[OSGeo-Discuss] FOSS4G North America Conference coming April 10-12

Volker Mische volker.mische at gmail.com
Mon Jan 23 16:17:32 EST 2012

On 01/23/2012 09:58 PM, Howard Butler wrote:
> On Jan 23, 2012, at 2:52 PM, Volker Mische wrote:
>> Hi all,
>> as many of you probably know, I was strongly against having a North
>> American FOSS4G, as it might draw the attention away from the
>> international one, and I vaporise the yearly gathering of the
>> (developer) tribe.
> I never understood this rationale. Can you explain it further?  To me, it seems to presume that all of the momentum behind these technologies is in North America and Europe.  If that assumption is true, why should the conference continue to move around the world and avoid a more massive audience that can support it?  If that presumption is false, why can't a conference in non-NA/EU parts of the world be just as vibrant and interesting?

The international FOSS4G for me is a conference where I can meet all the
core developers of the open source geo world once a year at one place.
It's the place to be if you work in this space.

Some might only be able to attend every two years, but this is better
than nothing. I know many people, that go to the international FOSS4G if
they have the chance to go to any conference.

But what happens if there's a big North American one? It could become
the defacto international conference, where all the devs meet. What's
the price to this? In the AGM in Denver someone mentioned that the
international conferences always planted seeds in the region it took
place. It would be sad to see that fading away. There would be no point
of having an international conference at some place any longer.

And if the main conference is in the US, what about the people that
can't get there, but might be able to get to a conference in another
place? For EU as well as US citizens, travelling is easy, apply for a
visa and get. It's not that easy for everyone in the world.

So what's the difference between a NA conference and the European local
ones? Let's take the FOSSGIS. This won't become a huge international
event as not everyone speaks German. That's the same with most local
conferences. There's one exception coming this year, the FOSS4G-CEE. It
will be in English, but I still count it as a real regional event. The
reason is, that there are already other local FOSS4Gs in Europe, you
won't draw the attention to a single conference.

It's different with the FOSS4G-NA. It draws the attention of a lot of
people. Not only the US citizens, but also from the people that work
for/with US companies. It is not a real regional event. For me an US
regional event would be something like a FOSS4G East Coast, or even
smaller like FOSS4G California.


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