Difference between revisions of "FOSS4G2013 Reflections by the LOC"

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== what didn't work ==
== what didn't work ==
Last-minute workshop subscription was not especially effective, but in the bigger picture of workshop organization, it was an extra possibility for the delegates.
Last-minute workshop subscription was not especially effective, but in the bigger picture of workshop organization, it offered an extra possibility for the delegates to attend them.
== what would we do differently ==
== what would we do differently ==

Revision as of 06:28, 20 November 2013

This FOSS4G Cookbook documents the process, tips, hint and lessons learned by the FOSS4G 2013 local organising committee. It does not attempt to recreate the FOSS4G_Cookbook but should provide some useful pointers for future LOC's



Information about the LOC and UK chapter

LOC Members

The list of responsibilities against each team member gives an indication of the main lines of responsibility only, almost everyone pitched in on much more than their allocated tasks

Steven Feldman, Chair - sponsors, finance, keynoters, program

Jo Cook, Deputy Chair - web, liaison with OSGeo community, giveaways, ice-breaker

Jeremy Morley, Deputy Chair - liaison with university, technical stuff for workshops, program, gala night

Abigail Page - programme book, volunteer organiser

Addy Pope - educational bursaries, ice breaker

Antony Scott - communications, web site, signage, programme book, gala night

Barend Köbben - academic program, cartography, programme

Barry Rowlingson - web design and development, online programme, workshop registration system, map gallery, gala night

Claire Gilmour - organisation, organisation and organisation, registrations

Franz-Josef Behr - academic programme

Ian Edwards - hackathon, OSGeo Live DVD's, liaison with UK Chapter

Ian Holt - workshops

Kenneth Field - Opening up the Map competition

Mark Iliffe - workshops, closing party

Matt Walker - workshops

Peter Batty - OSGeo Board representative and dispenser of calm wisdom

Rollo Home - programme coordinator, communications

Suchith Anand - academic programme and educational content

Interaction from the OSGeo Board (this section can be moved down the list as appropriate)

To be frank, we didn't have a great deal of public support from the board throughout the organisation process. We attracted criticism on a couple of issues that should be the responsibility of OSGeo rather than the organising committee for a given event. These could have been explicitly specified in the Request for Proposals, or at least responded to when they came up on the discussion lists.

Issues that should be the responsibility of OSGeo:

Whether workshop presenters get free passes to the event We would have been happy to do this, but it should have been included in the request for proposals so that our costings took this into account.

  • Whether key project developers get free passes
  • The setup and manning of the OSGeo booth

UK Chapter

IE and SA are both active within the UK Chapter. Several other participants in the UK chapter were volunteers at the event.

Lessons learnt (chairman's perspective)

1. you need more people for more time than you can possibly imagine, before you start so try to get extra people involved

2. people volunteer with the best of intentions but then life/the day job intervenes so try to get double cover for every role

3. everyone will surprise you


What was the aim of the LOC for FOSS4G2013? We were trying to engage with communities that traditionally saw enterprise solutions being the preserve of proprietary software and big contracts. This includes the tie in with AGI.

Our key objectives were:

  • a gathering of the OSGeo community
  • outreach to current and potential users of open source geo

These objectives were encapsulated in our conference strap line "Geo for All"

There is a potential conflict between these objectives and developing a program for both was sometimes a challenge. Difficult to judge whether we got it right


A conference like FOSS4G needs a voice, a style, a personality. Call it what you will. We felt that after missing a FOSS4G in 2012 it was important to project a loud and self confident voice to potential sponsors and delegates. Inevitably this voice did not work for everyone but overall the feedback was positive.

Message to future FOSS4G's - identify a voice and use it throughout your communications


Pricing for FOSS4G is enormously contentious.

Full conference package prices were set at $600 including local sales taxes as indicated in the call for proposals. We were criticised by some people for being too expensive and for not offering free places to project developers, workshop presenters, people from the developing world etc. Prices were set to cover the direct outgoings associated with each delegate plus a small contribution (20%) to general expenses.

One sponsor supported an academic bursary scheme which enabled a number of students to attend the conference if they could raise the cost of their travel

All of the surplus from the conference comes from the high level of sponsorship that we received (a fair proportion coming in during the last 3-4 months) it would have been difficult to anticipate this level and use sponsorship income to further reduce delegate prices early on. FOSS4G 2013 will contribute over $150,000 to OSGeo and the UK Chapter, this is currently the principal source of funding for OSGeo, perhaps the conference messaging should explain that better.

The OSGeo Board failed to provide clear guidance on pricing and profit objectives which left the conference team in the predictable firing line.


Look at internal and external communications

Internal communications


We decided to use 37Signals Basecamp for our internal communications in preference to some combination of public and private mail lists and a wiki.

It worked well providing a repository for all of our meeting minutes, to do lists, over 400 discussion threads, nearly 100 collaborative text documents and 300 files. The cost of the subscription was donated by an early supporter but most of the team found it an easy and productive way of tracking all the different threads and activities

From a chairman's perspective basecamp provided a quick way of monitoring numerous delegated activities

fortnightly web meetings

For most of the year leading up to the conference we had a fortnightly team call on a Friday afternoon from 2.00 to 3.30pm. In the last 3 months we increased the frequency of the calls to weekly.

The calls were held via WebEx thanks to initial support from Sustain and subsequent provision by the Met Office. WebEx is far from ideal as those trying to connect from linux, android and apple devices discovered! However overall it provided a better environment than a simple conference call service and we pretty much learned how to make it work.

On a typical call about half the team participated. A few people frequently found it difficult to participate in the calls due to work commitments which was a problem but the organisation of FOSS4G needs to factor in volunteer availability. The regular team calls played an important role in bonding the team together.

Face 2 Face meetings

  • Day long face 2 face meeting in Nottingham in Sept 2012 immediately after the close of the UK OSGIS event. We got to walk round the site and get a feeling for how things might work
  • 2 day meeting in Nottingham to work through programme selection and scheduling and most of the other planning
  • Day long face to face focussing on logistics with the deVere team 2 weeks before the event started
  • Final day long face to face to write this wiki, approve accounts and debrief with board rep

Face to face meetings are more productive than conference calls but they incur cost for travel and over night accommodation

what worked

what would we have done differently

External communications

Web site

do we have any stats on web site logs? BR/JC?


OSGeo mailing lists

Press releases

email to delegates

email to sponsors

what worked

what would we have done differently


General comments

what worked

what didn't work

what would we do differently


Gets its own topic because it is so so important. This was a tech event with over 800 delegates per day (most sucking up 2 connections for phone and laptop or tablet) where the wifi stood up throughout. We even managed to cope with the launches of iOS 7 and QGIS 2.0 during the conference which must have boosted the download rate.

We paid a contribution of £5,000 specifically to get the internet pipe and router infrastructure upgraded. That works out at approx £6.50 per delegate.

what worked

Just about everything except for 1 router on day 1 which gave some users a problem. Having a dedicated technician on site for the first day helped to solve the problem and gave us a lot of reassurance.

what didn't work

Nothing that I can think of

what would we do differently

Nothing that I can think of

Advice to future FOSS4G organisers

Most venues do not have enough bandwidth or access points, consider paying for extra if you can

Programme (JM)


This covers the call for papers, selecting papers, organising the schedule, dealing with presenters that drop out and how the prog went at the event

selecting papers



Note that we did not include a separate "Academic" Track or stream (see also section and Academic Track). This was different from earlier years, and was decided on quite early in the process. This was done on purpose, so as to not create an isolated, exclusive, part of the conference, but instead to generate attention for academic input in the community and to cross-pollinate with industry, developers and users.

what worked

what didn't work

what would we do differently

Merchandise (JC)

General comments on the FOSS4G branded kit (banners, t-shirts, and the stuff in the delegate packs)

what worked

what didn't work

what would we do differently

Programme Booklet

The work on the programme book was outsourced to Barry Hall, a designer that had been recommended to the team. Barry produced a couple of suggested layouts and then used feedback from the team to work up an agreed look. General text for the booklet was written in a Google Doc and shared with the whole team for editing, before been finalised and sent to Barry. A link to the online programme was provided to Barry to use to take this text across.

A mini / lanyard version of the programme was also created to allow delegates to leave the booklet behind and still follow the timings if they needed to. This had links for delegates to access the sessions descriptions online.

Despite the design being outsourced, this is still a major task for a member of the team and it is difficult to oversee this when involved in other activities. A lot of the work happens close to the final event arrangements. This is important to consider when assigning this to someone.


  • June - work started
  • End June - First design concepts
  • Mid July - Design sign-off
  • End July - All editorial text to designer
  • August - Lanyard Design work
  • Mid August - All editorial content signed off
  • End August - All adverts due in
  • End August - Final proofing of booklet & Lanyard
  • Very early Sept - All to printers

what worked

  • Outsourcing the design work
  • Having one member of the team work directly with the designer to provide clear instructions
  • Assigning a couple of team members to write up and generate the general text instructions
  • Having a few keen proof readers to provide valuable input

what didn't work

  • Timescales were a bit tight, confirmation of programme held up the programme booklet
  • Giving the designer a log-in to the basecamp platform, there was too much there and difficult for him to quickly follow threads

what would we do differently

  • Start collating the text for the booklet earlier -

This would allow more notice for those that were being asked to provide content (welcomes, adverts..)

  • More careful checking of source material before sending to designer - a glitch with the link to the online programme meant it all had to be imported a second time and incurred some additional design time


Everything relating to the workshops,from the call, to sorting out rooms to timetables and ensuring that hardware/software needs were fulfilled

Running the workshops at FOSS4G is hard mainly due to managing the technical aspects in addition to scheduling etc.

what worked

  • Presenters that took advantage of the testing sessions prior to their workshop had a much easier time, those that did not received harsh feedback
  • Workshops that used writable LiveUSB that they could take with them went down well with the delegates
  • A number of delegates took advantage of being able to change their workshop booking prior to the event via the booking system
  • We had positive feedback regarding running workshops during the main conference
  • Lunch bags where popular with delegates and easy to administer

what didn't work

  • Some delegates complained that the schedule did not provide a progression from intro to advanced
  • Very poor feedback for those workshops that did not test material and suffered lost time and confusion
  • Using heavily locked down university hardware made life a lot harder for organisers and presenters
  • The university HTTP proxy was a challenge for some
  • People found the split between venues and navigating the university campus challenging
  • Some complaints about unpaid delegates attending workshop

what would we do differently

  • Publish the workshop schedule before selling workshop tickets
  • Delegates could only book blocks of workshops, instead allow delegates to book individual workshops when they register
  • Look to schedule intro workshops before advanced if possible
  • Rent good spec laptops for workshops with VirtualBox installed
  • Encourage all presenters to submit either a VM or USB/DVD prior to the event with instructions for testing
  • Have each delegate checked off at each workshop to avoid unpaid delegates attending


what worked

what didn't work

what would we do differently

Academic track

In 2011 a Memorandum of Understanding was signed between OSGEO and the ICA (International Cartographic Association). The purpose of this MOU was to establish a collaborative relationship between the two parties, sharing the goal of developing on a global basis collaboration opportunities for academia, industry and government organizations in open source GIS software and data. One of its action points was for the "ICA Commission on Open Source Geospatial Technologies to help OSGeo to establish a framework for publications for the academic track of FOSS4G conferences." Barend Köbben, member of that ICA commission, volunteered for that task at the time of the ill-fated Beijng FOSS4G in 2012, and carried that over to the Nottingham 2013 conference. Our suggestion is to keep this effort going, and we therefore are offering the Portland 2014 team our services to share experiences and coordinate the effort with the Portland LOC (it's is our understandng that Eli Adam and David Percy would be their AT contacts).

We made an open call for deciding the Academic track chairs to ensure we get the best candidates who have interest in this applying (not just the LOC members) and the LOC chose 2 academic track chairs from the Expressions of Interest. This has proved successful in attracting the best talent . This was also based on the ICA-OSGeo MoU actions that ICA Commission on Open Source Geospatial Technologies support the Academic Track of FOSS4G . We are pleased that this model worked successfully and we hope the future LOCs will also consider this approach.

Academic institutions and scientists have always have been part of the audience of FOSS4G conferences, whether it be as developers of the open source software, as collaborators in the design of open standards, in the dissemination of open source by education, or in the collection and the hosting of freely available geo-data.

The FOSS4G 2013 Academic Track was aimed at bringing together researchers, developers, users and practitioners carrying out research and development in the geospatial and the free and open source fields. With the Academic Track motto "Science for Open Source, Open Source for Science", the organisers tried to attract academic papers describing both the use of open source geospatial software and data, in and for scientific research, as well as academic endeavours to conceptualize, create, assess, and teach open source geospatial software and data. There was an effort to specifically attract contributions from "early stage researchers" (PhD students, PostDocs) to give them an opportunity to aim for a high-ranking publication and present their work to a large audience of focussed professionals.

Software used: Open Journal Systems

For the FOSS4G2013 conference we used separate systems: WordPress and Django for the main conference site and the presentation and workshops tracks (see below) and OJS (Open Journal System) [1] for the Academic Track. All were installed on the same Amazon instance. The reason there were separate systems was pragmatic. By the time we had to start the AT timeline no choice had been made for the main conference system. We knew we'd need a rather elaborate system for the AT, to keep track of many reviewers, authors and papers, and at the same time keep the review process double-blind (i.e., authors and reviewers remain anonymous to each other). There are a multitude of possible solutions, both commercial and open source, and a suitable open source one seemed Open Journal Systems. Additionally, one of the AT chairs (F-J Behr) had experienced OCS, the somewhat simpler version of the same software, as well suited for that particular task, so we decided to use it. In addition, Django was used for bespoke database functionality within the main site (e.g. managing registrations for workshops) that would have been difficult to implement in Wordpress.

Call for Papers and selection process

The original call for papers can be found here: http://2013.foss4g.org/academic-track/call-for-papers/

We invited academics and researchers to submit full papers in English, of maximum 6,000 words, before the deadline (see timeline below). Templates for submission in a variety of formats (OpenOffice, MS Word and LaTeX) were available [see http://2013.foss4g.org/ojs/static/FOSS4G2013_templates.zip], and detailed requirements, regarding layout, formatting and the submission process, could be found on the FOSS4G 2103 Academic Track submission pages at http://2013.foss4g.org/ojs/

The Academic Track committee was made up of Academic Track Chairs:

   Barend Köbben (ITC, University of Twente, Netherlands) – b.j.kobben@utwente.nl
   Franz-Josef Behr (Stuttgart University of Applied Science, Germany) - franz-josef.behr@hft-stuttgart.de

and the following reviewers, a committee of experts in the field, who were asked to assess the papers on originality and academic rigour, as well as interest for the wider FOSS4G community. The full list includes the following people (who we'd like to thank again for their hard work):

   R. Jaishankar (Indian Institute of Information Technology & Management)
   Eric Grosso (Institut Géographique National, France)
   Stefan Neumeier (Johann Heinrich von Thünen-Institut, Germany)
   Didier Leibovici (University of Leeds, UK)
   Rafael Moreno (University of Colorado Denver, USA)
   Homayoon Zahmatkesh (Tehran University, Iran)
   Gregory Giuliani (UNEP GRID, Switzerland)
   A.P. Pradeepkumar (University of Kerala, India)
   Brent Alexander Wood (Environmental Information Delivery, New Zealand)
   Peter Löwe (German Research Centre for Geosciences)
   Helena Mitasova (North Carolina State University, USA)
   Matthias Möller (Beuth University Berlin, Germany)
   Muki Haklay (University College London, UK)
   Hans-Jörg Stark (University of Applied Sciences Switzerland)
   Simon Jirka (52North.org, Germany)
   Maria Brovelli (Politecnico di Milano, Italy)
   Rolf de By (ITC, University of Twente, Netherlands)
   Serena Coetzee (University of Pretoria, South Africa)
   Ivana Ivanova (ITC, University of Twente, Netherlands)
   Charlie Schweik (University of Massachuetts, Amherst, USA)
   Tomasz Kubik Wroclaw (University of Technology, Poland)
   António J.F. da Silva (Universidade Nova de Lisboa, Portugal)
   Anusuriya Devaraju (IBG3-Forschungszentrum Juelich, Germany)
   Philip James (University of Newcastle, UK)
   Claire Ellul (UCL, UK)
   Jorge Gustavo Rocha (Universidade do Minho, Portugal)
   Tuong Thuy Vu (UNMC, Malaysia)
   Thierry Badard (Laval University, Canada)
   Kathrin Poser (GFZ Helmholtz-Zentrum Potsdam, Germany)
   Songnian Li (Ryerson University, Canada)

(A list of contact emails is available upon request from the chairs)

There was a two-step (double-blind) reviewing process: First a review of the full papers, in which the reviewers were requested to judge papers on their suitability for presentation, and publication in the proceedings in the on-line OSGeo Journal [1]. And from this selection the reviewers were asked for suggestions for papers to be published in Transactions in GIS [2]. We expected to select 20-25 papers for presentation and publication. We considered the OSGeo Journal to be an appropriate outlet for the conference, as it is OSGeo's "own" journal and is focussed on Open Source for Geo and thus fits very well the subject matter. But we also recognised that to attract high quality papers, in the current academic climate of "publish or perish", you have to also offer the possibility of publishing in a journal that has an recognised international academic ranking. We fortunately came to an agreement with the editors of the journal "Transactions in GIS" to offer some 5-8 slots for inclusion in a special issue of the journal. In principle, the editors of TGIS have agreed to do this again next year(s), if both parties are satisfied with this year's outcomes.

The OJS can be used to do all steps necessary in the process: inviting and keeping track of reviewers, submission by authors, keeping track of reviews. We invited three reviewers for each paper. Reviewers could use the OJS to add comments to authors and to editors separately, and they could rank the paper:

  • Strong Accept and recommendation for inclusion in Transactions in GIS
  • Strong Accept
  • Weak Accept
  • Reject

The rejected papers were either fully rejected (some being totally out of scope, others way too long, some just plainly bad quality), or in a limited number of cases were deemed to be interesting, but not suited for academic publication: these were referred to the "normal" presentations track.

Reviewers also could state if they wanted certain revisions to be made before accepting the paper. All of this is nicely tracked in the OJS system, emails are generated and sent, etcetera.

After revisions were done by the authors (where necessary -- here again OJS is of great help to track things) the AT chairs did the final selection: Out of a total of some 35 submissions (a slightly disappointing number), we accepted 19 papers. Out of these 5 publications were recommended for inclusion in the Transactions in GIS journal, which thus left 14 to be published in the OSGeo Journal.

   [1] -- OSGeo Journal, the official Journal of the Open Source Geospatial Foundation; 
   [2] -- Transactions in GIS. Published by Wiley; included in ISI, with an impact factor of 0.54; 
   Edited by John P. Wilson, David O’Sullivan and Alexander Zipf. 
   Print ISSN: 1361-1682 Online ISSN: 1467-9671. 
   Transactions in GIS. Published by Wiley; included in ISI, with an impact factor of 0.54; 
   Edited by John P. Wilson, David O’Sullivan and Alexander Zipf. 
   Print ISSN: 1361-1682 Online ISSN: 1467-9671. 

Time line

We set up a time line so as to try to have the selected papers published by the time of the conference. For this it was necessary to make appointments with the editors of our two outlets (see above) on dates.

  • December 2012: Submission open at http://2013.foss4g.org/ojs/
  • 22 February 2013: Deadline for submission of full papers
  • 1 May 2013: Reviewing decisions
  • 19 May 2013: Paper revision deadline
  • 15 September 2013: publication of selected papers; 8-10 papers in Early View (on-line) Transactions in GIS; others in on-line OSGEO Journal
  • 17-21 September 2013: FOSS4G Conference
  • early 2014: printed issue Transactions in GIS

It transpired that even when starting the process very early, this was only just do-able: In the end the papers in Transactions in GIS were published on-line (as "early Preview") at the time of the conference (and will appear in printed form as a special issue somewhere in Q1 of 2014); The OSGeo papers were accepted and have been uploaded, but are not published on-line yet (also expected Q1 2014).

Academic Bursaries

We received a £5000 for academic bursaries from EDINA and we decided to open them up to Early stage researchers who were defined as MSc/PhD and postdocs/lecturers in the first couple of years out of their PhD.

Academic Bursaries covered delegate fees and accommodation. This meant that we did not have to pass money to anyone. We also had the flexibility to transfer the award if recipients dropped out at the last minute.

Winners were asked to volunteer so it gave us extra help at the event.

Winners also wrote a short report on the event which was a nice way of disseminating information after the event.

Bursary info was distributed on OSGeo lists, academic mailing lists and by asking the academic track team to distribute on local lists in their country. It is hard to get the message out to international institutions but we had a good response from around the world.

what worked

The experiences with the OJS software were largely positive. It was very stable, is flexible (if somewhat daunting to start with) in the way it can be set up. For a next conference we'd probably want to tweak it a bit further, but in general it served us well, and allowed us to keep a grip on the process.

Mixing the "Academic" presentations in the "normal" programme worked well to generate attention for academic input in the community and to cross-pollinate with industry, developers and users.

what didn't work

We were disappointed by the actual number of submissions. Luckily the quality was generally high, so that we ended up with enough positive reviews to fill the track. But it is clear that for a broader/safer selection, we should have done more to attract submissions. Sending out emails, publishing on websites, tweeting and other social media come to mind (aimed at academic organisation, OSGeo chapters, GIS organisations, GIS publications, etcetera).

Difficult to know if you reached all countries with messages about Call for Papers/Bursaries

what would we do differently

The reviewers that had accepted originally, did not all react (in time) when asked to do the actual reviews. The list we included above are those that actually did review, the original list was a bit longer. It became clear that you need some "reserve capacity" here: Our advice would be to at least ask four reviewers per paper, to be reasonable sure to have three or at least two reviews in the end per paper.

The final stages of publication were not agreed upon clearly enough with the OSGeo Journal. We should have made clear agreements with the journal's editors as to who does what: Now, when we finally sent all the edited papers, it was not clear who was going to to final copy-editing and proofs. This has resulted in a delay of publication that could have been avoided.


The public web site was originally a WordPress (WP) site running on an Amazon server paid for by one of the LOC, WP was chosen because of some experience using it within the team. A search for conference functionality turned up a plugin that had some of the required functionality and was used to display sponsors on the site.

However the advanced functionality of scheduling talks, workshops, presentations etc didn't seem to be available from any (free) WP plugin - and we eschewed commercial solutions.

After investigating python/Django solutions, the same server was configured to run Django alongside WP, and a large amount of conference-handling code developed for PyConDE was used to manage the Workshop schedule.

A separate custom Django system was developed to handle Workshop bookings. Registered workshop users could log in and book workshop sessions - either one or two day's worth depending on what they had paid for. The system prevented users from booking overlapping workshops (and due to the different workshop lengths, this was not as trivial as preventing two bookings at the same start time). Integration with the payment system was via emailed excel spreadsheets, read in via a python script that updated the Django database.

More custom Django code was written to handle the overall timetable, integrating presentations, plenaries, breaks, and events.

Integration with an Android conference scheduling app (Giggity) was achieved - no such luck with iOS though.

Further Django apps were developed for the 'Pledge' pages and the Map Gallery.

Code for the Django apps and the WP skin were pushed to a public github site.

Post-conference, the whole site (WP, Django, etc) will be statically mirrored so it can be served from a plain HTTP server, with reduced functionality (no searching, voting, etc),

what worked

WP worked okay as a content management system for pages. Enough of us had the ability to edit and create new pages.

The daily interactive timetable seemed popular - having hyperlinks between presenters, sessions, rooms etc. Icons for various highlighted talks, bookmarks etc.

what didn't work

In the early days the site would crash under moderate load, due to MySQL dying. A watchdog script was written to restart MySQL on its demise. For the time nearer the conference the Amazon instance was upgraded.

what would we do differently

  • Make the conference management system design a priority from day one.
  • Use a single integrated conference management solution - payment, registration, submission, timetabling.
  • Possibly get that solution from an external provider, the most obvious being Eldarion who develop python conference solutions based on Symposion, an open-source conference system.


During the conference we organised several entertainment events:


This event on the Wednesday evening will be a great chance for you to meet and mingle with your fellow conference attendees and impress them with your geographic knowledge. Following a sit-down meal in the Auditorium at EMCC, author, TV and radio presenter, and self-confessed “Map Addict”, Mike Parker will entertain with a light-hearted after dinner talk. There will then be a “pub-quiz” with a geographic theme and prizes.

Mike Parker “Map Addict”

Gala Night

For our Thursday night party our headline act is Steve and Helen from Festival of The Spoken Nerd, presenting unashamed geekery from their hit shows such as “Full Frontal Nerdity” and “Technobabble”. Expect comedy, songs, live experiments and audience participation in the GeoCamp tent. Follow them as @fotsn on twitter or catch them live at the Edinburgh Festival in August if you can’t wait!

We’re also pleased to be able to present local pianist and all-round jazz virtuoso Chris Conway and his band to ‘bookend’ the Nerds – they’ll be playing some of Chris’s own compositions as well as jazz standards. Chris is a fantastic musician who is well-known on the local music scene, and he’ll be providing a suitably cool and convivial atmosphere for us to chat, drink, and maybe even dance a little too!

Friday Night

If you fancy exploring Nottingham on Friday night there are hundreds of bars and restaurants to choose from on the Nottingham Experience site, they also offer an iPhone App which those of you of the Apple persuasion may find useful.

Jeremy and Mark have shared their favourite bars and restaurants to make it easy for you to choose. Some of these places get booked up early so don’t leave it to the last minute

Saturday Night’s Closing Party

Not everyone will be rushing off after the closing plenaries on Saturday afternoon. On Saturday night we are going to have a chilled evening in the GeoCamp with speciality beer tasting, pizza and improv. We’ve got a microphone, we’ve got a stage, now all we need is you to bring your talents. If you can sing, play a musical instrument, tell a joke, recite your favourite bit of Shakespeare, organise a game or do anything else Mark Iliffe wants you to contact him on [markiliffe at gmail dot com]. You can still book a place at the closing party here

what worked

what didn't work

Friday Night Excursion to Nottingham Greyhound Track (not included in conference packages)

On Friday night there is the option of a trip away from campus for an evening at the Nottingham Greyhound Track (including a meal). Alternatively enjoy yourself in the city under your own steam, or relax on the University campus. Going to the dogs

Thanks to http://www.flickr.com/photos/sombraala/

On Friday, escape the conference centre for a trip out for a social evening interlaced with the drama of racing. Have dinner and a race card in the restaurant box at the Nottingham Greyhound Stadium (http://www.nottinghamdogs.com). The box is glass fronted and newly refurbished with panoramic views over the racetrack and screens around the box showing the odds, race results and video feed of the races. You can also leave the box to go down to the trackside to watch the races up close. The main race card starts at 7:15pm.

Menus are available online http://www.nottinghamdogs.com/dining.php . You can order from this on the night, no need to specify in advance. The restaurant can cope with different dietary preferences but these should be expressed at the time of booking.

Please book directly with the stadium by phone on +44/0 (115) 910 33 33 and choose option 3 for restaurant bookings. If you’re phoning out of hours please leave a name and contact number and they will ring you back. The cost of the evening is £19.80 per person. There will be a booking fee of £1 per reservation. You’re encouraged to book together in groups if you can as each group can then be sat together, and you only get charged one reservation fee between you.

Dogs racing event did not get any "official" registrations. Might have been because people were asked to phone the venue to register, or because dog-racing was not something FOSS4G-ers like? We quietly dropped it as an "official" event, but people could still drop in unannounced.

what would we do differently


what worked

what didn't work

what would we do differently


The timeline from winning the bid to the event starting

August 2012

Sept 2012

During the event

Stuff that went down at the event and how we reacted to things to keep everything on track

what worked

Wifi strengthening gave delegates a high-quality connectivity, even given the QGIS 2.0 release announcement and subsequent download peak.

what didn't work

Last-minute workshop subscription was not especially effective, but in the bigger picture of workshop organization, it offered an extra possibility for the delegates to attend them.

what would we do differently

We should have better pre-organised/structured the registration process: The papers were not in any clear order, so when things got crowded the registration volunteers had a hard time finding the appropriate badges/packs. Simply having separate piles for alphabetic groups (as seen in many conferences) would have simplified things a lot.

Parting thoughts