Getting the program together for WhereCamp5280

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Peter Batty

Aug 4, 2009, 11:39:42 AM8/4/09
to WhereCamp5280
Hi all,

Thanks for your interest in WhereCamp5280. We have close to 40 people
signed up already and various others registered as "interested" - so
we think we should have well over 50 and may well be close to 100. As
well as a great variety of local geo gurus, we have several
distinguished visitors from out of town, including OpenStreetMap
Founder Steve Coast, uber geo blogger James Fee, and OSGeo Executive
Director Tyler Mitchell.

At a typical unconference, we spend the first hour or so constructing
the agenda as a group - people volunteer topics they would like to
present on or lead a discussion about. To make the most of our time,
we'd like to kick off this process ahead of time using the Google
Group, so we have at least some of the agenda filled out. Apart from
saving time on the day(s), this will have the additional benefit of
encouraging more people to attend, especially those who haven't
attended an unconference before and are a bit unsure about the whole
thing. If they can see some examples of the interesting content and
cool speakers we have this will help! It will also help encourage more
and better presentations I think.

So please go to the "potential talks" page and add one or more topics
that you would be willing to talk about or lead a discussion on. The
format is very flexible. Currently we nominally have 45 minute
sessions, but we can change this as a group if it makes sense. We have
also discussed the idea of having some sessions of 5 minute
presentations, which a lot more conferences are doing these days and I
think that format is good. In a 45 minute session you could do a
presentation anywhere from 15 to 40 minutes, and lead into discussion.
Or I've been to some good sessions where it's just an informal
discussion with no presentation - for example at WhereCamp there was a
good one led by the Digital Mapping manager at Lonely Planet,
discussing what people are looking for from geospatial applications to
support travel.

Here are a few topics I would like to see covered, to kick things off:

Crowdsourced data - I am sure Steve Coast can give us an overview and
update on OpenStreetMap (OSM). I could give a version of the talk I
gave at the recent OSM "State of the Map" conference on Geodata
creation: past, present and future, which talks about how business
models for geodata have evolved and why crowdsourcing is such an
important step forward.

Cloud computing - we have several attendees including James Fee, Randy
George, Andrei Taraschuk and others who have experience running geo
applications in the cloud and I think this would be a good topic for
several short presentations and/or a panel/group discussion.

Web mapping platforms - we have a good cross section of attendees
using platforms from the "neogeography" world (Google etc), the open
source world (OpenLayers, GeoServer, etc), and the traditional GIS
world (ESRI etc) and it would be great to hear more about what
everyone is doing and the pros and cons of the platforms they are
using. And just to clarify, as we've had several questions about this
- we do encourage users of ESRI, Intergraph, Smallworld and other
"traditional GIS" platforms to come along and participate, this is not
just for "neogeographers" or open source fans.

Once we have more sessions proposed, we can decide whether we do some
of them as plenary sessions for the whole group (I think this is
likely to make sense for quite a few things), or whether we split into
multiple tracks. We have the flexibility to do either as we have one
large room that should hold everyone, and several smaller rooms.

So please respond to this discussion with your thoughts, and/or update
the likely talks page, and we can start to pull things together.
Please contribute, this is your unconference!

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