Saturday 17 April 2010

Report from OSGeo stand at the Federation of Surveyors conference

The international Federation of Surveyors conference finished last week in Sydney, attracting well over 2000 delegates and by all accounts was a great success. Congratulations to the organisors.
I spent most of my time at the OSGeo booth promoting Open Source and Open Standards, presented a 15 minute lightening presentation titled "GeoSpatial Open Source for Surveyors",, and attended some Open Source presentations.
At the booth I was helped by Chris Body (OGC Standards representative at GeoSciences Australia), Darren Motollini (West Australia's Shared Land Information Platform (SLIP)), Gertrude Pieper (FLOSS-Cadastre Expert Group at FAO/FIG Commission) and Lee Hughes from LISAsoft. We were armed with:
  • An OSGeo Banner
  • A stack of OSGeo Live DVDs
  • Some OSGeo fliers let over from FOSS4G 2009
  • Some 52 North fliers we inherited after FOSS4G
  • As well as some Open Source Support fliers from LISAsoft.
The LiveDVDs were very popular with everyone we talked to at the stand. I heard reports of people being seen showing the LiveDVD to people they were sitting next to while watching presentations. And we had a number of people coming up to the stand asking for the LiveDVD. I was concerned we were going to run out of DVDs, so I ensured we only had 10 or so DVDs on display at a time.
One of the 52 North fliers had "Open Source" prominently displayed on the front, and people were picking up this flier first, rather than looking at some of the other fliers, which probably would have been more appropriate for their particular use cases. Lesson: People recognise "Open Source" and don't recognise "OSGeo", so marketing material should adjust emphasis to include Open Source in a large font.
There were many surveyors keen to try out open source, who were asking for direction as to which desktop GIS tools they should use. Lesson: There appears to be a relatively untapped market for Surveyors looking for Open Source Software, for anyone prepared to step up and support this industry.

No comments: