FOSS4G2008 Call for workshops

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NEWS! The workshop submission deadline has been extended to 23 May. Continue reading below and see FOSS4G 2008 Announcements for more details.

Call for Workshops

The FOSS4G (Free and Open Source Software for Geospatial) conference is pleased to announce the Call for Workshops for the 2008 conference, which is being held September 29 - October 3 in Cape Town, South Africa.

FOSS4G is the premier conference for the open source geospatial community, providing a place for developers, users, and people new to open source geospatial to get a full-immersion experience in both established and leading edge geospatial technologies.

This year’s FOSS4G conference is a bit different than prior FOSS4G conferences, because it incorporates GISSA 2008, the main GIS Conference on the South African calendar. GISSA is primarily attended by people who are not yet familiar with FOSS4G. However, the South African government has made a strategic commitment to FOSS. This has created a clamour for more information about FOSS4G. The FOSS4G Organising Committee believes that immersive workshops could play a crucial role in convincing people that FOSS4G is "An Option for Developing Nations". FOSS4G offers an opportunity to experience FOSS working alongside more well known proprietary software.

Come to Cape Town to showcase your favorite application, integration solution, or other topic, and get the excitement bubbling. You will use your superior classroom skills to lead a group of attendees through your chosen topic in either a half-day Workshop or ninety minute Lab session.

No restrictions are placed on topics for workshops, but we expect interest to be high for workshops on:

  • Practical Introduction to ________________
  • Interoperability
  • Exposure to a Software Stack
  • Fitting FOSS4G into the enterprise
  • Using FOSS4G to solve __________________

In addition, FOSS4G plays strongly in emerging spaces, so Workshops/Labs with NeoGeography-like themes, or on new directions, will be welcome and are likely to be fresh topics for many attendees.

Workshops and Labs are hands-on events, with participants seated in front of computers and able to follow along with the instructor, working directly with the software and applications under discussion. There will be two computer labs with close to 50 computers each, with two people per computer. So your audience will be close to 100. Depending on your input we are still flexible about operating systems and other choices, so whatever your idea, submit a proposal.

Workshops/Labs require considerable preparation. Past experience has shown that a high quality Workshop requires about three days of preparation for each hour of classroom time. As part of this preparation you will be expected to develop material for attendees to take away with them, such as handouts, a "workbook", CDROM, etc.

In recognition of this effort, Workshop/Lab Instructors will receive a reduction in the price of conference registration:

  • Free registration for delivering a half-day Workshop
  • Half price registration for delivering a 90-minute Lab

If your topic can be delivered in either a half-day or 90-minute format, you may want to consider submitting two versions of your topic, because the number of Workshops and Labs is limited. It is unlikely that your topic will be selected for delivery in both formats. You are welcome to submit Workshop/Lab proposals for more than one topic. There are slots available for six half day workshops and twenty Labs

The EXTENDED deadline for Workshop/Lab proposals submission is 23 May, 2008. You will hear whether your proposal has been accepted by 6 June, after which you will be required to register for the conference to confirm your attendance, as well as subscribe to the conference workshops mailing list (, which will be the forum for discussing your Workshop/Lab development, progress, and logistics with the Workshop Committee, members of the OSGeo community, and fellow Instructors.

Workshop Submission Process

This is the definitive process:

If you do not hold an account with the FOSS4G website, please acquire one at [1]. Make sure to tick the box Author: Able to submit items to this conference towards the bottom of the account setup page.

If you already hold an account, login and check if your profile includes the Author Role option. Do this by going to your User Home page and clicking on Edit my Profile.

Now, the first stage for submitting a workshop or lab proposal is to register it with the website. This is done from [2], where you will be asked to tick a Submission Checklist and Copyright Notice. Choose the Workshops and Labs track and continue to Step 2. Here you will add secondary presenters/ authors, choose the submission type (leave default) and then provide an abstract or overview along with the title of the Workshop/ Lab.

This will quickly be reviewed for relevance and you will be asked to submit a full proposal in one of the formats available at [3]. Authors can upload their proposal document and any supplementary materials that may be of interest to the Workshop Committee. This is achieved through accessing the Author role from the User Home web page and clicking on the link under Status. Before the user finalises the submission, there exists the opportunity to change or overwrite the submission documents. Once finalised however, changes will only be made in e-mail correspondence with the Workshop Committee.

A review process will take place and workshop proposers will be notified in due course if there proposal has been accepted.

Please familiarise yourself with the above procedure and also the requirements on the conference webpage ([4])Please contact the workshop committee if you need any information.

Workshop Committee Review Criteria


The FOSS4G2008 Workshop Committee is responsible for the organization of both Workshops and Labs. Workshops are 3-hour hands-on classroom sessions, and Labs are 90-minute classes. The committee reports to the FOSS4G 2008 Conference Committee.

FOSS4G 2008 Workshop Committee Members

Burnie Nawn (Coordinator)

Gavin Fleming

Graeme McFerren

Jeff McKenna

Criteria used by the workshop committee to review workshop submissions

The criteria below are based on previous successful FOSS4G conferences. The criteria will be applied with the scoring system in place. Each reviewers score will be summarised to provide an indication of the workshops/lab sessions that will be the most suitable for the specific conference. The criteria that will be applied can be summarised as well:

1. meets conference mandate:

• matches with the themes of the conference

• makes use of software that is both "free" and "open source"

2. submission's technical requirements can be met by the conference facilities

3. likelyhood of a quality workshop:

• successful workshop presented at prior FOSS4G conference

• expertise of the workshop presenter in the workshop subject matter

• any relevant input from workshop evaluations collected by FOSS4G2008, or personal experience of workshops presented by the presenter(s) at other conferences

• demonstrates practical applications

4. expected level of interest in the workshop topic


The range of scores to be used is 0 through 5:

0 = does not meet any of the criteria
1 = barely meets some of the criteria, and doesn't meet some of the criteria
3 = average
5 = meets or exceeds all of the criteria

The goal is to end up with a score in the range of 0-5 for the workshop. Two ways to do the scoring:

1. Use the provided spreadsheet, which allows for a score for each criterion. Divide the "Total Score" by 4 to get the 'score for the workshop'. Doing it this way makes it easy to see any workshops that received a zero for any criterion. Despite the 'total score', workshops that have a zero score for any criterion deserve further examination as to their suitability for the conference.

2. Use the provided spreadsheet, but just assign an overall score of 0-5 for the workshop. If, as part of doing this, you think a workshop would score zero on any criterion, make a note, and bring it up in the discussions, because workshops that have a zero score for any criterion deserve further examination as to their suitability for the conference.

Timetable for workshop submission review process

To be finalised and posted here.

Sumissions closed on 23 May 2008. Successful presenters should be notified by 6 June 2008.