Tuesday 31 March 2009

Why is FOSS4G a success?

Venka Raghavan recently asked, "What can local chapters do to help FOSS4G?". It took me a while to answer, because there are so many things involved in staging a successful conference, and FOSS4G's success derives from the breath of skill-sets from the people who step up to help.

What defines a successful conference?

A successful conference is one where:

  • Delegates find people, products and techniques to solve their business problems, which they take home and implement.
  • Delegates have an enjoyable time, see the sights of the hosting country and catch up with friends in the industry.
  • Sector Sponsors (like government departments, OSGeo and the OGC) increase the effectiveness of the Geospatial sector, by training delegates in the techniques, case studies and tools presented at the conference.
  • Industry Sponsors reach targeted customers which results in future work.
  • The conference is financially successful, by attracting sufficient sponsors and delegates.

Local Networking & Viral Marketing to our Target Market

We need marketing to reach potential delegates, presenters and sponsors.

The best way to reach delegates is to have the conference personally recommended from someone they trust. Community leaders have proven to be very effective in this regard, by forwarding FOSS4G press releases along with a personal recommendation explaining why FOSS4G worth attending for a particular community. A personal, one-on-one invitation for key people is even better.

Identify relevant email lists, newsletters and magazines and either write an article for these, or organise for one of these existing articles to be written.

Magazines like good stories. If you plan to present at the conference, write an article on the topic of your presentation, completing the article with "Joe Blow will be presenting at the FOSS4G conference, along with many other presentations about Business Cases and latest technologies associated with Geospatial Open Standards and Open Source".

Translating press releases to different languages also demonstrates a commitment to these communities too.

If you wish to introduce a potential sponsor, help with translations, write an article, or add someone to the community leaders and media press release list, please let me know:

name: Cameron Shorter, FOSS4G 2009 chair

phone: +61 2 8570-5050

email: c a m e r o n . s h o r t e r AT lisasoft.com

Make FOSS4G better

FOSS4G initiatives work best when they are prepared for, publicised, supported, and then successfully and smoothly executed during the conference.

Which initiative best suites you?

Live DVD

A Live DVD will be given to all FOSS4G delegates. It can be booted into Linux with pre-installed Geospatial Open Source software. In also contains windows installers, sample datasets, and probably a few other things that you may want to throw in for free.

This Live DVD will be significantly more valuable than a conference handout. It will live on to be used at future conference, and be used as a teaching tool.

We need a number of technical people to bring this Live DVD up to the latest version of Software, provide latest documentation, and generally polish the live DVD.


Climate Challenge Integration Plugfest

The OGC are leading an initiative to install a suite of Standards based geospatial software (both Open Source and Proprietary) and demonstrate integration through a Climate Change scenario. Many of the conference workshops, tutorials and presentations will use this CCIP as their basis.

Again, this initiative will be rolled out by the OGC at future conferences and events, ensuring the CCIP is more valuable than just the FOSS4G conference.

If you are technically minded, please help install and tweak packages in the CCIP, or create presentations that use it.

If you are organising a future conference, please commit to incorporating the CCIP in your conference. Knowing that the CCIP will live on will attract more sponsors and developers to the CCIP. (We already have commitment from FOSS4G 2010, and strong interest from some others).


Workshops, Tutorials, Presentations, etc

FOSS4G needs to attract good presenters and topics and promote them to delegates and sponsors. Maybe you have a worthy presentation to give, can help attract good presenters, or can coordinate one of the presentation, tutorial or workshop streams.

House Keeping

There are hundreds of small tasks which give FOSS4G a professional touch. We volunteer for them on the foss4g email list. http://lists.osgeo.org/mailman/listinfo/foss4g2009

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