[OSGeo-Conf] 2017 Conference dates question

Andy Anderson aanderson at amherst.edu
Wed Oct 21 10:22:07 PDT 2015

I’ll also add that Boston wanted to make sure we avoided the several holidays and other geography-related conferences that take place during the September-October time frame, of which there are several such as URISA GIS Pro.

And I’ll note that with Boston’s proposed main conference start date of Wednesday, 16 August 2017 we are one week earlier than Bonn on 24 August 2016 and both Philadelphia and Ottawa on 23 August 2017. While this won’t help academics at North Carolina State who have an unusually early mid-August start to their fall semester, it will be important for the many schools that start classes later but before Labor Day, such as Penn State on 21 August 2017.

While August is a popular vacation month also in the US, the Boston area is extraordinarily rich in cultural, historical, and natural amenities, so that a visiting family could easily stay very busy for this week and one or two more.

— Andy

On Oct 21, 2015, at 11:55 AM, Michael Terner <mgt at appgeo.com<mailto:mgt at appgeo.com>> wrote:

​Jeroen & Helena:
David and Ottawa lay out the basics, and our proposal also explains the reasoning behind our date selection, but I would like to elaborate and provide a few further details on the Boston LOC's (BLOC) reasoning:

  *   For an event of this size it will be impossible to find a perfect date where everyone who wants to participate will be able to​.
  *   The need to "fix" a particular date and not have much flexibility is a function of how the OSGeo RFP is written. The LOCs are asked to provide a date, and more importantly a budget. As Dave explains, the time of year is a significant factor for both budget and availability. Thus, we needed to make a series of tradeoffs regarding availability, affordability, "tradition" and potential impact on attendance. For Boston, and apparently the other two bids, that calculus resulted in mid-late August, and indeed the August date for Bonn provides an important precedent.
  *   In the Boston area, and for the typical Boston/New England academic calendar, August is far preferable to September. Our region's myriad academic institutions tend to startup in early September and there was unanimous agreement among our academic participants that August, before school starts was far preferable and ensured their participation. In addition, this opened up far more options for us to leverage our academic partners to obtain excellent and affordable venues for hosting our workshops.
  *   October is the most expensive month to visit Boston due to the large number of USA and international visitors that come to see the fall foliage. It is also a competitive time to host conferences and there was very limited availability at high cost even ~2 years in advance.
  *   Last, there is ample time between July and August to have a vacation and to plan to attend an important conference. It won't work for everyone, but as David points out (and our proposal highlights) there are opportunities to combine vacation and FOSS4G attendance, and August is arguably the best time of year to visit Boston and New England given the weather. Toward that end, it is worth noting that the largest geospatial conference - the Esri user conference which draws 15,000 people to San Diego - is typically held in July (i.e., it will be July 10-14, 2017).

We sadly understand that this date will not work for everyone, but as per our proposal our goal is to make Boston FOSS4G the can't miss geo event of 2017 and give people every reason to use the next 20 months to find a way to attend.

Sincerely, MT on behalf of the BLOC

On Wed, Oct 21, 2015 at 4:39 AM, Dave McIlhagga <dmcilhagga at mapsherpa.com<mailto:dmcilhagga at mapsherpa.com>> wrote:
Hello Helena, and Jeroen,

For Ottawa, the venue is the only practical one available for the size of event — and it really is a beautiful place in the heart of the city. As a consequence, choice of dates is limited for us as prices would rise dramatically in September / October when available.

We considered doing this in August vs. November — and decided that given our weather is fantastic in August (and a bit grey and wet in November) plus closer to the typical timing of FOSS4G that this would be the way to go. With the many celebrations that will be going on for Canada’s 150th over the summer — it will be a special and unique time to be in the city.

Jeroen — I have a good solution for you, just bring the family for a holiday. They will love it! :)

As for the academic timing conflict Helena, I can say for the universities in Canada it won’t be an issue as the earliest I’ve heard of universities starting here is the week before Labour day. I’m not sure about the rest of the US.



> On Oct 21, 2015, at 5:16 AM, Helena Mitasova <hmitaso at ncsu.edu<mailto:hmitaso at ncsu.edu>> wrote:
> I too have a problem with the August date although for a different reason - I am not sure whether this is specific to North Carolina
> but our fall semester starts exactly at the same time in August and it is quite important for the instructor (me) to be there for the first and second class (for numerous quite obvious reasons). This could be the case for other universities in the US as well.
> I was hoping that Bonn in August was an exception - I most likely won’t be able to come, but I really don’t want to miss two FOSS4G in a row.
> And I can totally understand Jeroen’s concern. I don’t think that August is a good time for the conference
> and I hope that the dates could be still changed.
> Helena
>> On Oct 20, 2015, at 11:52 PM, Jeroen Ticheler <jeroen.ticheler at geocat.net<mailto:jeroen.ticheler at geocat.net>> wrote:
>> Hi all,
>> First of all a big thanks to all three LOC's for your impressive bid documents! It will be a tough decision for the conference committee to select a winner I think.
>> I will take time soon to read carefully through all bids in the coming days so I can ask sensible questions. But one thing that I noticed at a first glance is that all three bids propose a week in the second half of August for the conference.
>> My question is: are your dates fixed at this point in time? If so, why? If not, what other dates could be possible?
>> My concern is that August is (with July) the middle of the summer holidays (in Europe at least). Having kids myself, I have a conflicting agenda for the conference in Bonn 😢 and I'm surely not the only one. Planning the conference during summer holiday time may make it difficult for quite some potential participants to attend the conference. Personally I would hate to miss the conference, but the summer holidays with the kids would prevail when I have to choose.
>> Thanks,
>> Jeroen
>> _________________________
>> Jeroen Ticheler
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> Helena Mitasova
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> Earth, and Atmospheric Sciences
> and Center for Geospatial Analytics
> North Carolina State University
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