one. This
>>> won't draw to much developers away from the global one. It would kind of
>>> the same as in Europe, where we also have local Chapter conferences.
>>> Cheers,
>>> Volker
>>> _______________________________________________
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>>> Conference_dev at lists.osgeo.org
>>> http://lists.osgeo.org/mailman/listinfo/conference_dev
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Tim Schaub
OpenGeo http://opengeo.org/
Expert service straight from the developers.

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