[OSGeo-Discuss] FOSS4G NA 2016 Report

Andrea Ross andrea.ross at eclipse.org
Fri May 27 18:04:48 PDT 2016

Dear Kristin, Everyone

The sex/gender split was similar for FOSS4G NA 2016 as FOSS4G NA 2015. 
In the range of 25 to 30 percent women for both speakers and attendees. 
We don't ask people their gender as part of submitting or registering, 
so this is obviously a best effort from having met a number of folks, 
and discretely Google-stalking them just a little.

We probably had a record high number of trans people participate, 
despite North Carolina's HB2. Also because of HB2, many LGBT people 
reached out to me before the conference to understand what was being 
done, and to help decide whether to boycott or not. We are so grateful 
that so many did not boycott, and came anyway. It was a moving 
experience for me to learn how big the LGBT part of the community is and 
get a bit of the sense of how important the work they're doing is.

Also, I want to call out the exemplary work of the Raleigh Convention 
Center. They really went above and beyond to ensure our attendees were 
safe and comfortable. So far as I know, there were zero instances of 
harassment of LGBT people. Laurie Okun from the Convention Center in 
particular was a superstar and so impressive & professional from our 
first contact when trying to assess Raleigh, through the chaos that HB2 
inflicted, and to the post-conference follow-up. We are grateful.

So many good things to note. I also want to note that it is still a 
mostly white conference. So the job is not done, and there's still much 
more important work to be done.

Kind regards,


On 27/05/16 17:28, Kristin Bott wrote:
> Thanks for sharing the synopsis; I'm especially encouraged by (1) 
> gender (identity) parity in the planning committee (2) strong presence 
> of female-identifying folk at the conference and (3) continued 
> financial support for attendees.
> I'd be curious what the gender split was across attendees v. speakers 
> -- possibly something worth tracking across years of conferences to 
> get a sense of any shifts in attendee demographics.
> cheers -
> -k.bott
> On Fri, May 27, 2016 at 7:09 AM, Mark Lucas <mlucas17 at mac.com 
> <mailto:mlucas17 at mac.com>> wrote:
>     I had the pleasure of serving as the OSGeo representative for the
>     2016 FOSS4G NA conference selection and planning.  I thought the
>     team did an excellent job in selecting, planning and running the
>     conference.  The team made the decision to not pursue a 2017 NA
>     conference so as not to compete for resources with the OSGeo
>     international conference.  Our efforts will focus on 2018 planning
>     and selection for the next NA regional conference.
>     On a personal note I was initially concerned about how the
>     relationship with Location Tech and OSGeo would evolve.  Our
>     teaming has resulted in yet another successful conference that I
>     believe plays to the strengths of both organizations.  I was very
>     pleased with the openness and collaboration that I witnessed.
>     — Mark
>     The synopsis from Andrea Ross is included below:
>     FOSS4G NA 2016 Synopsis (please feel free to re-use this data)
>      *
>         The conference ran from May 2-5, at the Raleigh Convention
>         Center, in Raleigh North Carolina. The code sprint &
>         unconference ran May 6 & 7 at Red Hat’s headquarters, a few
>         blocks from the convention center. A Tour of the NCSU OSGeo
>         Research and Education lab took place on May 6th.
>      *
>         The conference featured 1 day of workshops, 3 days of
>         sessions, a code sprint, an unconference, and social events
>         every night. There were 93 full length (35 minute) sessions,
>         36 short length (15 minute) sessions, 10 workshops, and 3
>         keynotes. This represented an increase in full length. The
>         rooms were generally always near full or slightly overflowing
>         for particularly popular talks, despite them being big rooms.
>      *
>         The conference grew by 33% . There were 558 attendees. This
>         level of increase is very positive, when so many other
>         conferences are in decline.
>      *
>         Like 2015’s team, 50% of the 2016 committee were women. Also
>         like 2015, a significant proportion of speakers and attendees
>         were women (in the 30% range), which is great to see.
>      *
>         23 people were at the conference who wouldn't have otherwise
>         been without the financial support we gave them.
>      *
>         From the attendee survey, people were clearly thrilled about
>         the conference... 99% positive feedback. (n=102). The one
>         negative response said they were disappointed there was no
>         lunch served. We’re not sure how they missed it! The venue,
>         the strong program, and the positive & supportive atmosphere
>         were the things people commented (positively) on most.
>      *
>         People loved the keynotes, and especially Tamar Cohen's
>         entitled Extreme Mapping.
>      *
>         The video recordings of sessions are being uploaded to
>         Youtube, with dozens up, and more each day.
>      *
>         90% of sponsors rated the value excellent. 10% rated it very
>         good. The layout of the conference was especially appreciated
>         as it meant plenty of traffic for sponsors at all times.
>     This year’s conference was produced by Andrea Ross and the team at
>     the Eclipse Foundation, the same as 2015. Sarah Cordivano served
>     as Community Chair. Rob Emanuele was Program Committee Chair,
>     repeating the same role he performed in 2015.
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