Event Management

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This page covers everything to do with events: how Marketing manages events for OSGeo, what resources it can provide, what the "Event Owner" should do, etc. Please scan this page but don't take it as a must-happen at all. Every serious presentation of OSGeo is good for our visibility, no matter how involved the process to get there has been.

Event Listing Service

Working copies of all events that are currently in the OSGeo pipeline can be found in the Events Category. Once stabilized and approved they can be added to the OSGeo Portal Calendar on request so they appear on the front page. Generally speaking, this list will contain a link to the event's website and a link to the corresponding page in this Wiki for organizing OSGeo's participation.

Please read how to Propose New Events with OSGeo participation.

Types of Events and Types of Participation

OSGeo may choose to participate in a number of different kinds of events:

  • GIS conferences or tradeshows
  • regional GIS events
  • open source conferences
  • academic conferences
  • ...

In some cases, event organizers will come to us, explicitly asking OSGeo to participate; in other cases, Marketing will call for someone to help out with an event we've heard of; in still other cases, OSGeo members may come to Marketing with a proposal to participate in an event. All three cases are welcome. Marketing will typically request for someone to "own" the event, and then work with that person (or group) to help put things together.

OSGeo's participation at an event can cover several possible levels of involvement, such as:

  • providing keynote speakers or panelists
  • hosting an open source BOF / interest group
  • running an "open source" track or session
  • supplying and staffing an OSGeo booth

Marketing's Role

With hardly a handful of volunteers the Marketing Committee does not have the resources or bandwidth to manage participation at many events that OSGeo might want to participate in. So please consider joining Marketing and please do not "request" things from Marketing, it is frustrating to reject so many requests.

Marketing can help to provide the following, as required:

  • publicizing the event (via our mailing lists, etc)
  • providing support for collateral: brochures, handouts, etc
  • finding people to help out at the event
  • providing T-shirt support
  • helping to arrange for speakers, presenters, etc
  • helping with media (press) relations

Event Owner

All larger event must have a single point of contact within OSGeo, someone willing to work with Marketing and take responsibility for coordinating all the myriad details required for a successful event. This includes running a booth, in this case the Event Owner would ideally have some experience in helping to coordinate a similar such event in the past, is local to the event venue, and/or is involved somehow with event's overall program committee or organizers. None of these criteria is actually required, however -- the real qualification is a desire to get the OSGeo message out and meet new people. (Helping to participate in an event like this is a great way to make new contacts, meet VIPs in our industry, etc.)

Ultimately, Marketing's interest in getting OSGeo to participate in events is for one or more of the following reasons:

  • spreading the Free and Open Source Software message in general
  • publicizing our Open Source projects
  • getting new members
  • attracting new sponsors
  • ...

Proposing Participation at an Event

This is easy! First create a new page in this Wiki with the name and year (if applicable) of the event like in [[FOSS4G 2006]] and add your name to it. The new page should contain information such as:

  • what the event is
  • where and when it takes place
  • how will our participation help OSGeo

This makes you the initial "Event Owner". Please send an email to the Marketing Mail List with the link to the new page and a few words why you think that OSGeo should be involved and whether you can organize things responsibly. Marketing will evaluate whether the event can be supported through funding. This formal step is required because the Foundation has an obligation to make sure that the OSGeo name and brand is used in a professional manner and is associated with events that further our goals and principles. If VisCom can afford to support the event you can have brochures, presentations and all the help we can provide. Please understand that VisCom's resources are also limited.

Before the Event: Planning

Prior to the event, these are the some of the things that the event owner should do/think about/etc:

  • find other volunteers to help out (what other members are local to the area, or are planning to attend?)
  • are any free passes available? (these are good to incentives for potential volunteers)
  • what opportunities for speakers are available? VisCom can help find people for:
    • panels
    • keynotes
    • lightning talks
  • do you need a booth? (if so, talk to VisCom to see what we can do)
  • do you need T-shirts? (generally, every volunteer should get a shirt; also, have some extras for VIPs at the event, such as a conference organizer, major keynoter, etc)
  • what collateral (brochures, etc) do you need? ask VisCom to see what is available
  • can you arrange to host a BOF/interest group session one evening? if the conference doesn't have a formal BOF process, can you arrange to get a dozen people together at the hotel bar for an hour?

Use your event wiki page to keep all the planning information together.

During the Event

Once the event gets going, things get very busy very fast. But, keep the following in mind:

  • do you have sufficient collateral, or will you need to run out and print more?
  • interview requests from the press (magazines, bloggers, podcasters, etc) are not uncommon
    • be prepared to be put on the spot, and/or have a designated press liason to handle this
    • report nontrivial press contacts, such as interviews, to VisCom (so we can track and follow up)
  • feel free to ping the rest of the OSGeo gang "back home", by email or IRC, if you get into a jam and need help with something; we will invariably cheering you on from the sidelines
  • keep track of important contacts you make, such as possible sponsorship opportunities, major players looking to use open source, etc

After the Event

  • write up a trip report ("after action report") of the event, post it to the wiki page; report might include:
    • what questions occurred frequently?
    • what collateral was useful? what was missing?
    • what press contacts did you have, if any?
    • should OSGeo participate in the event again next year?
    • etc
  • make sure you publically and privately thank all the volunteers
  • be sure and follow up with any "important" contacts you made (or ask some other more appropriate OSGeo member do so)

After the event has ended, be sure to change the Category Tag to [[Category:Past Events]]!.