My Where 2.0 thoughts (for tomorrow's VisCom mtg)

Michael P. Gerlek mpg at
Wed Jun 21 18:21:02 EDT 2006

Although I was only there for Monday night and Tuesday, and although I
found the event as a whole not as fulfilling as the 2005 edition, the
show was clearly a resounding success for OSGeo.  As I finally got
through my OSGeo mail this afternoon, I see most of my thoughts and
observations have already been covered, so I can be brief here.

Here's what I learned while on Booth Duty:

* People were asking questions of the form "I don't know anything about
all these packages, but I just need a system to do X, Y, and Z for me".
We need to have a canned set of case studies prepared -- real or
imagined -- which show how database A and server B and client C all work
together to do common workflows.  Coupled with our pre-built binary
stacks, this would mae a compelling offering.

* People also often asked "Can you point me to someone who can set this
stuff up for me?"  I often fell back to recommending Tyler's book, or
pointing to another Black Shirt nearby with specific expertise.  But
what a few of these people really needed was a consultant's business
card.  We've kicked around the idea of putting a list of OSGeo-friendly
businesses on the website -- I think we need to work that idea through
to conclusion.

* Along those lines, we need to prepare a Resource Room on the website
or something like that.  The nascent VisCom library helps a bit; Tyler's
book and the two Hacks books help; a set of white papers and case
studies help; but I can't help but think we should be able to provide
something bundled up nicely.  (Hey Tyler, can you write another book

* We need a "comparison chart" showing what the differences are between
the various OSGeo-friendly databases, servers, and clients out there.
Criteria include language, operating system, OGC compliance, etc, etc.
Note such a document is not to be used to show that X is better than Y,
but rather to help the user understand which ones best meet his or her

* We need OSGeo business cards.  (This idea was kicked around, too.
Gotta make it happen.)

* I got more than one "how do I join?" question.  The board is working
on the "membership classes" document, which is part of the issue here,
but we also could use a way to get people to register as members, live
and on-site on the show floor.

* We really need some newsletters.  Both for the "general public", and
for our own existing membership (because not everyone follows the
discuss mailing list).

* We got a lot of press stopping by.  I didn't expect that: we need to
anticipate and have a one page handout for the bloggers and podcasters.
Should contain the key messages we're getting across, interviewable
OSGeo attendees, etc.  (Although admittedly we won't often get the
amount of attention we did at this event.)

* We got a lot of press coverage.  For each such event, we should put a
spot on the Wiki or something for people to add links to stories
covering us.  (Also, I'll second Tyler's idea for a blogroll or some

And, finally:

* I could have sold a lot of T-shirts at the booth.  :-)


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