FOSS4G2020 Q&A 2 Calgary

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Questions Till Adams

  • "The remaining 50% of profit will be held in-trust by TECTERRA and used as a travel grant program for Alberta-based students to travel to future international FOSS4G events (Page 40):

In the FOSS4G cookbook [1] it is not clearly defined, how much of the revenue has to be passed back to OSGeo, but there is a not yet decided proposal that 85% of a FOSS4G surplus goes to OSGeo. The idea to hold 50% in order to setup a dedicated travel grant programme for Alberta people for future OSGeo events only sounds little strange to me - especially as there is an official travel grant programme of OSGeo. Can you please explain your ideas behind that a bit more?

  • Answer

Our understanding of the FOSS4G RFP was that if the LOC required seed funding from OSGeo then they must return at least 85% of the profits; and if they did not require seed funding they should return at least 50% of any surplus (RFP doc, page 9). As we do not require seed funding fom OSGeo we plan to donate at least 50% of all profits back to OSGeo.

We decied to use any remaining profits for a travel gant program for future events as a way to encourage locals to attend future FOSS4G events. By providing additional funds for travel we felt that it would reduce the burden on the existing travel grant programme and allow it to focus on middle- or lower-income countries, rather than on a (relatively) high-income region like Canada.

Furthermore, this money will help to strengthen the OSGeo community in westersn Canada by growing a following and ensuring representation from western Canada for the next international conferences.

If the resolution is decided and the required amount to return to OSGeo changes we are willing to work within that framework.

  • Finances

Your calculation is based between 24-30% on sponsorship - depending on scenario "LOW" or "GOAL". Even when regarding the already signed sponsorships, in any case there is a need to sign at least a sum of 150k more sponsorship-money, in order to reach a balanced budget. Do you have an emergency plan, what happens if something unexpected may happen or what to do when missing your sponsorship goal?

  • Answer

At this point, we have budgeted for $230,000 CAN ($176,000 USD) in total sponsorship and have already received confirmed sponsorship of over $130,000 CAN ($98,000 USD) in just over 4 weeks. The CLOC is confident that the remaining $78,000 USD required to hit our minimum anticipated sponsorship will be easily attainable by reaching out to prior FOSS4G sponsors and additional industry support locally. The current space we have on hold for exhibitions at the Calgary TELUS Convention Centre will allow our group to accommodate upwards of 140 booth sponsors providing an abundance of opportunties for varying levels of sponsorship. However, pending unexpected circumstances, if the CLOC were to miss the low anticipated sponsorship commitment, we have added a 7% contingency line item to the budget as a safeguard.

[1], bullet (7)

Questions from Steven Feldman

  1. In your vision statement you say that FOOS4G will be “...a catalyst to foster the democratization of opportunity that open-sources represents for creators at every scale…” Could you explain further (particularly for people on this list for whom English is not their first language)
    1. Apologies for the "manager speak!" We see FOSS4G Calgary 2020 as an opportunity to share the power, opportunity, and availability of open-source tools with people from a wide range of backgrounds. Those who are already geospatial people may know of OS tools, but there are many people that could benefit from implementing and adopting open source options. Furthermore, we want to let people know that they don't need to be stuck in a single-vendor solution, that they have options, and that the options are real tools being used in the real world.
    2. The marketing and outreach for FOSS4G Calgary2020 will let us introduce OSGeo and OSGeo projects to new audiences and help people engage with those projects and create their own. These projects let more people learn and contribute to important technology without the cost of software licenses and without needing employment or arrangements with commercial software vendors. Anyone can be part of creating high-value innovations solving important problems for community and industry. The conference event can be an important milestone to help rally the community toward and also be a great springboard with community and industry colliding.
  2. Can you confirm that although visas are not required for some countries an ETA will be required?
    1. Yes. Citizens from countries other than the United States (U.S.) who do not need a visa to enter Canada will need to obtain an eTA before flying to Canada. To view the list of countries, visit Applying for an eTA is a simple online process thattakes just a few minutes. You need your passport, a credit card and an email address. It costs CAD$7 to get an eTA.
  3. Can you provide clarity on whether you will be videoing and/or streaming all or some of the conference streams? Is this provided for in your budget?
    1. THE CLOC plans to video record the plenary sessions and pending additional sponsorship look to record additional breakouts. Additionally, the CLOC has been in discussions with SAIT to solicit student volunteers from the Broadcasting department to manage additional recording. Plenary video recording has been reflected in our budget while additional expenses that are sponsorship dependent are outlined in a separate section below.
  4. Your budget has a high dependency on sponsorship, what are your contingencies if your target is not achieved?
    1. The CLOC feels that the sponsorship levels outlined in the bid book are a very conservative and attainable reflection of the minimum sponsorship we would receive by hosting FOSS4G in Calgary. At this point, we have budgeted for $176,000 USD in total sponsorship and have already received confirmed sponsorship of over $98,000 USD. That funding is in place without having reached out to previous OSGeo sponsorship. The CLOC felt it was important to build a budget that could show a reasonable profit without over extending the ability to secure sponsorship.
  5. If you do not receive specific funding for the gala evening what will be the charge to delegates in USD?
    1. Right now, the CLOC has anticipated that Gala tickets will be an additional charge of $60 CAN ($45USD) per delegate. In an effort to keep registration costs lower the CLOC opted for an optional buy in to attend the Gala event. The event will be held at the National Music Centre in the Cultural District of Downtown Calgary and give individuals the opportunity to engage with musical exhibitions and artifacts all while celebrating FOSS4G. Should costs be lower then anticipated or additional Gala sponsorship is secured, then those costs savings will be passed on to delegates.
  6. Can you confirm that you will not be seeking any seed funding or guarantees from OSGeo?
    1. The CLOC has not requested any seed funding from OSGeo, and will not require OSGeo seed funding, for FOSS4G Calgary 2020. TECTERRA, an Alberta based non-profit has volunteered to provide funding for start up costs and preliminary deposits.
  7. You appear to make very little additional profit from higher levels of attendance. Can you explain?
    1. The CLOC looked to accurately anticipate which line items higher attendance would effect most greatly. As you will see form our budget, the increased cost is primarily allocated to food and beverage and social events. We also felt it was important to factor in elements like food and beverage gratuities (19%), GST (5%) and other often overlooked expenses.
    2. We could reflect higher profit margins by increasing registration fees, however we believe that it is more important to build an affordable and inclusive FOSS4G.
  8. Is there any option to reduce the costs of catering to either reduce ticket prices or increase surplus?
    1. Yes. There is flexibility both within the Convention Centre catering and social activity catering that would allow the CLOC the ability to reduce costs. It is important to note that all food and beverage costs are already inclusive of a 19% gratuity required for large group bookings at the host venue and social establishments.
  9. Is the 50% share of surplus contribution to OSGeo negotiable?
    1. Yes it is. We used the 50% level as it was indicated in the RFP document that LOCs who did not require seed funding from OSGeo should donate at least 50% of the profits back.
  10. The co-hosting alongside Inventure$ 2020 radically changes your budget and proposal. Can you provide some more detailed info on this opportunity and clarify whether this is your preference ()and if so why you did not base your proposal around it?)
    1. "Our prefence is to hold a succesful and engaging FOSS4G event in 2020.
    2. The offer of $200,000 CAD from Alberta Innovates to host FOSS4G 2020 at the same time as INVENTURES is a very good opportunity and would guarantee a profitable, inclusive, and successful event.
    3. The condition that comes with the sponsorship is that the timing of the event would need to shift from the end of August to the begining of June. It is our understandanding that OSGeo's intent is to keep the FOSS4G conference at the same time each year to build consistency in expectations. As an LOC we were not sure how strong this preference is, and whether timing is more important then guaranteed sponsorship, and as such did not bid with the INVENTURE$ opportunity as the main thrust. In addition to the $200,000 CAD sponsorship from Alberta Innovates, all FOSS4G attendees would have full access to the INVENTURES conference, creating an opporutnity for broader networking, learning, and inspiration.
    4. We believe that the community should discuss the potential benefits and risks of shifting the event to a new time frame before we move forward on the opportunity.
      1. Background:
      2. Alberta Innovates (AI) is a government funded organization that supports innovation in Alberta across a range of industries and technologies. They offer support programs for hiring, product development, and applied research, and they are one of two primary funders of TECTERRA (the other is Alberta Economic Development and Trade, a government department).
      3. INVENTURES was started in 2017 by the CEO of AI, Ms. Laura Kilcrease. Ms. Kilcrease was heavily involved in creating the successful SXSW event in Austin Texas, and INVENTURES is inspired by SXSW. It is a technology and innovation conference with a focus on emerging technology, investment, and building community in Alberta to showcase the potential for local high tech firms. "
  11. Can you confirm that the workshop fee of US $200 ids for 2 full days of workshops. Is there an option for attendees to register for only 1 or 2 workshops individually?
    1. Yes, the $200 is for the 2 full days; we will have options for 1 day, or half day sessions.
  12. Can you confirm whether you are offering a discount on delegate fees to workshop presenters?
    1. We will waive the delegate fees for workshop presenters. Putting together a workshop takes a ton of effort and substantially adds to the depth of the event, we're happy to provide free tickets to workshop presenters. This is accounted for in our budget under the 10% complimentary passes
  13. In your budget you have a line for printing a programme. Can you explain? (in the last 2 years we have had digital programmes)
    1. The budget committee recognized that there has been a shift to digital programs in previous years but didnt want to eliminate the line item entirely should there still be a preference for a finite number of printed programs. Eliminating this line item is certainly possible and would lend to an even more expansive contigency fund.
  14. You make no mention of producing a conference t-shirt or the costs, is that correct or have I missed it?
    1. Conference tshirt costs have been allocated in the budget under On-Site Expenses.
  15. You mention a Travel Grant Programme - is this the OSGeo TGP initiative or one that will be run independently by your LOC?
    1. The CLOC plans to work with OSGeo on funding their Travel Grant Programme for FOSS4G in 2020. At this time, the CLOC has already secured $13,000 CAN ($9,857 USD) in funding to put towards the OsGEo Travel Grant Programme for 2020.
  16. 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)?
    1. Yes, we can confirm that all all funds allocated through the FOSS4G Calgary 2020 TGP will be used for thepurposes of travel and subsitence. TGP recipients will recieve a complimentary pass to FOSS4G 2020 and will not need to pay for this pass out of TGP funds.

Questions from Jonathan

Excellent stuff on the re-usable focus. Some further *sustainability/ethics* related questions

  • Your bid doesn't mention meeting delegate's dietary requirements anywhere. Is this something your caterers will plan-ahead for (as in, have pre-made items that are veggie/vegan/gluten-free etc), or are they going to just cater to any such people who present themselves on the fly? Or not at all?
    • During registration will ask delegates if they have any dietary requirements so that our venue and caterer will be able to pre-prepare food as required.
  • Will breaks include food that meets dietary requirements?
    • Yes, to the best of our ability.
  • Will your caterers preferentially source food locally?
    • We can certainly request this from our caterers, however it will dramatically increase the price for food and beverage. We will work to strike a balance of locally and ethically sourced products while keeping the ticket prices as accessible as possible for all participants.
  • Will caterers use tea/coffee/chocolate/etc that is FairTrade (or equivalent)?
    • We can certainly request this from our caterers, however it will dramatically increase the price for food and beverage. We will work to strike a balance of locally and ethically sourced products while keeping the ticket prices as accessible as possible for all participants.
  • Are you going to reduce the amount of animal-based (and especially meat-based) products to try and reduce the conference's CO2 footprint?
    • Will will offer a range and selection of foods to meet a variety of diets.

Following on from your answer to Steven's question, 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)?
    • We are happy to provide a "no T-Shirt" option for delegates who do not desire one.
  • Will they be ethically sourced? (Ethical cotton and ethical manufacture)
    • We can certainly request this from our provider, however it will dramatically increase the price. We will work to strike a balance of locally and ethically sourced products while keeping the ticket prices as accessible as possible for all participants.

More of an observation than a question - it says: "Sessions will take place within three 1.5-hour blocks each day with ten concurrent tracks in each session." - but the timetable below that doesn't seem to reflect this. I'm seeing 1.5hrs, 2.5hrs, 1hr on Wed and Thur.


This is at a brewery and alcohol seems to be the central theme of the evening; what components are there for including the non-drinking delegates?

  • We chose this venue specifically to highlight the budding microbrewery scene in Calgary, and also to provide individuals who do not drink the opportunity to enjoy themselves. This venue has 8 luxury bowling lanes, Foosball and ping pong that will be available to delegates throughout the evening. All social events were designed to have something for everyone and to encourage networking while enjoying different facets of Calgary.
Further questions

I'm a little confused as to the reply on the issue of ethical tea/coffee/chocolate and t-shirts. Could you please clarify. You state:

"We can certainly request this from our provider, however it will dramatically increase the price. We will work to strike a balance of locally and ethically sourced products while keeping the ticket prices as accessible as possible for all participants."

The delegates of this conference are almost all going be well inside the top quintile richest people on the planet. Could you please expand on why you wish to keep costs down for these people at the expense of the those in the bottom quintile? Especially given the ongoing modern-day slavery (including child-slavery) that continues to this day in both cotton and chocolate production.

How is this in keeping with the OSGeo code of conduct line: "we will always work to treat everyone well."?

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?
    • We recognize that to hold a successful FOSS4G event with this many people attending we will need significant support from sponsors. Sponsors will receive recognition in accordance with their level of contribution, including on site signage, logo placement, social media mentions etc. Some levels of sponsorship may include the opportunity to give a talk and address the crowd, or to introduce a keynote speaker. These opportunities will be balanced such that sponsors are enticed to participate and feel that their receive fair value for money, while ensuring that the event does not become overly commercial.