[OSGeo-Conf] OSGeo Booth

Jeff McKenna jmckenna at gatewaygeomatics.com
Tue Sep 1 13:36:15 PDT 2015

Hello Conference Committee,

I would like to discuss something, that, in all honesty is a very touchy 
subject, as there never seems to be a good time to discuss this (I may 
offend current local committees, past local committees).  So, this is a 
disclaimer: In this message I am not referring to any past or current 
FOSS4G.  I am merely needing to explain the issue, so we can possibly 
handle this for future events.  And I realize that the experienced 
Conference Committee members will know the best way to handle this from 
now on.

Each year I must contact the FOSS4G local committee and ask about an 
OSGeo booth.  Now, the local committee has to please its sponsors and 
attract more sponsorship revenue and there is a lot of pressure on them 
for this reason.  (OSGeo is never classed as a sponsor) Yet, here is 
OSGeo, the host of the event, the foundation who awarded the team the 
event, the foundation who provided the necessary seed money a year in 
advance, the foundation who gave the local committee the spotlight, and 
so on...asking for a booth as well.

On my (OSGeo) side, I want a large prominent booth; I do not want OSGeo 
to be given a small booth away from the main exhibition area, facing a 
wall etc.  In fact, sure, I want OSGeo to have a double-booth, we want 
to be seen, to show that 'hey yes we are hosting this event, we are 
great, we do great things'.

The reality is that there is no requirement to give OSGeo a booth, as it 
is not mentioned in the FOSS4G RFP.

If it is not in the RFP (and here is where my tongue gets tied always) 
should I be asking the OSGeo Board for approval to become a platinum 
sponsor, of our own event, so we can get a great booth?  Imagine that 
reaction.   Then, what happens is I instead ask for a booth to the local 
committee, and they often do their best to give OSGeo a booth.

My question is: should the OSGeo Conference Committee be including the 
OSGeo exhibition booth as a requirement for hosting FOSS4G, by adding 
this to the RFP; or should the OSGeo Board be looking at ways to become 
platinum sponsors for FOSS4G as well?

I really feel that this should (well it is) become a requirement.  If it 
is written in the RFP then this pressure is removed.

Does the OSGeo booth hurt the event's bottom line? (less sponsor space 
etc., less sponsor revenue)  Yes this does open a can of worms, back to 
the focus/priority/goal of FOSS4G. And I also am acutely aware of 
OSGeo's lack of marketing committee and materials (it is funny how I/we 
are asking for great booth space, and yet we don't have professional 
marketing materials, I realize the irony here).  Even still, this needs 
to be discussed openly.

But I feel that it is the OSGeo Conference Committee that can solve this.

Thanks for understanding,


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