EGU Townhall 2023

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Ramp Up

General Information

Title of the event

OSGeo and Free and Open Source Software (FOSS) for Earth and Planetary Geosciences.

Convener: Alessandro Frigeri Co-conveners: Peter Löwe, Martina Stockhause


At this townhall, we will touchdown on the most up-to-date topics related to Free Open-Source for Geospatial software and Open Science practices. Alessandro Frigeri from Istituto Nazionale di Astrofisica of Italy (INAF) will introduce the session and briefly overview the latest developments of FOSS tools interoperable with geospatial data coming from missions from Mars, the Moon, and other bodies of the Solar System. Kevin Murphy from NASA will present the Transform to Open Science (TOPS) initiative aimed at transforming agencies, organizations, and communities to an inclusive culture of open science. Peter Loewe will report how Persistent Identifiers (PID) like Digital Object Identifiers can be used to improve indexing not only our scientific papers but also software projects and geospatial data.

The session will keep 20 minutes for open discussion about the topics touched at the session.

Organizing team (Draft) [add your name!]

Peter Löwe, Alessandro Frigeri, yournamehere

Primary points of contact

at Copernicus (conference organizer): Katja Gänger (egu2023 AT copernicus DOT org) TBC!

for Copernicus: TBD


Session details:

Convener Login

Overview over all EGU Townhalls


Venue / Time (requested)

Day: Tue, 25 Apr, 2023

Time: 19:00-20:00 (CEST)

Room: Room 1.34

Estimated number of attendees: 75–99 (optimistic assumption) - pragmatic guestimate for catering, etc: 50 pax (OLD NUMBERS FROM 2019)

Type of event

Townhalls are "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

50 - 80 people (optimistic guestimate from 2017 attendance numbers, we got less in 2018 due to competing events) (OLD NUMBERS FROM 2019)

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, Atmospheric Sciences, Earth and Space Science 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


Motto Group

Relevance for OSGeo (Draft / OUTDATED)

how will our participation help OSGeo

  • Continuation and expansion of the "topical bridgehead" established within EGU by the first two OSGeo Townhalls in 2014 and 2015.
  • 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.
  • 2019: Culmination of the "FOSS day" at the EGU GA: The organizers are urged to 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 ?")
Budget (2019 numbers. UPDATE NEEDED)
  • Venue rental cost: none
  • Catering cost: 2000 EUR / 2278 USD [Learned/Report for 2015] [required]
  • Promotional material: 250 EUR / 285 USD (Posters/flyers announcing the event) [required] -> Lessons Learned from 2016 !
  • Budget will be allocated within OpenGeoScience Committee budget as part of Open_Geoscience_Committee/budget_2019
  • Costs: The total catering costs were 959,93 EUR (bill by Motto Catering, April 24 2019), which were paid via the OSGeo credit card (-> Treasurer/Mike).

Total requested amount from the upcoming OpenGeoScience budget: 2563 USD

Proposed Payment Method
  • No seed money required
  • All catering expenses (ca. 2000 USD) can be charged on the OSGeo Credit Card (as since 2014) before and after the event.
Support by OSGeo
  • Finacial support
  • Use of Logos
  • Volunteers: Preparation phase, event hosting, presentations during the event (-> OpenGeoScience Committee).


  • 2022-12: Peter Loewe informs ESSI that he is not able to carry on as main lead for OSGeo THs
  • 2022-12: TH budget requested from OSGeo Board as part of Open Geospatial Budget
  • 2023-01: Alessandro Frigeri volunteers to take over leading role for TH
  • 2023-01-xx: Townhall has been requested from Copernicus by PL.
  • 2023-01-xx: Townhall has been accepted
  • TODO: Update of Townhall abstract
  • TODO: Three weeks before event: Caterer was asked for a quotation for 50 pax
  • TODO: 10 days before the event: Caterer was asked to reduce quotation for 30 pax
  • TODO: 9 days before event (a bit late): OSGeo treasurer Mike was contacted to authorize credit card access
  • TODO: 3 days before event: Flyers / Pointers produced
  • TODO: 2 days before event: Slidesets (OSGeo / OpenPlanetary) ready, speakers confirmed
  • TODO: 8 hours before event: Flyers distributed / personal invites to interested parties
  • TODO: 1 hour before event: Pointer-signs placed on walls, room inspection, etc.
OSGeo-related events at EGU GA 2023
  • ESSI
  • Early Career Scientists
  • Data Helpdesk
  • Planetary and Solar System Science
  • Solar-Terrestrial Science
  • Hydrology ?
  • Tectonics ?
  • Workshops ?
  • Great Debates ?
Reach Out

Reach out to DLR, NASA, ESA, etc.

Points of contact:

  • WHO: AGU Planetary Sciences Section: Rosaly Lopes, AGU Section President, Planetary Sciences
  • PL: Dawn Wright, ESRI
  • WHO: EGU ESSI division
  • PL: EGU Data Helpdesk 2023

Mailing lists:


EGU Announcement Poster / Flyer


Meeting with local OSGeo/OSM chapter and activists


Presentation slides (INCOMPLETE)
Pictures 2023


20170117: 2250 EUR have been requested as part of the Open GeoScience Committee budget 2019.

Last years Lessons Learned

  • Avoid conflicts with Medal Lectures ! This year, the TH coincides with the ESSI Medal Lecture for Kerstin Lehnert. ESSI medal 2018
  • Sync timeslots with Research Software Engineer TH.
  • Avoid time conflicts with ECS great debates !
  • Plan for a meeting with the austrian OSGeo community ahead in time (4-6 weeks).
  • Paper-based information material is becoming deprecated for reach out before the TH.
  • Personally handed over printed invitations (business card size or slightly larger) still do work.
  • A "swag-store" for OSGeo-Stickers and badgets works well AT the TH
  • Bring a large banner to be hung in front of the room
  • EGU doesn't do MoU like AGU.
  • EGU has already a large number of medals, like the [[1]ESSI medal] which is already sponsored by ESRI - they will currently NOT yet another medal by OSGeo.
  • Advertise well ahead on social media (LinkedIn, Facebook, etc.), via OSGeo mailing lists, OSGeo webpage (news item) and related communities, like RDA, FORCE11, codemeta, etc.

Opportunities for 2023 (Lessons learned from 2019)

  • The ESSI division is changing its overall approach. OSGeo should play a prominent role in the discussions.
    • OSGeo could sponsor a dedicated session in ESSI or cross-division.
    • OSGeo could sponsor a price / (lunch-)event /session for early career scientists
    • EGU intends to introduce a "data helpdesk" in 2019 or later, similar to the one introduced by AGU in 2017: OSGeo folks could participate by giving advice on particular software tools ("Ask a guru") - this would provide much more flexibility than normal EGU workshops, since it would be driven by real world questions of the attendees.

Execution (OUTDATED)

Outcome 2019

  • 20 persons attended and left their email-adresses (Nations: Great Britain, Netherlands,Austria, Czechia, Germany, Italy, Switzerland, Denmark, Namibia)
  • Catering was downsized for 30 pax, still plenty
  • A quick show of hands received equal votes for keeping it as an evenin event, a lunch event, or undecied.

Lessons learned from TH 2019

  • This year four "open themed" THs were held in parallel. This is really an issue. While it's good to see that "open" THs have picked up, the scheduling forces an unnecessariy XOR priorisation by the attendees. Need to talk to EGU/Copernicus about this (todo: PL).
  • Paper-based hand outs/invites do still work, but because of the sheer number of attendees and the size of the value this does not carry far.
  • Preemptive email-announces on mailing lists and twitter(?) seem to be much more effective.
  • Make the presentations colorful & impressive.
  • "Pointer signs" help to shuffle the attendees in the right room.
  • TODO: Archive templates for Pointer Signs, Presentaions, and which mailing lists to be used in 2020.
  • Sync with Research Software Engineers and other "open" THs well before EGU 2020.
  • Do NOT order platters of food at Esterhazykeller for post-event get-togethers: It's way too much food and not cheap (bill was not charged on OSGeo, of course).
  • Flag the event explicitly as "ECS-friendly" in the EGU-CMS.
  • Do reach out to the ESRI booth staff
  • Avoid timeslot collisions with:
    • Early career scientist events
    • Anything hosted by Kerstin Lehnert, Peter Fox,Lesley Weybourne, Jens Klump or Kirsten (GFZ)
    • ESSI medal lectures
    • Other "open/FAIR"-themed THs
    • Research Software Engineer THs
  • Advertise the event at earlier ESSI sessions that day, including the ESSI Division meeting
  • Advertise ahead of EGU on the ESSI blog.
  • TH events at AGU GA are not necessarily as prohibitively costly as expected: Events at a hotel suite with alcoholic beverages ARE excessively expensive, but the AGU POCs (Shelley/Brooks) should be able (if contacted early) to help to get a room for a gathering.
  • The ESSI medal is financially supported by ESRI, which receives due recognition and mentioning at the annual division meeting. Since EGU has is discouraging ideas for new medals, OSGeo could consider new ways to provide some funding support for the division to get public recognition: A price for ECS doing innovative software ?