[OSGeo-Conf] Fwd: Re: [Board] Fwd: Analysing the downfall of FOSS4G 2011

Cameron Shorter cameron.shorter at gmail.com
Fri Aug 17 13:29:31 PDT 2012

Forwarding Tim's email to the conference email list, so we have all 
comments archived in one place. ...

Tim, this is good feedback.

-------- Original Message --------
Subject: 	Re: [Board] Fwd: Analysing the downfall of FOSS4G 2011
Date: 	Fri, 17 Aug 2012 18:54:02 +0200
From: 	Tim Sutton <tim at linfiniti.com>
To: 	Cameron Shorter <cameron.shorter at gmail.com>
CC: 	FOSS4G 2012 <foss4g2012 at lists.osgeo.org>, OSGeo-Board List 
<board at lists.osgeo.org>


On Mon, Aug 13, 2012 at 10:14 PM, Cameron Shorter 
<cameron.shorter at gmail.com <mailto:cameron.shorter at gmail.com>> wrote:

    Please send responses to the conference_dev email list (or to me to
    forward to the list).

          Website out of date

    A conference's website is the primary form of communication with
    potential delegates. For FOSS4G 2012, the website took an
    excessively long time to be developed and brought online, and then
    when it was brought online, it contained incorrect information and
    broken links
    (mainly cut and paste from the prior FOSS4G website
    People were having significant issues with submitting papers and
    registering to attend

    The FOSS4G LOC had hired an external web developer to create the
    website, who had done a poor job of development. It seemed that
    there was a lack of quality control from both the web developer, and
    LOC. In the past, development of the website has either been managed
    by technically experienced developers (as was the case in 2009), or
    by the PCO.

    The lesson here is that the website needs to be made a priority and
    suitably resourced. There is the potential for website management
    software to be passed on from one conference to the next. (We
    considered this option in 2009 but found the Open Source conference
    management software used by FOSS4G 2008 was not going to integrate
    easily with the software our PCO was using). It would be worth
    future FOSS4G conferences revisiting this question.

One thing that struck me as an obvious place for improvement when we 
were organising the CT FOSS4G in 2010 was the absence of any usable 'out 
of the box' web infrastructure from OSGEO for running the conference in 

- abstract submission
- conference pre-registration and at event registration
- sharing of talk presentation materials
- event planning (e.g. tools like 
http://www.jboss.org/drools/drools-planner/ coould be used to optimise 
the event schedule)
- project management within the loc

It seems that in most case the LOC contracts local people to provide 
this - in our case IIRC the professional event organisers we used 
provided the registration service for example which I believe 
contributed to a substantial part of their fee (Gav correct me if I am 
wrong here). It strikes me that the same problem is solved (probably 
suboptimally) over again for each conference and it would make 
conference hosting substantially easier if these things were in place 
already when the LOC convenes. Wouldn't this be a good place for OSGEO 
to invest revenue from conferences? Then with each conference it would 
be simply a matter of deploying a new 'instance' of the software suite 
for the purposes of the conference, theming the site and being on your way.

Many of the things needed can be provided by open source software but 
having them pre-configured (e.g. issue categories in trac or a 
conference theme for wordpress with page stubs and suitable plugins set 
up etc) by experienced conference organisers would be an excellent way 
of batton passing to the next LOC team.

I think some targetted investement in getting web presence and 
conference organisation tools re-usable would substantially help to 
ensure the success, and reduce the overheads of, future events.



    Cameron Shorter
    Geospatial Solutions Manager
    Tel:+61 (0)2 8570 5050  <tel:%2B61%20%280%292%208570%205050>
    Mob:+61 (0)419 142 254  <tel:%2B61%20%280%29419%20142%20254>

    Think Globally, Fix Locally
    Geospatial Solutions enhanced with Open Standards and Open Source

    Board mailing list
    Board at lists.osgeo.org <mailto:Board at lists.osgeo.org>

Tim Sutton - QGIS Project Steering Committee Member (Release Manager)
Visit http://linfiniti.com to find out about:
  * QGIS programming services
  * Mapserver and PostGIS based hosting plans
  * FOSS Consulting Services
Skype: timlinux Irc: timlinux on #qgis at freenode.net <http://freenode.net>

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