[OSGeo-Discuss] Is OSGeo North America-centric?

Tyler Mitchell tylermitchell at shaw.ca
Mon Sep 4 20:25:29 PDT 2006

On 4-Sep-06, at 6:38 PM, Gary Lang wrote:
> “How to enable more people to participate in OSGeo efforts (make it  
> less North-America centric which is getting to be an issue in  
> European GFOSS communities)”
Is this purely an issue about optics - or how the organisation  
'appears' to be?  Or is it based on some deliberate decisions that  
make it more difficult to participate?

I think it's a good idea to discuss more generally how we can engage  
people Internationally, but I don't see it as a North America versus  
the rest of the world problem.  With such a broad geographically  
based board, I'd say it has in fact slowed down the progress of the  
foundation - but it has been a really good choice to have that  

Like you say, when any group wants to do more or feel closer to the  
action, it sets the stage for regional chapters.  Surely people  
wouldn't say, for example, the German Chapter of OSGeo is too North  
American focused?  Yet we are all OSGeo.  Local focus is the reason  
for the chapters, so engagement at that level will be the most  
effective and empowering.

If there are more Americans and Canadians involved in events, etc.  
it's only because of regional interest and availability (e.g. being  
closer to certain conferences, etc) - not because of some decision to  
leave others out in the rain.  I hope that isn't the perceived problem.
> So to the second half, please chime in and help us understand what  
> problems we are seeing with respect to a perceived “geo-centricism”  
> with OSGeo with respect to tour colleagues in Europe. When I look  
> at the composition of the OSGeo board, the projects that are out  
> there, and how easy it is for regions of the world to get involved  
> when they decide to do so, I confess I am stumped on this one.
I would also like to know what is holding people back from  
participating in other countries, if there are more than a few.  From  
others I talk to around the world, there is general enthusiasm for  
OSGeo and its efforts - a tiny minority have expressed concern about  
geographic scope and focus.

In my opinion, tone problem I see is that without more interactive  
contacts with people on the ground in other countries, it can limit  
the amount of momentum OSGeo can gather (e.g. representing at  
conferences, making presentations, etc.).  It has been my hope that  
our international board provides a good way of making those  
connections possible, as well as the regional chapters.  Perhaps this  
is the limitation?  Or perhaps there is a better way?

Would love to hear more thoughts on this,
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