My summary of Where 2.0 event

Tyler Mitchell tylermitchell at
Sat Jun 17 15:08:16 PDT 2006

Here are some of my thoughts about OSGeo's 'launch event' at the  
Where 2.0 conference this past week...


In just four short months the Open Source Geospatial Foundation  
(OSGeo) has gone from concept to a living, breathing, organisation.   
This has never been so clear to me as it was this week.  There have  
been meetings, emails, development and discussions - but now we're  
creating something physical and real: a booth, brochures,  
presentations, face-to-face relationships.

Over 30 OSGeo-related individuals attended Where 2.0.  The impact was  
obvious and pervasive.  It was impossible to ignore the flood of  
black shirts we all wore on Tuesday.  The booth was also a  
central part of the exhibitor hall.  We were the first organisation  
you saw when you walked into the exhibit hall.  During every break  
and an hour and a half Sponsors Reception event the OSGeo booth was  
packed.  Volunteers talked about our projects, handed out brochures  
and participated in interviews.

Right next door to our booth was the O'Reilly Bookstore/booth - where  
Web Mapping Illustrated and Mapping Hacks could be found (both point  
to some of the OSGeo projects).  It was a natural neighbour to have.

It was a great time to put some faces to names, particularly when we  
had our evening Birds of a Feather session for OSGeo.  We had a  
packed meeting room (over 25 people) and introduced some of the other  
projects that weren't going to be mentioned on stage.  I introduced  
the OSGeo Foundation concept and three other speakers described  
projects they work with: MapServer (Dave McIlhagga), GeoData (Jo  
Walsh), MapBuilder (Brent Owens).  We talked about several issues and  
answered questions for an hour and a half.  This informal event made  
it easy for new and interested parties to come and learn more.

We also had some great presentations.  This was a single track event,  
so everyone saw the same presentations.  Dylan Beaudette had a 15  
minute slot to show off GRASS GIS.  Gary Lang had 15 minutes on stage  
talking about Autodesk's rationale for moving to open source and  
their enthusiasm in supporting OSGeo's development.  Arnulf Christl  
and Brent Owens showed off a mashup between Mapbender, GeoServer/ 
Geotools and Google Earth.

There were also three lightning talks covering OSSIM (Mark Lucas),  
GDAL/OGR (Frank Warmerdam) and MapGuide (Bob Bray).  All these talks  
were very well received.

The grand finale was an event geared toward the press.  It was in a  
meeting room, with lunch and a 4 person panel: Gary Lang, Dave  
McIlhagga, Frank Warmerdam, Schuyler Erle and moderated (superbly) by  
Rich Gibson.

Of course there were continual meet-ups in the hallway, at the booth  
and after the events where OSGeo people were able to deepen their  
relationships.  This confirmed for me my deep respect for those  
involved.  From day 1 I have been overwhelmed with what a great,  
open, honest group we have.  Your enthusiasm is certainly contagious.

I was very impressed by the professional presentation, enthusiasm,  
and thoughtful communications that our group showed.  As a result, we  
made a major impact that was able to compete with the major  
commercial splashes at the event.  Our message was loud and clear:  
open source is alive and well and more than ready to work for you.

I look forward to the next event (OSCon in Portland, perhaps) where  
developers and integrators can be encouraged to use our tools to fill  
their needs.  If the interest continues to be anything like it was  
this week, we are going to be a very busy group.  Pull up your  
bootstraps, prepare for newcomers in every project and let's keep the  
momentum going.

I'm very encouraged about OSGeo's future and the relationships that  
will continue to be built.  Thank you so much to everyone who helped  
make this event so successful.

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