My summary of Where 2.0 event
tylermitchell at shaw.ca
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 OSGeo.org 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
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
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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