[OSGeo-Conf] Comments on Philadelphia 2017 proposal

Robert Cheetham cheetham at azavea.com
Sun Nov 8 19:10:16 PST 2015

Conference Committee,

As Steven re-raised the question on the meeting logistics thread, I thought
I'd elaborate on our PCO selection process on the Philadelphia thread.

First, let me say again, that there was no collaboration between the Ottawa
and Philadelphia bids.  Any common text arises from the fact that we worked
with the same PCO and inevitably used text provided to us where it made

Based on Dave's description of how they came to develop a bid, it sounds
like we had different stories.  Allow me to tell ours.

Philadelphia worked with LocationTech to put together a bid for the
FOSS4G-North America 2016 event and was short-listed.  As you know, we were
not successful at winning the conference, and FOSS4G-NA 2016 will be held
in Raleigh next spring.  However, we had done a lot of legwork and decided
to leverage this effort toward a more ambitious bid to bring the larger
FOSS4G global event here.

Philadelphia hosted the OSGeo Code Sprint in Feb 2015.  We promoted this as
an event that invited developers from both OSGeo and LocationTech software
projects.  The result was work on OSGeo projects, LocationTech projects,
and developers that work on projects housed in both organizations.  It was
fruitful.  At the end of the day, the objective of both organizations is
the development of a stronger geospatial open source ecosystem, and working
together on building better software is the reason most of us are involved
to begin with.  Further, we had more sponsors than any previous OSGeo Code
Sprint (including a cash sponsorship from LocationTech).  Most of the new
sponsors were from companies that are members of LocationTech.

When we made a decision to invite the Eclipse Foundation to help us with
2017 FOSS4G bid, we felt like it was a pragmatic decision at multiple

 * Many past FOSS4G events that relied on volunteers resulted in burned out
volunteers - we didn't want to rely on a volunteer team to run the event.

 * A collaboration with the Eclipse Foundation, another open source
software foundation, would likely result in a whole that is greater than
the sum of the parts.  FOSS4G has never solely been about OSGeo projects;
the event has always invited open source geospatial projects of all kinds.
By including a second open source geospatial organization in the effort, we
would have a greater likelihood of expanding the diversity of projects,
people, partners, and sponsors that will be the key to a successful event.
Eclipse is more than just a PCO, they are fellow open source geospatial
collaborators, and I believe that's a good thing.

 * At a personal level, I prefer to view the world in terms of potential
non-zero sum outcomes.  Providing LocationTech with a booth and some kind
of logo on the web site does not diminish the OSGeo brand.  Similarly,
OSGeo's success does not diminish the younger LocationTech's short-term or
long-term prospects.  A bigger, healthier open source geospatial ecosystem
benefits all of us.

We invited LocationTech and the Eclipse Foundation to serve as PCO because
we felt that the result would be a better event and a richer open source
geospatial ecosystem.




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