North America Regional

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For a clear definition of the term North America please refer to the Talk page.

Update 20 Feb 2012

At the recent f2f OSGeo Board meeting (Seattle, Washington, 4,5 Feb 2012). We discussed the best way to proceed with regional conferences. The board officially recognized and supports the foss4g North American conference at the Washington Convention center April 10-12, 2012. Furthermore, we have recognized that there is pent up demand for annual regional conferences in different regions of the world. For annual regional conferences, the board will establish specific conference committees for each regional conference. (note, local chapters are free to organize and plan independent events within their local areas). The goal is to establish annual regional conferences managed by volunteers and leaders in those areas. The regional conferences will contribute back to OSGeo giving us more resources to fund startup conferences in new regions, fund code sprints, etc.

These recent decisions have addressed the motives for setting up a North American regional chapter - primarily, organizing and running an annual conference. Paul Ramsey is the conference chair for the upcoming conference in April. The conference will fill up quickly so please sign up if you plan on attending.

We'll leave the NA chapter information in place for a while in case anyone has any comments or wants to have further discussions. Please contact me directly or on the mailing list if you have any questions or comments. -- Mark Lucas


The primary focus of the North America Regional Chapter will be to organize and run annual North American conferences. It is not the intent of this chapter to duplicate or compete with established local chapters or the international organization's ongoing efforts.

The North America regional conference will also support and collaborate with other like minded organizations for smaller technical and business focused conferences within the region.

Background The OSGeo Board of Directors has recently discussed establishing regional focus groups and conferences that could more effectively address the needs of those areas. This would allow OSGeo to act as more of an umbrella international organization. It is anticipated that the International OSGeo conference will rotate around the globe and will be combined with the regional conference when that region is selected.


  • Organize and run an annual North American regional conference
  • Increased focus on open source business models
  • Provide an interface for National, Regional and Local government agencies as they adopt open source solutions
  • Coordinate with local North American chapters for planned events within those localities
  • Support OSGeo board for international events
  • Support a broad range of interest areas:
    • academic
    • social
    • environmental
    • humanitarian relief
    • government
    • OSS business models

What the North American Regional isn't about

  • Duplicating existing efforts at the OSGeo International level or at the local chapter level
  • Running development projects or support infrastructure
  • Local meetups
  • Managing or overseeing other groups

In addition we will be coordinating closely with other relevant organizations:

  • MIL-OSS Military Open Source Software
  • USGIF United States Geospatial Intelligence Agency
  • OSSI Open Source Software Institute
  • OSFA Open Source for America
  • GITA Geospatial Information & Technology Association
  • URISA Association for GIS professionals

Official representative

Mark Lucas Principal Scientist RadiantBlue Technologies Inc.

If the majority of chapter members wish, the post of official representative will be elected on a periodic basis.


Management and Contributors

Membership initially consists of signups on the mailing list. Chapter president will be elected on an annual basis. President will appoint other positions.

The desire is to substantially minimize the overhead and bureaucracy, direction and execution will be primarily driven by contributors that are willing to lead the way. Consensus and open discussion is desired but unanimous agreement is not required.


Initially, we have no finances, so we operate as a club.

As we gain funding or have to commit financial resources, we have several possible paths we could take:

  1. Leverage the existing OSGeo non profit status
  2. Leverage existing financial structures from other collaborating organizations
  3. Establish ourselves as a not for profit financial entity

Each of these have pros and cons. There is no requirement to merge our finances with the OSGeo foundation.

Mailing List

49 Subscribers as of 10 Dec 2011

Meetings and Events

No meetings have been planned yet, the intent will be to establish formal quarterly meetings to review conference and organizational planning.

Upcoming Events

FOSS4G 2012 - Beijing [1]

North American Regional OSGeo/foss4g Conference Initial discussion will be focused on organizing a follow on North American regional conference in 2012. We will work to deconflict this event with the OSGeo/foss4g international conference in Beijing as well as the as the annual Geoint conference.

USGIF Technology Day USGIF Technology Day

Wherecon - Washington DC [2]

Towson University Geographic Information Sciences Conference 2012 Wednesday, March 23 and Thursday, March 24, 2011 at the University Union on the Towson University campus

Recent Events

MIL-OSS WG3 MIL-OSS Working Group 3

FOSS4G 2011 OSGeo's FOSS4G Denver

Geoint 2011 Geoint 2011 in San Antonio Tx

USGIF Tech Days Washington DC


Sign up here to show interest! Also join the mailing list so we can be in touch directly.

See Also

Chapter Formation Submission

In order to form a chapter, the following steps should be taken:

  1. "OSGeo Chapter" should self-organize (for instance in the OSGeo wiki, via OSGeo mailing list, etc), seeking to determine if a critical mass of interest exists to justify a chapter. Wiki, mailing list, and an initial active community have been created (over 25 members)
  2. "OSGeo Chapter" should prepare a mission and objectives indicating the scope of the planned chapter (geographic or linquistic extent for instance). Primarily focused on running an annual regional conference, also support other regional activities
  3. “OSGeo Chapter” should propose an official representative to liaise with the OSGeo Board. If accepted by the board, the representative will be an officer of OSGeo. Mark Lucas, OSGeo BOD, will act as the initial liaison
  4. “OSGeo Chapter” should submit an official expression of interest to form a chapter to the OSGeo board, listing initial members, mission, representative and other supporting information.Expression of interest letter on the wiki
  5. The OSGeo board shall then consider passing a motion forming the chapter, and designating the liason officer.Motion submitted to the board, will continue discussion and motion at next board meeting'

In considering the formation of new OSGeo chapters, the board will consider issues including:

  • Does the mandate (geographically or linguistically) conflict with other existing chapters or chapters-in-formation?No, will collaborate with existing chapters and the board, no implied hierarchy between regional chapter and local chapters'
  • Does the chapter appear to have sufficient interest to justify official formation? Yes, active discussion and contributors
  • Does the chapter appear to be open to broad membership, and representative of the target geographic or linguistic community? (eg. if a chapter had the objective to cover all Spanish speakers, it would be inappropriate if the only interest demonstrated was from one country)Yes, anyone interested in an annual NA regional conference or NA OSGeo expansion is welcome'

Official expression of interest to form a North America Regional chapter of the OSGeo Foundation

We formally petition the board of directors of the OSGeo foundation to establish a North America Regional chapter - OSGeo-NA. The membership of said chapter has self organized, establishing a wiki and mailing list. The primary focus of the chapter will be to organize and run an annual north america OSGeo conference. The members hope to establish a model for other regional chapters with corresponding regional conferences around the world. The North America chapter will coordinate closely with the OSGeo Board of Directors to support international conferences and events. The annual regional conference will consolidate with the international conference when the OSGeo/foss4g conference is scheduled within North America.

A secondary objective will be to closely coordinate with other events and organizations within the region. The regional chapter will also act as an interface to promote open source geospatial business models as well as adoption of OSGeo software in government, environmental, social, and academic settings.

The chapter intends to collaborate with local chapters as needed, but no organizational hierarchy or oversight of local chapters is implied.

Meetings will be held on an annual basis at a minimum. Current plans are to schedule quarterly online meetings using the OSGeo online resources for wiki, mailing list, and trac project management. Several key members of the OSGeo including past and present board members have joined the effort. The lead and initial point of contact and OSGeo liaison will be Mark Lucas.

The North America Regional chapter will operate as a separate financial entity from the OSGeo foundation. No financial support is required or implied.

We motion that the OSGeo Board formally establish the North America Region chapter.

Conference Planning

Initial Thoughts

  1. Deconflict the schedule. Perhaps schedule our regional conference around May/June (I believe Beijing is Sep)
  2. Use GITA with our collective experience of the Denver FOSS4G 2011 event to minimize risk (outsource much of the organization and logistics to GITA again)
  3. Plan for a smaller, less complex event (not as many parallel tracks, maybe in conjunction with another planned activity)
  4. Plan on using some of the profits to sponsor OSGeo.
  5. Do what we can to feed the larger FOSS4G Beijing event

Then we can plan a larger conference early 2013 for North America - we'll have more time, resources, and experience under out belt

Comments from Peter Batty:

I'd be inclined to be pretty cautious on forecasting for the May / June event, and plan on a larger one in 2013. I'm confident we could get probably 700+ for an event in 2013, but I'd be more inclined to budget around a base of 200-300 for May / June, and modest sponsorship (I'd bet on less than half what we got for FOSS4G, which was in the order of $100-120K). But with ability to accommodate up to maybe 500.

On sponsorship, it will be helpful to get an announcement out if possible by early December as many companies want to know before year end to get money in their marketing budgets. We offered a 10% discount for sponsors who signed up by end of January and that was successful in getting people to sign up early. We probably had 70-80% of our sponsorship money in by that early deadline. This is just one example where we really have to get going quickly to do something of even a medium size in May-June.

Questions and Answers

Please feel free to post any questions in this section...

Who can join the North America Regional Chapter?

Anyone that would like to help out or has an interest in organizing North American activities. Just sign up on the mailing list.

How does this relate to the annual OSGeo/foss4g event?

When the international event periodically falls in the North America Region the chapter will help with the organization and support of the event. We will work closely with the OSGeo/foss4g international organizing committee to coordinate schedules, efforts, and session material to promote the OSGeo.