FOSS4G2020 Q&A 2 Halifax
Questions from Steven Feldman
Thank you for your questions. We are very happy to clarify some points that may have appeared less well explained in our proposal. Do not hesitate to come back to us if you have any other questions.
1. You have not provided the budget spreadsheet that was part of the RfP. Or did I miss it? Can you provide this to the Conference Committee?
We have provided the spreadsheet budget directly in our proposal, under the Budget section, “Expenses and Revenues Spreadsheets” on page 31-33.
2. Can you provide clarity on whether you will be videoing and/or streaming just the plenaries or some of the conference streams as well? Is this provided for in your budget?
The HFX team has already included in the budget, and confirmed with our Audio/Video company, to stream all plenaries and possibly all sessions, and will archive them online after the event. In addition to the videos, we will make sure to post the PowerPoint/PDF presentations of every session. Of course, we will ask each speaker for permission to broadcast the content online.
It is important, especially considering streaming, that we have negotiated with the NovaCentre venue team to have a dedicated "FOSS4G" WiFi network (maximum bandwidth 800Mbps) for a flat rate for the event (~3700USD, or 5000CAD), which we included in the budget.
We mentioned briefly in the proposal, but we put out a call for competitive bids for Audio/Visual, and we have decided on a very reliable team at FREEMAN AV Canada https://freemanav-ca.com/ who are not the in-house A/V company, but have a solid reputation all across Canada for handling large events. We will in fact still be using the in-house A/V company of FMAV for any "rigging" (new wiring through walls etc)
3. Your budget has a very high dependency on sponsorship (up to 45% of income), higher than most previous events. Can you explain in more detail where you expect this sponsorship to come from?What are your contingencies if your target is not achieved?
We expect a lot of enthusiasm from a very large geospatial sector all across Canada, as FOSS4G comes back after 13 years since Victoria 2007. We will also have a very strong sponsors committee with input from Jonathan Murphy, the Managing Director of GoGeomatics Canada, who hosts geospatial events from coast to coast in 15 different local communities, and already has a vast network of sponsors who will be interested in the foremost geospatial event of 2020. Additionally, we are planning to provide more affordable sponsorship options to smaller companies, and also considering increasing the number of available booths in the exhibitor space. Finally, we will leverage the large network of connections from members in our local organizing committee, and invest considerable efforts in reaching out for both recurring and new sponsors, all across Canada, but also in the United States and on the international front. Our budget includes a 5% contingency, but generates a considerable surplus even at the minimum budgeted number of attendees of 800, which can also act as contingency should we not manage to reach our sponsorship expectations.
4. You have indicated that you will need seed funding of $50k from OSGeo, will you require any additional guarantees from OSGeo? You have proposed to remit 75% of any surplus back to OSGeo, the guideline in the RfP was for 85% to be returned to OSGeo, please explain why you are proposing a different level?
We will not need any further guarantees from OSGeo to ensure the success of our event. The $50k seed funding will be enough to reserve the venue for the conference as well as the social events. We will avoid incurring expenses beyond the total of seed funding, initial sponsorship and registration revenues.
Regarding the ratio of surrender of surplus, as explained in the proposal, 75% will be returned to OSGeo and 25% to the three OSGeo local chapters (OSGeo Atlantic Canada, OSGeo Quebec, and OSGeo Ottawa) organizing FOSS4G Halifax 2020. So, in the end, the LOC ensures that 100% of the surplus will be redistributed to the OSGeo community. We figured that this way, the 3 chapters could continue to spread the OSGeo activities to the local community. If however this is deemed problematic, we can accept surrendering 85% to the global OSGeo foundation.
5. You refer to a payment to co-chairs who will undertake the tasks of a PCO, can you provide some more detail on the amount of these payments and the scope of work to be undertaken? Will there be a formal contract between the LOC and the co-chairs? Who will arbitrate in the event of a dispute?
A global amount of $ 60K has been set aside to pay the co-chairs to organize the FOSS4G-HFX. This amount will be divided equally between the co-chairs. We are aware of the workload that such an event can cause. We speak from experience. However, we are lucky to be surrounded by an incredible LOC who all have exceptional qualities. We are also fortunate to have fairly flexible jobs that will allow us to complete the event.
For the moment, no formal contract has been signed between the LOC and the co-chairs. Be assured however that in the event that we win this bid, a contract will be put in place to define the roles of each and avoid any dispute.
6. Can you confirm that the workshop fee of US $200 (EB) or $300 (Regular) is for 2 full days of workshops. Is there an option for attendees to register for only 1 or 2 workshops individually?
We are very pleased that you raised this point. We will propose a rate of $100 per block workshops (AM or PM) in early bird which will increase to $125 at the regular rate.
7. Can you confirm what level of discount on delegate fees you are offering to workshop presenters?
To clarify: For each workshop, 1 presenter will have free access to the entire event (meaning: if there are 2 presenters for a workshop, there will be one free pass available, or the 2 presenters can use it as a 50% discount each). This point was mentioned in the Budget section under Expenses / Gratuities, but we failed to mention it under the Grants and subsidies on the next page.
8. In your budget you have a $62k line for Coordination (inc event planners, transport & hotels etc). Can you explain please?
The amount for the Coordination will cover the organization costs of the event, ie $60K, which will be used to pay the co-chairs to organize the event. In addition, a $10K will be used to cover transportation costs, hotels reservations, meals, meeting room rentals and any other fees that will allow the co-chairs to make this event a success. We also added a $ 2K to pay other fees that could be added to the organization of the event.
9. In your budget you have a $10k line for modifications to the registration system. Can you explain what this is and why it is needed?
This covers integration within our conference website and testing, but also planned improvements, in particular to the presentation submission and community voting system. We are already in discussions with Volker Mische (OSGeo Charter Member) and plan to work with him to leverage and expand on the pretalx conference management system (https://pretalx.com/), which is now being implemented for the 2019 team (the HFX team has learned over the many years in planning FOSS4G events of all sizes, that it is best to be consistent and expand on existing tools).
One idea for improvement is making it easier to narrow down presentations during community voting, by offering a way to see them organized by topic of interest and additional classification/filtering capabilities, which we think would greatly enhance the community participation in the voting process.
Other improvements may be made as well.
10. In your budget you have a line for “promotional stuff” running at almost $35/delegate - can you provide some more detail please?
Yes of course! We are excited to provide a special t-shirt for each participant who will register in the early bird (we are stealing the wonderful idea from the FOSS4G 2016 team). In addition, in order to make this event more eco-friendly, we plan to provide reusable water bottles bearing the image of the event (the NovaCentre venue has special bottle refill stations throughout). We will also provide a reusable bag for each participant and are currently evaluating the possibility of giving a reusable "FOSS4G: Free as in beer?" glass for use during the various social activities.
We also plan to print a small booklet (1-4 pages) summarizing the program and schedule, for the attendees' convenience. This will also be an opportunity to include sponsor logos. The detailed program will be accessible from a mobile app or on-line on the conference website. Note that HFX team members keenly witnessed the FOSS4G-Dar team's use of a mobile app, for push notifications for immediate changes to the schedule etc, and the HFX will evaluate the pros and cons of this.
11. You mention a Travel Grant Programme of $20k - is this a contribution to the OSGeo TGP initiative or one that will be run independently by your LOC?
We are very pleased to have included in our budget an amount of $20K that will be donated to the OSGeo TGP initiative. In addition to this amount, we imagined 2 other initiatives led by our LOC. The first will be to offer the opportunity to a participant to give a financial contribution of a minimum of $20 when registering.
The second initiative will be conducted with the collaboration of a local brewery (we are already in talks with 2 Halifax craft breweries, and 2 of our HFX team members, Jon Pye and Lenore Bajona, work for an organization based in Halifax that have already done something like this for another cause, see: Tag You're It! ). We will work with one of the local HFX breweries to create a craft "FOSS4G: Free as in beer?". This will be on sale before and during the event at all of the major pubs and restaurants in downtown Halifax (yes, members of our HFX team have done this for another cause, and it WILL happen for FOSS4G-2020!). For each beer sold, an amount (such as 50cents per beer purchase) will be accumulated and donated directly into the Travel Grant Program. Hey, nothing explains our vision better than a "draft" of what the beer labels could look like! (see picture of 2 possible labels)
12. Can you confirm that any funds allocated to a TGP (your own or the OSGeo one) will be used for travel and subsistence support and that all TGP recipients will receive a free conference pass in addition (i.e the TGP funds will not be used to cover delegate passes)?
We confirm that all TGP funds will be used to pay for travel and financial support for a recipient. The HFX team also confirms that recipients of the subsidy will be given a free pass without any change/effect to the TGP.
Questions from Jonathan
Excellent stuff on the re-usable focus. Some further *sustainability/ethics* related questions
Thank you. The HFX team is very pleased that the new NovaCentre venue offers so many sustainable and eco-friendly initiatives, and we will do our best to implement as many as possible, throughout all of our planned venues. As we mentioned in the first round of Q/A, the province of Nova Scotia produces the least waste per capita and has the highest waste diversion rate in Canada, so we Nova Scotians believe strongly on sustaining our environment (many of us on the HFX team rely on the health of our oceans for our day jobs, for example), and we make constant efforts to make this so.
- good job on covering dietary requirements; will you also have things to meet said requirements during the breaks beyond simply fruit? ("Pastries" are rarely vegan or gluten free for instance).
We feel that it’s very important to offer snacks that meet all dietary requirements as gluten intolerance, vegetarian/vegan etc., so therefore during the breaks we will be sure to offer items such as: gluten free muffins, cookies and such that are more interesting than pastries and are gluten free/Vegan all made in house by the NovaCentre culinary team, such as:
almond quinoa berry energy bars chia apple and blueberry fruit leather root vegetable chips with artichoke dip spicy oven roasted almonds raspberry zinger energy bites fresh fruit salad with berries house-made granola clusters warm pretzel stick with sweet mustard
Also, as many of the HFX team has travelled the world for FOSS4G events of all sizes, we also believe that refreshments should be of variety also, including green tea, infused water, etc.
- Are you going to reduce the amount of animal-based (and especially meat-based) products to try and reduce the conference's CO2 footprint?
We are lucky to live in a province that relies a lot on non-animal based goods, with its thriving fishing and oceans sectors, we’re therefore happy that our Gala dinner night will have local fresh seafood (lobsters etc.) as the main dish, which also works well to reduce the typical meat-based focus of events.
We also specifically stated to the catering team to donate all FOSS4G-HFX leftovers to the non-profit Feed Nova Scotia, which manages the local food banks, to help reduce food waste and support the local community.
We have also asked the NovaCentre catering team to purposely work with imperfect fruits and vegetables, which might otherwise be thrown out, into the FOSS4G-HFX in-house cooking.
- Will your caterers source food locally by preference?
The NovaCentre has informed us of the option to use local menu items that are organic, fairly traded, seasonal and not processed, and we have asked for these types of food items, to help to reduce the carbon footprint of our large event, and support our local holistic growers. It’s also important to note that Nova Scotia is also famous for our apples, and blueberries, so you can expect many snacks and dishes to contain such local treats.
- Will caterers use tea/coffee/chocolate/etc that is FairTrade (or equivalent)?
This is an excellent point. We have confirmed with the NovaCentre catering team that we are able to source local fair trade products; and for coffee we have confirmation that both local FairTrade coffee roasters Just Us and Laughing Whale are options for FOSS4G-HFX (note that I am drinking Laughing Whale while writing this). Done.
I would first ask if this is necessary for the conference (it seems to be an unquestioned assumption that OSGEO=t-shirt), but if it is, then I'd ask:
- Are they going to be mandatorily ordered for each delegate who orders and early-bird or will there be a "no t-shirt" option? Will it be opt-in or opt-out (opt-in saves money and waste of course)?
This is a good point Jonathan. As you know, there’s a lot of history with the FOSS4G t-shirts being displayed around the world, but, you are right that we must not assume that HFX attendees must receive a t-shirt. We will therefore make the t-shirt an opt-in, for the important reasons that you mention, mainly of unnecessary waste. Also, as an incentive to reduce that waste, for every time an attendee does not opt-in for the t-shirt, we will make a donation to the Travel Grant Program of 10 dollars.
- Will they be ethically sourced? (Ethical cotton and ethical manufacture)
Nova Scotians are proud that a local energetic student entrepreneur, Alex MacLean, started a t-shirt business a few years ago while he was attending our Acadia University; the business “East Coast Lifestyle” (ECL) has now won him national awards. The HFX team is excited to work with Alex’s student team locally, to ensure that ethical materials are used in the FOSS4G-HFX shirts, and at the same time support a grass-roots student business.
Questions from Maxi Cannata
- how will you manage contribution from sponsors, in particular on the number / percentage and how they are acknowledged as sponsored talks?