FOSS4G 2011 Denver Welcome Letter

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Dear Mr. McKenna and the OSGeo Conference Committee:

The Denver Local Organizing Committee (LOC) is pleased to present our proposal to host the FOSS4G 2011 Conference in Denver, Colorado.

Denver is the capital of the State of Colorado. The Colorado Front Range, comprised of the Denver-Aurora metropolitan area, Colorado Springs, Boulder, Longmont, Fort Collins and others, is a recognized hub of geospatial research, development and application. The Denver Federal Center is home of one of the largest U.S. Geological Survey mapping facilities as well as cartographic offices of the National Park Service, Fish and Wildlife Service and Bureau of Land Management. Major research centers are based in the Front Range including the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, National Snow and Ice Data Center, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and National Center for Atmospheric Research (major contributors to the IPCC Report, co-winner of the 2008 Nobel Peace Prize). This research focus even extends beyond the terrestrial with the University of Colorado’s Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Science creating FOSS tools used in studying the atmospheres of Mars and Venus. On the commercial front, the Front Range is home to major development offices of both Google Earth and Microsoft Virtual Earth, as well as dozens of other companies, both large and small.

Denver has a history of being a venue of choice for large gatherings such as the 2008 Democratic National Convention. In the geospatial realm, Denver has hosted the 2005 Association of American Geographers Annual Meeting, GITA’s Annual Conference in 2005, and the American Society for Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing (ASPRS) Pecora 17 Symposium honoring 40 years of LANDSAT earth observation. The annual GIS in the Rockies conference, which draws a primarily local audience, regularly attracts 500-600 people.

In the proposal, we mention two possible venues in downtown Denver: the Colorado Convention Center and the Sheraton Denver Hotel. The Colorado Convention Center was the primary venue for the 2008 Democratic National Convention and boasts 600,000 square feet (55,000 square meters), 63 meeting rooms, a 50,000 square foot (4,600 square meters) Korbel Ballroom divisible into 18 breakouts, a 35,000 square foot (3,200 square meters) Four Seasons Ballroom divisible into three breakouts, and a 5,000 seat Wells Fargo Theater. The Sheraton Denver Hotel (formerly known as the Adams Mark Hotel), is a more intimate venue and recently hosted the Pecora 17 conference. In addition to 1,225 guest rooms and 92 suites, the Sheraton provides 133,000 square feet (12,000 square meters) of meeting space, two ballrooms and 48 meeting rooms. The Sheraton recently completed a $70 million renovation. Both venues are directly serviced by the Denver Regional Transportation District with both bus and light rail service. Within walking distance of both venues are over 8,000 rooms, including three international hostels and dozens of hotels in all price ranges. The greater metropolitan area provides another 34,000 rooms to meet every budgetary need (a search on Orbitz for hotel rooms for June 14-18, 2010 gives the following ranges: ** from $53, *** from $62, **** from $159, and ***** from $329). Several hostels are also in the downtown area with rates less than $20 per night.

In addition to excellent lodging facilities, Denver is serviced by the Denver International Airport (DEN) boasting the Jeppeson Terminal named for aerospace cartographic pioneer, Elrey B. Jeppesen. Denver International Airport is home to Frontier Airlines and a major hub for United Airlines and Southwest Airlines. Most major cities in North America have direct flights into Denver, and its central location makes it easily accessible from all parts of the continent. Denver International Airport is also serviced with direct international flights by Air Canada, Lufthansa, British Airways and Mexicana Airways.

The Denver LOC is actively exploring dates in September and October for FOSS4G 2011. In our proposal for hosting FOSS4G 2010, we settled on early December dates because of the reduced venue costs and the opportunity to provide an organized ski trip for participants. The budget in this proposal reflects the increased costs of an early Fall conference.

About half of the Denver LOC members are based in the Denver area, and we have other members located throughout North America—still local in a global context! Denver LOC members represent a diverse range of geospatial professionals, including founders of GeoWeb startups, major FOSS community contributors, government cartographers, and academic researchers. We believe that we have a very strong team that will be able to deliver an excellent conference.

• Eric Wolf, Research Geographer, US Geological Survey • Peter Batty, Founder and President of Spatial Networking • Steve Coast, Founder of OpenStreetMap • James Fee, Chief Evangelist, WeoGeo, Inc. • Sean Gorman, Founder and CEO of FortiusOne • Mikel Maron, GeoHacker at Large • Bruce Raup, Associate Scientist at the National Snow and Ice Data Center • Charlie Savage, Founder and CEO of MapBuzz • Brian Timoney, Principal of The Timoney Group, founder of FRUGOS • Andrew Turner, CTO of FortiusOne and founder of Mapufacture • Ben Tuttle, GIS & Remote Sensing Scientist at the National Geophysical Data Center • Rafael Moreno-Sanchez, Assistant Professor of Geography, University of Colorado at Denver • Tyler Erickson, Research Scientist and Adjunct Assistant Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Michigan Technological University

The LOC has partnered with the Geospatial Information & Technology Association (GITA). Based locally in Aurora, Colorado, GITA has organized successful geospatial-oriented conferences since 1982, including its own Geospatial Infrastructure Solutions Conference (formerly an annual conference), which attracts several thousand people, as well as conferences on behalf of other groups, including the GeoWeb conference in Vancouver for the past five years. Ron Lake, Chairman and CEO of Galdos and organizer of the GeoWeb conference, says in his letter of support "I am confident that the addition of GITA to the FOSS4G conference will pay dividends and result in an efficient and smoothly run event.” GITA's excellence in managing conference logistics will allow the LOC to focus entirely on the conference program and help ensure the financial success of FOSS4G 2011. We also wanted to be clear that GITA will not be involved in program content decisions. All program decisions will be the responsibility of the LOC. This will ensure that there are no potential conflicts or dilution of focus on open source content, due to the fact that GITA also has involvement with closed source geospatial software companies. Further, GITA will openly share all conference related materials in source format. The only restriction being that if we choose to leverage GITA's mailing list to help market the conference, information about only the respondents to such marketing will be shared with OSgeo. Two preliminary budgets are provided based on different levels of attendance. Both budgets propose an early registration cost of $595 and regular registration of $695. These figure assumes that the same sponsorship levels of the previous FOSS4G Conference can be maintained.

Attendee fees could be lowered if OSgeo or another party could guarantee a portion of the budget for sponsorships. We believe that we have a good opportunity to exceed this target attendance figure.

We plan two significant focus areas for the conference. One is that we will ensure that the conference includes a significant amount of content on the subject of open data, a critical topic that has been under-represented at previous conferences. The second is that we will make strong efforts to attract geospatial users of non-open source systems, both through our marketing and provision of suitable content. Both of these focus areas are discussed in more detail in the proposal.

Denver LOC and the Colorado Front Range is ready to show the world how great Free and Open Source Software for Geospatial can be with a world-class conference in 2011. We look forward to the opportunity.

Yours truly,

Eric B. Wolf for the Denver Organizing Committee