FOSS4G 2011 Denver Choose Denver

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Choose Denver for Mile High Success in 2011

Denver is the recognized hotbed for geospatial technology, and there’s no better city to reintroduce FOSS4G to the United States. The Local Organizing Committee and Conference Planners are invested in open source and geospatial technology. We will employ innovative programming, proven conference management, and streamlined budgeting, to break records and move open space forward at FOSS4G 2011.

Financial Success: Event Planning to Maximize the Bottom Line

The 2011 FOSS4G Conference will achieve financial success by focusing on several proven approaches to conference management. A detailed revenue and expense budget has been prepared to provide realistic financial guidelines and expectations. All budgeted costs have been carefully researched and documented and expenses incurred prior to and during the event will be closely monitored. Controlling expenses—especially unbudgeted expenses—is key to a successful conference bottom line.

Professional meeting planning and logistics management is not only key to financial success, it also assures that an event is viewed as a highly professional, top quality experience by attendees. The Denver Host Conference Committee proposes to partner with the Geospatial Information & Technology Association (GITA) to provide these services. A non-profit educational association headquartered in Aurora, CO, GITA is an acknowledged leader in the field of geospatial education. Since 1982, the association’s subject matter expertise has been enhanced by a core competence in meeting planning, logistics and customer service. GITA’s excellent international reputation for managing complex educational events and providing highly professional services to attendees and corporate sponsors, will ensure a very positive experience for all involved. Learn more about GITA at

In addition, the experience gained by organizing committees from prior FOSS4G Conferences has been thoroughly reviewed, digested, and incorporated into all aspects of this proposal. The preliminary conference budget is based upon a per attendee cost of US$ 595 for the conference and $100 for the workshops. This figure assumes that the same sponsorship levels of the previous FOSS4G Conference can be maintained. Attendee fees could be lowered if OSGEO or another party could guarantee a portion of the budget for sponsorships.

In summary, the projected net revenue from the 2011 FOSS4G Conference can be expected to exceed US $25,000 once all expenses have been paid.

Social Networking: A Successful Event for the Open Source Geospatial Community

The organizers of the 2011 FOSS4G Conference recognize that networking is an important part of a conference experience. Moreover, attendees simply want to enjoy themselves! The wide variety of venues for social networking available in the City of Denver will leave an unforgettable impression on FOSS4G attendees, whether they come from across town or overseas. Denver is a vibrant, enthusiastic, and energetic city, offering visitors and locals a wide variety of options in art, entertainment, culture, and adventure. These inherent attractions of Denver and the surrounding area will be combined to flavor the conference with the Spirit of the New West, providing a friendly and welcoming background against which attendees can renew old acquaintances and meet new friends.

Open Source Geospatial Education

A primary aim of the conference is, of course, open source geospatial education. As at previous conferences, this will be delivered in a number of different formats, including in-depth workshops, presentations, panels, and demonstrations in various formats. To make the most of the conference and deliver the most benefit to the community, these educational sessions need to cater to a number of different audiences. A core audience is the established open source technical community. This conference is the primary opportunity for members of the community to meet face to face, share information about interesting projects and developments, and exchange ideas. For this audience it is important to provide strong technical content, and for the conference to retain an informal, friendly, and fun atmosphere.

In order to meet the broader aims of OSGeo, including the wider promotion of open source geospatial software, it is also important to appeal to additional audiences. Two additional groups we intend to focus on attracting include existing (technical) geospatial technology users who are not currently using open source, and a group we might loosely call "management"—who have less of a technical focus, but who would benefit from learning about how the use of FOSS can benefit their organization. We recognize that there is a careful balance to be struck here, to make sure that the needs and expectations of the existing core open source community are met, in terms of content and "atmosphere", while expanding the types of attendee at the conference.

We believe that our LOC is sensitive to the needs of all these groups and can develop a conference which provides an outstanding experience for the core community, while significantly expanding attendance from these additional groups (which we will call "newcomers" and "managers" for the sake of brevity within this proposal). Providing education targeted at these two groups is also an important element of a second major aim of the conference, promotion of open source geospatial software, which is discussed more in the next section.

We will have pre-conference workshops aimed at both newcomers and managers, which can be attended as standalone sessions, or as a means to receive a good introduction and gain even more out of the main conference. We will also ensure that we have good categorization of sessions in the main conference, so it is easy for different groups of attendees to determine suitable sessions to attend. Categories might include "newcomers,” "managers," "ESRI users," etc.

All sessions will be required to have open source geospatial content. Although, we would plan to continue the approach used at previous conferences, which allows for presentations that cover a hybrid approach—combining open and closed source solutions. Indeed we would encourage this type of presentation to help with broadening the appeal of the conference to new users, who may have a strong interest in hearing about, for example, experiences of using PostGIS together with ArcGIS, or MapServer together with Oracle Spatial.

In terms of educational content, one area which we plan to have a major focus on is open geospatial data. As eloquently noted by Schuyler Erle in his lightning presentation at the 2008 conference (, (paraphrasing) free geospatial software is great but it's no use without data, so we as a community need more of a focus on free and open source data. We will ensure that the conference includes significant content on open data, by encouraging abstract submissions in this area, and soliciting participation as necessary. We will have at least one plenary session devoted to open data, which may be a panel session and/or a number of short presentations on data related topics. We will also consider either a data track running through the conference, or some sessions featuring multiple parallel presentations about data. Our LOC includes several members with extensive involvement in open data efforts, including Steve Coast of OpenStreetMap/Cloudmade, Sean Gorman of FortiusOne/GeoCommons, Eric Wolf of USGS, Bruce Raup of National Snow and Ice Data Center, and Ben Tuttle of the National Geophysical Data Center.

Open Source Geospatial Promotion

The Denver LOC believes there is substantial opportunity to leverage the FOSS4G conference as a powerful communication mechanism for OSGeo and the open source geospatial community. The background and experience of members of the LOC, together with the capabilities of GITA, will enable the Denver team to maximize this opportunity.

Some elements of this overlap with the educational mission of the conference—we plan to run a number of sessions specifically focused on geospatial technology users who are new to FOSS ("newcomers", as mentioned above). These would include half-day and/or one-day workshops at the beginning of the conference, which people could attend either as a standalone introduction to FOSS4G, independent of the main conference, or as a means to get more out of the main conference, by getting a fast track introduction to FOSS4G at the start. We would also aim to have some content targeted at "managers.” The local group FRUGOS (Front Range Users of Geospatial Open Source) has a program of local events on the theme of "Open Source Geospatial for Managers", which will be a good testbed for helping us develop strong content in this area for FOSS4G 2011. We also plan to video record sessions as much as practical. Our aim would be to record and make available all sessions online, but this will be subject to the ability to work out the logistics in a practical and cost-effective way. There are some good mechanisms for doing this today, and there will be many more options by Fall 2011. We will also consider live online broadcasts of some or all sessions as a mechanism for enabling broader participation in the conference (combined with Twitter or other similar technologies to enable active remote participation).

We will also look at ways of using conference presenters or presentation materials to produce more written materials, including success stories, which can be published on a conference (or other OSGeo) Web site, and used as a resource to help in sales and marketing of FOSS4G systems.