EGU Townhall 2017

From OSGeo
Revision as of 11:58, 5 April 2018 by Peter.loewe (talk | contribs)
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Ramp Up

General Information

Title of the event

OSGeo: Open Source Scientific Software for Open Science (PL: Updated 20170213)


The paradigm of Open Science is based on the tiers Open Access, Open Data and Free Open Source Software (FOSS). However, the interconnections between the tiers remain to be improved. This is a critical factor to enable Open Science. This Townhall meeting reaches out all across EGU, espescially welcoming Early Career Scientists, to network and discuss the current challenges and opportunities of the FOSS tier, including:

- recognition for scientific software: how to write a software paper?

- software life cycle: who will maintain your software after you've finished your PhD and found a decent job?

- funding software development: evolving software begun for your own research needs into something larger, that serves other's needs, and boosts your scientific reputtation.

- software reviews: how to set up software development such that other developers get involved in an early stage?

- how can OSGeo help you with all these questions?

The Open Source Geospatial Foundation, or OSGeo, is a not-for-profit umbrella organization for Free and Open Source geospatial tools, including QGIS, gvSIG, GRASS GIS, Geoserver and many others. OSGeo is hosting this Townhall event to support the collaborative development of open source geospatial software by promoting sustainable Open Science within EGU.


Peter Löwe, Massimiliano Cannata, Jeff McKenna, Edzer Pebesma

Promary points of contact

at Copernicus (conference organizer): Katja Gänger (egu2017 AT copernicus DOT org)

for Copernicus: peter.loewe AT gmx DOT de


Venue / Time (requested)

Requested day: Thursday

Time: 19:00-20:00

Room: 185 (green level)

Estimated number of attendees: 75–99

Type of event

Townhalls are "networking events" hosted at the European Geosiences Union (EGU) General Assembly (GA) for up to 350 people.

EGU-wording: "Townhall Meetings are meetings open for all participants in the conference at which new initiatives or decisions are announced to a larger audience following an open discussion on the matter raised."

Townhalls are hosted in the evening following the conclusion of all scientific tracks. The events last one hour and usually have presentations / announcements taking up the first 20 minutes, to allow for an open discussion among the attendees. During this phase, refreshments are provided to ensure a lively and convivial atmosphere.

Expected Audience Size

80 - 100 people

Audience: Topical Background

Free Open Source Software from OSGeo projects affects most if not all EGU Divisions. Currently FOSS (OSGeo projects + R, GMT, etc.) is particularly strong in the Hydrology, Atmospheric Sciences, Earth and Space Sience Informatics and Tectonics Divisions.

Attendees are expected from the following fields (Academia, Research and Industry).

  • Atmospheric Sciences
  • Biogeosciences
  • Climate: Past, Present & Future
  • Cryospheric Sciences
  • Earth Magnetism & Rock Physics
  • Energy, Resources and the Environment
  • Earth and Space Science Informatics
  • Geodesy
  • Geodynamics
  • Geosciences Instrumentation and Data Systems
  • Geomorphology
  • Geochemistry, Mineralogy, Petrology & Volcanology
  • Hydrological Sciences
  • Natural Hazards
  • Nonlinear Processes in Geosciences
  • Ocean Sciences
  • Planetary and Solar System Sciences
  • Seismology
  • Stratigraphy, Sedimentology and Palaeontology
  • Soil System Sciences
  • Solar-Terrestrial Sciences
  • Tectonics and Structural Geology
Audience: Professional Level
  • Doctorate Students, PostDocs, Researchers, Activists, Leaders, Visionaries, Decision Makers, Funding Agencies

  • EGU GA location at the Vienna International Conference Centre, Austria
  • Townhall location: The townhall will be hosted in a dedicated lecture hall on the conference premises. Room capacity: Most likely up to 100 people.
  • Preliminary date and time: EGU Thursday (requested, to be confirmed) , 19:00 - 20:00 hours. The date will be synchronized with the FOSS-themend topical sessions (Hydrology and Earth and Space Science Informatics) and (hopefully) the DataCite Training Course.
Relevance for OSGeo

how will our participation help OSGeo

  • Continuation and expansion of the "topical bridge head" established within EGU by the first two OSGeo Townhalls in 2014 and 2015.
  • Raise awareness at and reach-out to the European geoscience community by hosting a dedicated public OSGeo event at the largest European geoscience conference.
  • Reach out to young scientists starting their careers.
  • Meeting place for people already active in OSGeo ("meta-BoF") as a large number of people congregates every year at the EGU GA.
  • Reach out to decision makers/elders/scientific activists within the EGU Divisions.
  • Culmination of the "FOSS day" at the EGU GA: The organizers are urged to to schedule all FOSS / OSGeo - related events on the same day. This will ensure we have a large audience and niceties such as "FOSS flashmobs" can be arranged for poster sessions. The "FOSS day" could and should be finished off with the OSGeo townhall, as a "multiplier/bring them all together" event.
  • Peaceful und friendly coexistence: Propiertary platforms including Microsoft, Google and ESRI are also staging dedicated events during EGU GA.
  • Awareness on the decision maker level: Significance of OSGeo within the emerging Data Science / Open Science debate ("-> OSGeo-tailored research programmes ?")
  • Venue rental cost: none
  • Catering cost: 2000 USD [Learned/Report for 2015] [required]
  • Promotional material: 200 USD (Posters/flyers announcing the event) [required] -> Lessons Leanred from 2016 !
  • Budget has been allocated within OpenGeoScience Committee budget as part of (OSGeo Budget 2017)

Total requested amount from available OpenGeoScience budget: 2200 USD

Proposed Payment Method
  • No seed money required
  • All catering expenses (ca. 2000 USD) can be charged on the OSGeo Credit Card (as since 2014) before and after the event.
Support by OSGeo
  • Finacial support
  • Use of Logos
  • Volunteers: Preparation phase, event hosting, presentations during the event (-> OpenGeoScience Committee).



Official EGU 2017 timeline and milestones

  • 2017-02-28: TH-Poster (A3) to be mailed to Copernicus
  • 2017-03: EGU Programme will become available online
  • Interface with Short Courses, etc.
  • 2017-04: DONE: Potential attendees have been informed ahead of time.
  • 2017-04: DONE: Advertising material is ready. DONE: new "official" poster for EGU use needed
  • 2017-04: EGU begins: TODO: Personal invites @ the conference booths. TODO: Hang flyers / posters, etc.
  • 2017-04-27: 18:00 -19:hours: Reception ! 19:00 - 20:00 hours: Townhall !
OSGeo-related events at EGU GA 2017

Reach Out
EGU Announcement Poster

Google Draw Advertising Poster

File:TM9 Poster EGU2017-DinA3.pdf

Meeting with local OSGeo/OSM chapter and activists

20170413 Catering for the Reception (back to back with Townhall) has been booked.


Reception Topics
  • Overview: Recent developments in OSGeo (Peter L.)
  • Interfacing OSGeo and EGU/AGU
  • how OSGeo can help geo-scientists that want to share their scientific software
  • how to join our committee activities (hot topics: persistent identifiers, open monitoring systems, ...)
  • Opengeoscience Blog hosted at EGU ?
  • Update on DOI / Video / Blogs
  • <your-topic-here>
Action items
  • OPEN: Draft a programme for Reception
  • OPEN: Draft a programme for Townhall, invite Speakers: (Intro Peter, Lightning talk #1: Edzer )
  • OPEN: create list of all OSGeo related sessions & similar.
  • OPEN: Contact Press (-> Helli)
  • OPEN: Create working group within Open Geoscience Committee
  • OPEN: Reach out to Scientists
  • OPEN: Organize giveaways (PL: IMHO can be skipped if necessary), Pre Easter Week: Astrid Emde of FOSSGIS has agreed to mail OSGeo flyers etc to Vienna (-> Peters Hotel)
  • DONE: Talk to EGU (PL -> Rasmussen (DONE: EMail 20170418)
  • PENDING: Contact local OSGeo activists (-> Anita Graser): 20170419: Pitch for meeting in Vienna on EGU-Wednesday sent out.
  • DONE: 2ß170422: Two OSGeo banners are ready
  • PENDING: Invite EGU attendees with OSGeo-interest to Reception: Mailing list posts 20170418 to OSGeo-Discuss, Geo4all, OSGeo-OpenGeoScienceCommittee + Doodle started)
  • PENDING: Reach out to ESRI (DONE: Dawn Wright / Mike Gould), IODP, Google (-> GoogleEarth FOSS tool!), GPlates, Data Journalists, etc. 20170409: ESRI has been contacted via Dawn.
  • DONE: Before 2017-02-28: Create poster for TH-advertisement by Copernicus
  • DONE: 2017-02-28: TH-Poster (A3) to be mailed to Copernicus
  • DONE: *GO* 2017-02-28: Go/no go for reception prior to TH (reception: 18:00 - 19:00 hours, townhall: 19:00-20:00 hours)
  • DONE: Reach out OSGeo communities: Mailinng list posts 20170418 to OSGeo-Discuss, Geo4all, OSGeo-OpenGeoScienceCommittee
  • DONE: Reach out to DataCite. DataCite personnel will only attend EGU Monday - Wednesday.
  • DONE: Design new flyer. Due to time constraints, the advertisement poster designed by Copernicus can be used as this years flyer/leaflet for guerilla marketing at the conference.
  • DONE: Plan and order Catering: 20170411: Caterer has provided a first quotation and received requests for small changes. Catering will be similar to previous years. Catering order placed by 20170413.
  • DONE: Will we have a reception right before the TH ? YES. Timeslot has been blocked.

Lessons Learned


  • The timeslot right before the Townhall is suboptimal. It prevents potentially interested scientists to attend: The poster sessions run until 19:00 hours so people are much more motivated to attend the poster sessions to talk science (main driver of EGU).
  • The OSGeo mailing lists have not worked well as advertising channels. Only two persons reacted to the call in the OSGeo mailing lists, of which only one did actually attend.
  • There were about six (6) attendees, which had learned about the event at the conference by word of mouth.
  • Instead of a Reception, a Splinter Meeting during lunch time could be attempted. In my mind, expenses and effort for this would only be justifiable IF (and only if) there would be significant positive feedback from within OSGeo ahead of the conference (and before the applicable deadlines). Lunch splinter meetings can come with catering (lunchbags), which would need funding from the OpenGeoScience Committe budget. To me this would only be justifiable if there is proven interest from the community at EGU


  • Timeframe: 19:00 - 20:00 hours, Thursday
  • 28 attendees left their e-mail addresses.
  • Attendees by country: Germany (14), Austria (4), Australia (2), France (2), Norway (2), Italy (1), South Africa (1), Netherlands (1), UK (1)
  • Presentations given: Intro by Peter, lightning talk by Edzer, discussion afterwards.
  • Edzers improvised Wiki-based presentation worked great. No need to have specifically tailored presentations (less work, more flexibility), if such material is available
  • Most people came in during the first 15 minutes.A few attendees came in _after_ other Townhalls finished (we were until 20:30 hours in the room)
  • The information sheets about OSGeo came in handy. Only a few stickers (provided by FOSSGIS/Astrid Emde) were taken by the visitors.
  • The FOSS4G banners worked great. No need to bring specific stickers/ducttape to attach them to walls -> a liberal amount of the EGU-provided sticky tape works great.
  • A few attendees only came in because of the banner. (We were in the first floor of the main building. Rather prominent position. We were in the basement rooms during the last years.)
  • Observation: OSGeo is as the "umbrella" is still not widely known (instead of the OSGeo projects: QGIS, GRASS, etc -> remember this for future Townhall advertising !)
  • Copernicus-designed Poster: Worked, but was lacking a highly visible catchphrase. As next years poster will again be displayed by EGU on their official poster walls, use a catch phrasse and well known project logos ! (Something like a EU-Flag made of Logos ?)
  • A5 / A4 flyers didn't work so well as in past years. A5 flyers for personal invites still useful, as "gift artifact". Note: Make them really pretty !
  • Townhall Catering 2018: Plan again for 50 pax. Will be more than enough. Caterering personnel will tolerate extended presence unti 20:30 hours.
  • Timing: "Drink the bar dry" at 30 or 45 minutes (latest) of the meeting -> people get talkative & stay.

New formats for 2018: OSGeo short courses

Motivation to move on

Since the first humble start with Splinter Meetings in 2011 we have succeeded to make OSGeo known within the ESSI Division, the higher levels of EGU and, linked to that, Copernicus as the conference organizers.

Significance of short courses

Currently, a successful application to host a short course is usually _not_ the main driver to get a scientist the funding to attend EGU. This could be changed by OSGeo.


A OSGeo Townhall @ EGU costs between 1200 - 2000 EUR, depending on the number of people attending (30 - 70 attendees - the money funds to 100% the bar, i.e.: pretty expensive beer).

This money could also be used to fund a "dedicated OSGeo Representative" at the conference to run SEVERAL Short Courses and manage the networking:

  • 400 EUR for EGU full week ticket for one person (dedicated OSGeo representative / short course presenter)
  • 5 * 80 EUR = 400 EUR for five nights in an average hotel
  • 200 EUR: Travel from a central european location
  • 200 EUR: Expenses

total: 1200 EUR

This effort could be augmented by the already established community events like nightly get-togethers in Vienna, ESSI sessions, possibly a splinter meeting during a lunch break, etc. As an additional motivation, the OSGeo Representative could also present his/her scientific work at the confernce.

Options for 2018

  • Use OSGeo Live for Short Courses, maybe use the Townhall to present the "winners" of the short courses.
* Easy short courses on
  * Software Licencing ! (which one to pick)
  * github wrangling / software carpentry
  * What options exist for "non-coders" to be part of OSGeo
  * Geo4AllLabs -> What are they, how to apply, hot to be successful
  * "Open Source Philosophy" [the way of the modern coding scientist]
  * dirty tricks with gdal/ogr (commandline voodoo)
  * "Walking tour of OSgeo-Live"
  • Noteworthy: Only EGU 2017 short course on Jupyter: Was super-packed !Lessons learned: OSGEo-Townhall / Reception at EGU 2017.


OSGeo banner