[OSGeo-Conf] [Board] FOSS4G North America 2013

David William Bitner bitner at dbspatial.com
Tue Aug 21 14:48:08 PDT 2012

> Looking from another perspective, the FOSS4G North America conference has
> already been widely publicized (see
> http://foss4g-na.org/save-the-date-foss4g-north-america-2013/, widely
> reposted elsewhere). If we choose not to provide this support then the team
> will have to cancel the event, which I think will be seen to reflect very
> negatively on OSGeo. Canceling one major planned event (Beijing) is bad
> enough, canceling two within the space of a few months would really damage
> our credibility.
> You can argue various points about whether it should have been "announced"
> before getting everything agreed, but we are where we are and I think no
> matter how you spin it, many people would see it as another significant
> setback for OSGeo if we didn't go ahead.
I just want to take a minute to make clear (from my perspective) how we got
to where we are. From the attempted formation of the North American Chapter
last year to support the NA event in DC, it was made clear that the
Conference Committee did not have the bandwidth to deal with other
conferences. The DC event was fortunate in that it was able to secure the
event through the initial sponsors of the event OpenGeo and Radiant Blue.
It is with the assumption that the Conference Committee did not want a hand
in vetting these regional events that, as the only people who expressed an
interest in hosting this conference on the North America mailing list that
we took on the mantle from the DC crew where a preliminary announcement was
made that MSP would host the next event. The event in the Twin Cities is
being hosted by the Twin Cities Local Chapter of OSGeo which is not a legal
entity and as such does not have any ability to underwrite this conference.
This is why I first approached the Board rather than the Conference
Committee to seek assistance for the financial backstop role. The Board
then directed me to put the issue to the Conference Committee first.

I do not think that losing this commitment from OSGeo will scuttle our
event completely. I do think it will cause OSGeo to miss out on an
opportunity to take on an activity that 1) strongly supports the mission
and 2) has a strong likelihood of creating a profit for our chapter's
"parent organization". If OSGeo cannot fulfill this role, it will be a *major
*setback for us and we will likely need to create a relationship with
someone else where we would lose all that revenue from our community.

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