[OSGeo-Discuss] Candidate's Thoughts on OSGeo
peter at ebatty.com
Tue Aug 9 20:47:52 PDT 2011
I would like to thank Tyler Mitchell for nominating me, and I am honored to
be standing with a great group of candidates, all of whom have a longer
history of involvement with OSGeo than I do, I think. I have put in a lot of
hours as FOSS4G chair over the past year though, so am trying to catch up to
However, as a relative newcomer to open source geospatial software I feel
can bring some different attributes to the board, and I think that having a
variety of strengths and perspectives among the members of any board is a
good thing. In past lives I have been CTO at two of the top three (closed
source) geospatial software companies, Intergraph and Smallworld. This
background means that I am pretty well known in the broader geospatial
industry, so I often get invitations to do keynote talks at conferences or
contribute articles to publications, etc. This gives me a good platform to
spread the word about OSGeo, especially to audiences who are often fairly
uneducated about open source. My strong background in the closed source
world adds credibility when I tell this type of audience that they need to
look seriously at open source. This recent blog post is typical of the sort
of story I tell this kind of audience about my experience with open source:
http://bit.ly/qgI4lE. This post also talks a little more about the work I am
currently doing on development of web mapping applications for large
enterprises, especially utilities and telecoms, using various open source
products including PostGIS, MapFish and OpenLayers.
I already do this kind of outreach and will continue to do so whether or not
I'm on the board. But I think that being a board member would help add
weight to the story I could tell about open source at events like these.
Also as a board member I would like to help expand our outreach activities.
At FOSS4G this year we have a one day event for newcomers, and I think that
content and ideas from this could be packaged up and re-used elsewhere.
Earlier this year I participated with several others in delivering an open
source track at the GITA conference in the US, an established geospatial
conference that had historically been focused mainly on closed source
systems. I think we could get a much greater presence at small and large
events around the world by maintaining a set of good quality presentation
material, and a list of people interested in speaking, and proactively
reaching out to event organizers (who are usually looking for good content).
With my background and good connections in the industry I think I am also in
a good position to help attract more sponsorship / funding for OSGeo, to
help us maintain and expand our activities. My experience with FOSS4G this
year has made me think that there is more that we can and should do to help
future organizers avoid reinventing the wheel, and I would be interested in
continuing to work with Jeff McKenna, Tyler Mitchell and others on some
ideas on this area. One specific idea is to expand the Drupal based web site
we have put together for this year's FOSS4G, which with a little more effort
could handle the whole abstract submission and selection process in a much
more streamlined way than we were able to do it this year, save future
organizing teams a lot of effort and cut down the scope for errors in the
process. I also think that we should look seriously again at the idea which
has been discussed several times of having more regional FOSS4G events in
addition to the global one (though there are various things to think through
about how best to do this).
I have served on the boards of multiple non-profit organizations, including
6 years on the board of GITA, a North American organization focused on
geospatial education and conferences (who are also the conference organizers
for FOSS4G). I have also served on the boards or advisory boards of several
companies, and think I have a good ability to work with a broad range of
people and help get things done.
I appreciate your consideration of me as a candidate, and hope to see many
of you at FOSS4G in my adopted home town of Denver (I am from the UK
On Fri, Aug 5, 2011 at 3:15 PM, Tyler Mitchell (OSGeo)
<tmitchell at osgeo.org>wrote:
> With a very encouraging list of nominees for the open board positions, it
> might help (at least me!) if some could share their thoughts about OSGeo and
> its future direction.
> As a potential director:
> * What important areas do you see OSGeo needing to fix or strive for in
> order to grow?
> * What challenges do you see for OSGeo in the short and long terms?
> * What kinds of goals do you have for the organisation? (It's not a
> presidential race, but curious on what you see as goals for the org).
> * What is needed for a board to be successful? ...For OSGeo to be a
> * Have you had to deal with similar challenges before?
> * Etc...
> I'm sure others have good questions too, but thought I'd share the ones on
> my mind based on my experience working alongside the board.
> Any thoughts?
> Discuss mailing list
> Discuss at lists.osgeo.org
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