EGU Townhall 2015

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Ramp Up

Information for the OSGeo Board

Title of the event

TM5 OSGeo: Free and Open Source Software (FOSS) in the Geosciences

Type of event

Townhalls are "power-networking events" hosted at the European Geosiences Union (EGU) General Assembly (GA) for up to 350 people.

EGU-wording: "Townhall Meetings are meetings open for all participants in the conference at which new initiatives or decisions are announced to a larger audience following an open discussion on the matter raised."

Townhalls are hosted in the evening following the conclusion of all scientific tracks. The events last one hour and usually have presentations / announcements taking up the first 20 minutes, to allow for an open discussion among the attendees. During this phase, refreshments are provided to ensure a lively and convivial atmosphere.

Expected Audience Size

100 - 150 people

Audience: Topical Background

Free Open Source Software from OSGeo projects affects most if not all EGU Divisions. Currently FOSS (OSGeo projects + R, GMT, etc.) is particularly strong in the Hydrology, Atnospheric Sciences, Earth and Space Sience Informatics and Tectonics Divisions.

Attendees are expected from the following fields (Academia, Research and Industry).

  • Atmospheric Sciences
  • Biogeosciences
  • Climate: Past, Present & Future
  • Cryospheric Sciences
  • Earth Magnetism & Rock Physics
  • Energy, Resources and the Environment
  • Earth and Space Science Informatics
  • Geodesy
  • Geodynamics
  • Geosciences Instrumentation and Data Systems
  • Geomorphology
  • Geochemistry, Mineralogy, Petrology & Volcanology
  • Hydrological Sciences
  • Natural Hazards
  • Nonlinear Processes in Geosciences
  • Ocean Sciences
  • Planetary and Solar System Sciences
  • Seismology
  • Stratigraphy, Sedimentology and Palaeontology
  • Soil System Sciences
  • Solar-Terrestrial Sciences
  • Tectonics and Structural Geology
Audience: Professional Level
  • Doctorate Students, PostDocs, Researchers, Activists, Leaders, Visionaries, Decision Makers, Funding Agencies
  • EGU GA location at the Vienna International Conference Centre, Austria
  • Townhall location: The townhall will be hosted in a dedicated lecture hall on the conference premises. Room capacity: Most likely up to 150 people.
  • Preliminary date and time: April 14 2015, 19:00 - 20:00 hours. The date will be synchronized with the FOSS-themend topical sessions (Hydrology and Earth and Space Science Informatics)
Relevance for OSGeo

how will our participation help OSGeo

  • Continuation and expansion of the "topical bridge head" established within EGU by the first OSGeo Townhall in 2014.
  • Raise awareness at and reach-out to the European geoscience community by hosting a dedicated public OSGeo event at the largest European geoscience conference.
  • Reach out to young scientists starting their careers.
  • Meeting place for people already active in OSGeo ("meta-BoF") as a large number of people congregates every year at the EGU GA.
  • Reach out to decision makers/elders/scientific activists within the EGU Divisions.
  • Culmination of the "FOSS day" (a new concept @ EGU, to be introduced in 2015) at the EGU GA: The organizers are trying to schedule all FOSS / OSGeo - related events on the same day. This will ensure we have a large audience and niceties such as "FOSS flashmobs" can be arranged for poster sessions. The "FOSS day" could and should be finished off with the OSGeo townhall, as a "multiplier/bring them all together" event.
  • Peaceful und friendly coexistence: Propiertary platforms including Microsoft, Google and ESRI are also staging dedicated events during EGU GA.
  • Awareness on the decision maker level: Significance of OSGeo within the emerging Data Science / Open Science debate ("-> OSGeo-tailored research programmes ?")
  • Venue rental: none
  • Catering: 2000 USD (based on last years experience) [required]
  • Promotional material: 100 USD (Posters/flyers announcing the event) [required]
  • Give aways: 500 USD (production of OSGeo-live USB-drives) [optional] (this is a guestimate due to lack of lessons learned on this from FOSS4G2014)

Total requested budget: 2600 USD

Proposed Payment Method
  • No seed money required
  • Catering bill (ca. 2000 USD) can be charged on the OSGeo Credit Card (as in 2014) after the event.
  • Promotional material / give aways (600 USD max): Money transfer to german bank account ?
Support by OSGeo
  • Finacial support
  • Use of Logos
  • Volunteers: Preparation phase, event hosting, presentations during the event.
    • Markus Neteler
    • Yann Chemin
    • Edzer Pebesma
    • Madi
    • GeoForAll folks
    • OSGeo-Live folks
    • FOSSGIS e.V.
Related Documents

Summary Report for the OSGeo Townhall at the EGU 2014 GA

EGU Board Request for funding

Board meeting 2015-02-05:

and the motions:

- approve past meeting's minutes

- allocate 10k USD in OSGeo 2015 budget for the ICA-OSGeo-ISPRS Students Awards initative. The funds will be requested by the award's committee with a detailed fund request.

- approve the funding request of 2600 USD for EGU OSGeo Townhall meeting


Preparation Phase (2015-02 - 2015-04)


  • Peter Löwe (Convener)
  • Alessandro Frigeri (Convener)
  • Margherita Di Leo (Convener)
  • Helli Kudrnovsky (local point of contact)
  • Markus Neteler (Speaker)
  • Edzer Pebesma (Speaker)

Prep Phase Timeline

Give-aways obtained from FOSSGIS e.V. by: End of FOSSGIS conference MARCH 16 (fallback giveaways acquired). Remaining give-aways be sent to hotel in Vienna by FOSSGIS

Give-aways: USB-drives with OSGeo Life 8.5 ready by: Will be sent to hotel in Vienna by FOSSGIS [OK]

Poster materials printed by: 2 weeks before conference [OK]

  • Steampunk A4-posterlets printed by: Mid-March (30 x) [OK]
  • Steampunk A5-flyers printed by: End of March [OK]

Catering money coming in from OSGeo by:

  • Catering bills will be charged to OSGeo credit card account [OK]

Catering planning completed by: 2015-03-23

Catering contract confirmed by: 2015-03-24

Important: Consider Easter Holidays ! -> 2016: National Workers Day (May 1st) ?

Townhall Venue Details

(Copernicus 2015-02-09): Room R8 has a capacity for 122 people.


Catering planning will be based on lessons learned in 2014. The room holds 122 persons max. Catering guestimate: 100 attendees

2015-02-09: Copernicus announces new caterer:

2015-02-18: Request for catering proposal sent to Mottogroup

2015-02-27: First quote from Mottogroup available. POC: [ Sandra Müller]

2015-03-13: Mottogroup confirms that EGU credit card can be used

2015-03-19: Mottogroup quote repeatedly edited

  • Inform OSGeo about changes of payment model due to new catering company. Request seed money (Completed: 2015-03-15)

Jeff McKenna & Michael (Treasurer): OSGeo credit card details remain with Mike. Caterer has to ocnatct Mike for billing details. Mike is informed about Mottogroups 1/3 1/3 1/3 billing approach (in our case 2/3 before - 1/3 post-event)

2015-03-24: Final quotation signed & sent to Motto Group (1.700 EUR max)

2015-04-02: Motto Group: First invoice (2/3 of total amount). OSGeo Treasurer (Mike) is sent a heads-up message.

2015-04-27: Motto Group: Second invoice. OSGeo Treasurer is sent a heads-up message.

FOSS-related sessions during EGU GA

Monday: HS3.3 Open Source Computing in Hydrology - PICO Session is scheduled on Monday 13 Apr, 13:30–17:00 (23 abstracts). An EGU PICO session which combines a 2-minute oral presentation (2-minute madness) with an interactive poster presentation on dedicated touch-screens.

Detailed programme here.


- ESSI Division Meeting

- Short Course on Open Science

- ESSI2.13/SSS1.8 Free and Open Source Software (FOSS) for Geoinformatics and Geosciences (co-organized) 30 Abstracts

Oral: TU3 (R14) TU4 (R14)
Poster: TU5

EGU-internal public relations


2015-02-09: "To advertise your townhall meeting you can send us a DIN A3 poster (300 dpi) by the end of February at the very latest." C2: Katja Gaenger, Copernicus

2015-02-26: Poster was sent to COPERNICUS (based on OSGeo Design). COPERNICUS (Katja) confirms reception.

todo: upload poster to wiki

Outcome: The townhall posters were integrated into the advertising/announcement pillars. Actual size of print: About A3.

todo: upload picture of pillar with poster on it

Lessons learned: Great opportunity to place the steampunk / hellboy content. Will take pressure from guerilla advertising campaign.

Guerilla Marketing

2015-02-20: No response from the creator of the Pulp-O-Mizer Steampunk website regarding a hi-res poster 2015-02-26: low-res Pulp-o-mizer poster-handout was created for use during the conference.

todo: upload pulp-o-mizer poster

task: Produce sufficent copies (A3/A4/A5) AHEAD of the conference, to be carried to Vienna.

- Achieved: 50 A4 prints + about 60 A5-take-aways were produced.

task: Mugs

- Mugs were ordered by an online printer in late March. Delivery within 48 hours. Uncritical delay due to postal strike in Germany.

todo: Upload picture of a mug (mug-shot).

option for 2016: buttons / patches option for 2016: OSGeo patches to sew/stitch on apparel. OSGeo-stickers were used in this manner in 2015 (short lasting effect, but it worked).

option for 2016: Consider hand out of USB-sticks if a teaching event can be arranged.

Press / Media

To be considered: -Contact Östereichischer Rundfunk (national radio) in advance. Reference: Helli Kudrnovsky. -Contact FOSS-minded science bloggers.

This was not followed through in 2015.

Options for 2016:

* Raise media awareness ahead of time before the conference
* Option for 2016: Develop blogging strategy
* Develop twitter strategy Tweets worked well in 2015

Materials / Give-aways

2015-02-27: FOSSGIS e.V. Conference Team (Katja) confirms that surplus give-aways can be picked up at the end of the FOSSGIS conference in Münster, to be used up during the Townhall.

2015-03-13: Agreement with Katja Haferkorn (FOSSGIS) that the most of the FOSSGIS leftover material is sent by parcel to Vienna. A batch of fallback materials will be brought by Peter. Agreement to use the 40-something (?) USB-drives produced by FOSSGIS and to sell them for 5 EUR (don't make it too cheap..) at the Townhall. Revenue to be returned to FOSSGIS e.V.

todo: Allocate time and ressources to put OSGeo Life 8.5 images on blank FOSSGIS usb-drives. (n/a ?)


20 Minutes of presentations + discussion.


- Peter Löwe (File:EGU OSGEO Townhall 2015 RELEASE V2.pdf)

- Markus Neteler

- Edzer Pebesma

execution: Markus and Edzer gave improvised lightning talks. Both are great speakers with deep knowledge in both Science and OSGeo. This sparked a lively discussion.

Guest List

Execution Phase (April 2015 - May 2015)

Pre-Event (until April 14 18:00 hours)

- Give aways remaining from the FOSSGIS conference + OSGeo-live USB-sticks were picked up @ Peters hotel in Vienna

- Confirmation for pricing of USB sticks was requested from FOSSGIS (suggested price: 5 Euro)

- Madi, Alessandro and Peter launched the guerilla marketing on Monday morning. A5 leaflets were deposited both on Monday and Tuesday at central points, PICO session and poster sessions.

- Personal invitations at the exihibition booths worked well (Invites given to: ICDP, Uni Kiel, etc. etc.)

- Organizers and speakers received their commemorative mugs shortly before the afternoon.

- Catering was provided about 15 minutes before the event (tables/refreshments were rolled in by the waiters)

- Lesson learned: Include Townhall announcement poster in any preceding PICO sessions and oral sessions (this already worked well in 2014).

- Lesson learned: A mid-sized OSGeo-banner would be useful for branding.

Showtime April 14 19:00 - approx 21:00 hours

- Room started to fill up late (10 - 15 Minutes into the time slot)

- Lesson learned: Start on time with a "warm up" presentation / discussion. High value content to be shown after 19:15.

- Bar was opened after the introduction. This was taken well, although most refreshments were consumed during the last 30 minutes.

- Madi did headcounts of attendees at the beginning, middle and closing of the event (about 50 people during the whole event)

- The event closed officially at 20:00 hours. Discussions continued. We had some latecomers (including Prof. Dawn Wright of ESR! !) who came in after other competing Townhalls closed at 20:00 hours.

- Security started shooing us out around 20:15

- Two OSGeo-live USB-sticks were sold.

- Lesson learned: It suffices to book the catering until 20:15 hours (75 minutes).

- Lesson learned: Trying to sell OSGeo-live-sticks to an audiencce which is already OSGeo-aware is not effective. Instead, the USB sticks should be used as give-aways during events reaching out to young scientists.

Presentation Topics

- Peter: The symbiontic entanglement of OSGeo and EGU (and the significance of base caps): File:EGU OSGEO Townhall 2015 RELEASE V2.pdf

- Markus: OSGeo Perspective: How OSGeo started and eveolved, current situation (spoken word)

- Edzer: Scientific perspcetive: Scientific journals for FOSS / Data (spoken word)

Discussion Topics

- US / European collaboration (Weather Radar Data Processing)

- Repositories

- Software Journal (-> Edzer) / Options to cite software

- Communication within OSGeo

- Role of OSGeo within EGU


- After-Townhall Dinner at Bermuda Bräu on Wednesday (?), arranged by Helli Kudrnovsky.

- Most consumables like flyers, stickers, etc. were handed out / deposited for take away during the remaining days of the conference.

- Remaining FOSS4G-2015 stickers will be carried to FOSS4G-EU to be used there.

- Remaining USB-sticks will be returned to FOSSGIS (point of contact: Katja Haferkorn),

- Revenue from USB-stick sale (10 EUR) will be handed over to FOSSGIS.

- Caterer will charge for refreshments.

Short term outcome

- Follow-up discussion with ESRI researcher (-> EGU/AGI | FOSS4G 2016)

- GPlates project became interested to join OSGeo

- wradlib project became interested to join OSGeo

- Re-alignment of AGU ESSI session on FOSS: From "show and tell" to the strategic role/impact of FOSS in Open Science / Science 2.0

- Critical mass of OSGeo people sparked discussion sessions every evening.

Presentation slides

Presentation slides archived in Zenodo (citeable by DOI)

Final Report / Lessons Learned

EGU 2015 Statistics

Presentations: 4,870 oral, 8,489 poster, and 705 PICO presentations.

Scientific sessions: 577 unique scientific sessions Side events: 310 side events (including Townhalls)

Participants: 11,837 scientists from 108 countries participated, of which 23% were students

Townhall Statistics


42 participants gave their E-Mail details to be informed about future events.

Discussion topics

  • Townhall is still considered a working format for OSGeo @ EGU.
  • Need to discuss software - data - journals
  • Recognition of software development and data set curation via dedicated scientific journals
  • Feedback and expectations towards the OSGeo (project developer communities from the scientists perspective)
  • International networking (example: Weather radar data application in the USA and EU)
  • Obstacles when launching into FOSS in Science (-> Bulgaria)

Industry contacts

  • Dawn Wright (ESRI)

Options & Opportunities for EGU General Assembly 2016

- Townhall (saturation has been reached -> 50 participants). Competition with similar events in the same timeslot most likely to continue. Most attendees in 2015 were already familiar with OSGeo (-> Birds of a feather). No need to preach to the choire. Reach-out to newbies needs different channels.

- Option: Splinter Meeting (free software - free speech - free lunch) during a lunch break timeslot to avoid Townhall-competition issue.

- Opportunity: Prepare a short course (one evening or multiple events), based on OSGeo-live, which gives introductions to several software tools. Great multiplier effect if attendees could take a USB-stick away for further self study.

- Opportunity: Set up a "EGU Survivial Guide for you OSGeo Scientists" in the OSGeo Wiki. Content: Phrases & wording how and why FOSS is significant in research. This avoids reinvention of the wheel and lowers the curb to include these topics in posters and presentations

- Opportunity: Set up a EGU poster template by OSGeo and provide it in the OSGeo Wiki.

Impact on EGU

The topic of FOSS is currently addressed in parallel within multiple EGU Divisions. This is most prominent in the Divisions of Hydrology and Earth and Space Science Informatics (ESSI) which both include dedictaed FOSS-focused tracks. Representatives from both Divisions participated in the Townhall.

FOSS was explicitly addressed during the ESSI Division Meeting:

- ESA is driving FOSS and open data efforts to increase the developer base for their software efforts. The terminology for this "Science 2.0" or "Open Science" (still to be discussed).

- A sub-group within ESSI will be set up under the guidance of ESA to drive this.

- Currently there are no dedicated E-Mail lists by EGU to foster FOSS-related discussions.

- Within AGU, NASA has taken the initiative and is supporting AGU-ESSI with by a dedicated topical mailing list.

- Opportunity: A ESSI/FOSS-related mailing list hosted by OSGeo would be very beneficial to continue communication within the EGU-FOSS-community during the year.

- In ESSI, there were occasional non-FOSS-related submissions during the last years. OSGeo could support ESSI/EGU by developing minimal requirements applicable to a FOSS-themed submission to aid and guide scientists.

- The topic of sustainable (repeatable) and open science affects all EGU divisions. This topic needs to be discussed from the scientists perspcetive both with providers of FOSS and propietary software tools.

Impact on American Geophysical Union (AGU)

The impact is similar as for EGU. We have secured our topical bridgehead. The AGU twin session on FOSS in ESSI will advance in 2015 from "show and tell" towards the actual impact of FOSS for Geoscience.

Expenses Summary

Overall expenses (catering + give aways + consumables) were well below the amount ok'd by the OSGeo Board.


OSGeo persons @ EGU Egu2015 madi maxi markus.jpg

Townhall begins: People start coming in Egu2015 townhall launch.jpg

Markus Neteler during his presentation Egu2015 townhall makrus neteler.jpg

Townhall discussion under way: Egu2015 townhall discussion.jpg

Refreshments buffet: Egu2015 refreshments buffet.jpg

Refreshment re-branding: Egu2015 refreshments.jpg

Presenters commemorative mug: Egu2015 mug.jpg