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Why go to FedGeoDay 2016?


On October 13th, the 3rd annual FedGeoDay conference will run. For completeness, the series had a bit of a break before starting up again in 2015.

Who is speaking?

This conference series is a very interesting one, in my opinion, as it features a number of talks by people working for U.S. Government agencies. This includes: NASA, NGA, DoT, FCC, EPA, Army Corps of Engineers, Census, and much more.

It also features top talent from organization such as Boundless, Azavea, Cesium, MapStory, Red Cross, AppGeo, OpenSensorHub, Hobu, Sand Hill Geographic, DigitalGlobe, and more.

Speakers at FedGeoDay are sharing their expertise, lessons learned, best practice, important perspectives on policy, and more. All of this is around a central theme of open source software and open data use in government.

So why go to FedGeoDay?

Geospatial technology is becoming ubiquitous. At the same time, it is an area of rapid innovation. The FedGeoDay program is designed to cover both areas.

You will hear about successful deployments, the best practice for policy, as well as the latest highly innovative research. You will meet experts and other practitioners.

This conference is also a lot of fun. It has a unique atmosphere that is very supportive, enthusiastic, and open to great ideas for getting things done.

Participating is one of the best way to learn about what these agencies are doing, and meet experts.  Talk to them, learn crucial skills to benefit your career, network with your peers and share your experiences.

I’ll be there, and I would love to see you there too!

What is LocationTech?

This is an article I wrote a while back and was published elsewhere. I wanted it published here too. I am one of the Founders of LocationTech. These are my words and perspective on what LocationTech is. Thank you for your time and attention to read it. –Andrea




Simply stated, LocationTech is a community of people who care about place.
Each participant brings their own unique inspiration. After travelling the world and hearing their stories, I’ve decided the strong common value is to help society be the best it can be. What does this mean?

Each perspective is unique. I have heard smart and passionate people talk about better urban planning, better stewardship for nature, better safety and security, pursuing knowledge, advancing the state of the art, teaching & learning skills, entrepreneurs & intrapreneurs building their businesses, people who just want to tell a story, and more. These ideas give us purpose. We would strive for them no matter the tools and technologies we have.

While we would strive for them no matter, better tools and technologies make it easier to achieve our goals. Collaborating helps us do more, faster, better, and with less risk.

There are practical aspects to the group like great geospatial software under open source licenses, collaborative infrastructure, good governance, intellectual property review services for the software and data, great events around the world, warm camaraderie & networking, challenging but rewarding internships, and more. These things are wonderful, but they don’t bind the community together. What unites us are the desires to collaborate and to do so under the same model.

The software libraries at LocationTech provide fundamental implementations of data types, algorithms, indexing, data management, and similar features that enable more complex operations. These components underpin everything built on top of them.

Technology change has created an inflection point for geodata. Mobile devices, social media, retail transactions, and more generate a tremendous amount of data. The volume, variety, and velocity of data is ever increasing. The high performance geoprocessing services enable orders of magnitude faster processing velocity and storage capacity. These services change the rules of what can be done.

Data has become crucial. A considerable amount of geodata is commodity. This is to say that it is not a source of competitive advantage if it does not differ from organization to organization. Collaboration based on a common pool of data makes sense. The data commons is a new initiative for sharing open data.

Tools to provide distributed and intelligent version control allow for mobile devices that have just the right data, but can update it based on context or to incorporate updated information. Flexible and easy to use version control features enable useful multi-directional workflows.

The visualization components turn data into rich user interfaces. While they do often enable maps, they also enable models, charts, graphs, and others. They do so on mobile devices as well as other platforms. The off-line abilities of the mobile libraries, combined with version control allow much greater flexibility.

Each of the components can be used alone, or together to develop more complex systems. They can be built into proprietary or open solutions. Collections of components help can be used to unite big data on the server with small data on mobile devices. They enable rich & intuitive user interfaces and help solve interesting problems.

This is what we need to achieve our purpose and to help society be the best it can be. This is LocationTech, and everyone is welcome.

Incredible program FOSS4G NA 2016

For those that don’t already know, FOSS4G North America 2016 is running in Raleigh on May 2-5, 2016. It runs at the beautiful and spacious Raleigh Convention Center in the heart of downtown Raleigh. It’s a great location, within walking distance to innumerable restaurants, bars, shops, and more. The weather that time of year in Raleigh is gorgeous.

If you have not been to a FOSS4G NA yet, it is one of the better geo events of the year. The atmosphere is warm and welcoming to everyone. People are happy to share ideas for the cool stuff they’re doing, and hear about what you’re up to. As you’d expect, there’s a strong focus on web mapping, GIS, and such. The industry has changed, and so you’ll also see talks on drones, microsatellites, spatial features in big data technologies like spark/accumulo/hbase/cassandra, IoT software working with sensors, libraries for augmented reality and amazing mobile applications, and 3D rendering. This is just a small taste. The best part about this conference is the really great people there.

The 2016 program was just announced, and it’s so strong. This year, the response to the call for proposals resulted in an avalanche of really excellent proposals. The committee did a fantastic job of evaluating them, voting on them, and crafting a program. If you’re interested in checking it out, the list of talks is available here.

It was my pleasure to help organize it again this year. I’m looking forward to it, and I’m certain it will be a lot of fun. Hope to see you in Raleigh! By the way, the early bird registration deadline is Tuesday, March 1, 2016.

Time to decide on FOSS4G NA 2017

As many of you know, FOSS4G NA is an important annual conference for a number of communities, projects, and initiatives. OSGeo & LocationTech are two of the well known Foundations participating, but FOSS4G NA spans well beyond both.

In 2015, a number of people participated in crafting governance for FOSS4G NA. Following that governance, the core committee (see below), is working on making a decision regarding FOSS4G NA 2017.

The key decision for the short term is whether FOSS4G NA 2017 should be held in 2017. FOSS4G Global will be held in Boston in late August (IIRC), so the decision is not as simple as it would have otherwise been.

Discussion is taking place on the FOSS4G NA selection mailing list. All are invited to participate.

For context:

  • FOSS4G NA has grown into a good sized conference in its own right, and keeps growing. The next one is taking place May 2-5, 2016 in Raleigh North Carolina. FOSS4G NA has done some things differently than global such as free passes for speakers, registration discounts for committers, and and more.
  • In other regions, the regional conferences have run in the same year as FOSS4G Global with no serious issues noted. It is likely FOSS4G NA could run anywhere other than the North-eastern United states, and both it and FOSS4G Global in Boston would succeed.
  • A few groups have expressed some interest in FOSS4G NA 2017 being hosted in their region including San Francisco and Ottawa. It is now time to decide if we proceed with NA 2017, or not.

As per the FOSS4G NA governance, the committee consists of:

  • 3 past chairs of FOSS4G NA (Currently: Eddie Pickle, David Bitner, Rob Emanuele)
  • 1 representative for OSGeo (Currently: Mark Lucas)
  • 1 representative for LocationTech (Currently: Jim Hughes)

Sarah Cordivano (chair 2016), will soon join the FOSS4G NA core committee as Eddie Pickle (chair 2012) retires from it.

For those interested, the kinds of things the committee is looking for in a place to host FOSS4G NA are:

  • Good flight links nationally.
  • Appropriate sized venue (500-700 people).
  • A choice of accommodations at various price points.
  • Economical price point for the conference venue.
  • Active community in the region.
  • Downtown location near many points of interest is a big plus.

Just 4 days until the FOSS4G NA deadline

Dear Everyone,

For those interested in open source geospatial technologies and open data, you will want to take a look at the FOSS4G NA 2016 conference. This conference runs May 2-5 at the Raleigh Convention Center in Raleigh, North Carolina.

If you are working with data that has a location component to it, this conference is a really good one to learn about some truly excellent technologies, techniques, and initiatives. It’s a great place to meet with experts in this field who are keen to share their thoughts with you and each other, and learn about what you are doing.

The conference features talks about popular technologies such as PostgreSQL, PostGIS, Leaflet, QGIS, Cesium, GeoServer, GRASS, GDAL/OGR, and many others. Leading big data & container technologies such as Spark, Hadoop, Accumulo, HBase, Docker, and others are prominently featured in talks from the GeoMesa, GeoTrellis, GeoWave, and other projects. If you are interested in learning about kite, drone, balloon, and microsatellite mapping, this is a great conference for you. Learn how to version control your data and share it with others using GeoGig. All of this is just a taste to communicate what a great conference this is.

FOSS4G NA is also a really warm and welcoming conference to everyone. At last year’s conference in Burlingame (near San Francisco), it was really great to see so many women speaking and participating. In my opinion, the proportion of women to men was much better balanced than many other similar conferences and made for a better conference as a result.

For those doing interesting work, you may consider proposing a talk to share your ideas. The deadline for the call for proposals is due on Monday, February 8th. To submit, visit the CfP page. Speakers who have their talks accepted will receive a free full access pass!!

For those planning to attend, you’ll save money if you register by February 26th.

There are scholarship grants for those that might benefit from them. The deadline for applying is February 8th.

Hope to see you there!


Sneak peek at FOSS4G NA 2016 Pricing

Dear Everyone,

For those interested in FOSS4G NA 2016, it runs May 2nd to 5th in Raleigh, North Carolina, U.S.A.. This post is intended to be helpful for budgeting purposes, as many of you are doing budget planning for 2016.

Registration will open early in the new year. Here’s a bunch of hopefully helpful notes about registration in the meantime.

Oh, and the Call for Proposals is now open. You may be interested to learn that:

  • The first speaker on each talk will receive a free full access pass!!
  • The first two workshop speakers for each workshop will receive a free full access pass!!
  • We will also be offering a limited supply of scholarships for people that need them. More on this soon

There are a variety of passes for FOSS4G NA 2016. We anticipate being able to hold pricing the same as FOSS4G NA 2015. Here’s a synopsis so you can plan ahead:

  • Full access – 4 days, $800 early, includes all workshops and sessions, plus receptions
    we’ll offer a special $100 discount to alumni who participated last year and to project committers for OSGeo or LocationTech projects.
  • sessions only – 3 days, $600 early, includes everything except workshops
  • non corporate pass – 4 days, $500 always (doesn’t go up), includes all workshops and sessions, plus receptions. This pass is only for those people whose organizations are not reimbursing them.
  • student pass – 4 days, $400 always (doesn’t go up), includes all workshops and sessions, plus receptions.
  • theme day pass – 1 day, $200 for the day (doesn’t go up), only provides access to the theme days and keynotes (i.e. PGDay, Web Mapping day, or Big Data Day.)
  • Exhibits only – 4 days, but limited to exhibits, $150 (doesn’t go up), Does not provide access to sessions & lunch is not included.

Addendum: Some people have asked if pricing goes up as we get closer to the event and especially if people register on site. Yes, it does. Please do register early and save yourself some money.

FedGeoDay 2015!

FedGeoDay is returning on Thursday, October 15th. This one day conference takes place in Washington D.C. at the Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company. Tickets are just $79 and include lunch, beverages, snacks, and an evening reception. I’ll be there, and hope to see some of you there also.


Where do YOU want to go for FOSS4G NA 2016

You may recall we recently designed and implemented a new governance model for FOSS4G NA. Thank you once again to the large team of people who participated in that.

Over the past weeks, we bootstrapped the model for FOSS4G NA 2016. We have created a RFP for venues to host the conference and received a great response. With much effort we were able to find two especially great options for the conference. They are the DoubleTree in downtown Philadelphia, and the convention center in downtown Raleigh.

We’d like to ask you where you’d like to go. Please take a moment to complete this short survey here:

crashing ipads keep planes from taking off

I read a story about ipads crashing causing American Airlines pilots to be grounded. This reminded me about a topic I’ve been thinking & talking about lately.

The software and data underpinnings for much of modern society have evolved to be very complex. I can’t help but notice that this often makes modern life brittle. We depend on systems working well together and getting the right data at just the right time. When they don’t, we have a bad day.

In some cases it’s just inappropriate and ridiculous use of technology… why the heck does my fridge need internet access?! In many other cases, R&D is rushed, done poorly, and contributes to a more brittle world.

Rather than low acquisition costs (free as in a puppy!), here’s where I think the main advantage to open source resides. There’s nothing intrinsically more secure or robust about open source. However, if you can collaborate with others, and figure out common components that each of you can build upon, then it opens the door to a large and vibrant ecosystem of collaborators. Such a community enables sharing the costs, risks, and benefits from those components. As those components get more and more widely adopted, issues are more likely to be found and can be fixed quickly. This helps keep the forces compelling a brittle world at bay.

Shiny new FOSS4G North America Governance

A little over a month ago, I posted to share details of an effort to create governance for how FOSS4G North America (NA) is run. The governance includes things like how the site & venue are selected, how the chair is selected, and how decisions are made.

On behalf of the team, we would encourage you to take a look. We’re hoping to resolve all feedback by end of today, April 29, 2015.

Huge gratitude to the large team of people who worked on this over the last month and a bit!

And please stay tuned regarding FOSS4G North America 2016… if all goes well, and our process works as well as we hope, there should be an announcement soon.