[OSGeo-Discuss] some post-FOSS4G thoughts

Frank Warmerdam warmerdam at pobox.com
Tue Oct 7 12:16:11 PDT 2008

Landon Blake wrote:
> When I think about the possibility of setting up a local or regional 
> conference I get a little scared about the unknowns. How do you go about 
> locating conference space? Do you approach local hotels and motels about 
> discount rooming rates?
> Would it be possible to have a way for the FOSS4G conference folks 
> assist a chapter interested in a regional conference?


Good question.  I think Arnulf raised the suggestion that it would be
good to have some "how to hold a mini-conference" materials in the wiki.

I would suggest that local/regional conference aim for a more modest
presence than FOSS4G.  In particular look for inexpensive space to hold
it.  Often universities are cooperative in this regard if there are
some FOSS4G friendly faculty.  Universities also often have computer
labs available if you want to try and do some hands on workshops.

Also, ensure you have at least 3-4 local volunteers willing to help
make arrangements. If it all falls on one person it can be a very heavy
load.  Ideally you would have more folks as part of a local chapter who
would like to help.

You will also want to be sure you have enough speakers to provide a
useful event.  Best to get some respectible ones committed early.

Sometimes it is helpful to arrange smaller conferences just before or
after some other GIS event to take advantage of folks existing travel
arrangements.  If you do this though you may need some good lead time.

It can be helpful to have some sponsorship to fund food, facilities, and
such.  In the OSBootCamp/GeoCamp event here in Ottawa we did not require
attendies to register and pay (due to support for the food from sponsors,
and the university for facilities).  The downside of that was it was very
hard to work out how many people were likely to show up, and there was
no attendie list for future contact.  So I'd suggest requiring registration,
and getting contact info, even if the registration is relatively modest
(ie. $20).

As an alternative to a stand-alone event, it can also be helpful to
work with an existing GIS conference organizer to provide an "open
source track" or something similar.

Best regards,
I set the clouds in motion - turn up   | Frank Warmerdam, warmerdam at pobox.com
light and sound - activate the windows | http://pobox.com/~warmerdam
and watch the world go round - Rush    | Geospatial Programmer for Rent

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