Notes from the SotM and FOSS4G

Well I'm at office and I imagine is a good time to try to recap my experience at SotM and FOSS4G events.I arrived at Denver on September 8, the day before SotM started and just a few minutes after I checked in at the hotel I met César Medina, a good friend from Chile with I was lucky to spent the next days, as I travelled alone this time from Spain.

The State of the Map is the main annual conference of the OpenStreetMap project. There, people from very different backgrounds show their new projects or experiences around the OpenStreetMap data and technology. 

I attended the "business session" but was in fact a mixed session of companies showing their products with another session more education focused. We had also a nice session by Daniel Kastl (Georepublic) about the issues at Japan about geocoding because of the different ways to express addresses. At the afternoon we went to a baseball game, less boring than I expected, indeed (thanks to some beers and so good company). 

Coors Field

My second day at SotM was mostly dedicated to attending the lightning talks. I really enjoyed them and I think is a very good format for this kind of conferences, having just 10 minutes to tell your story is great to enforce people to focus on the important stuff they want to tell. I imagine a conference full of lightning talks with some time for demos and more time to discuss openly, it would be more interesting for attendants, isn't it?

I wasn't able to attend the last day a I was at the OpenGeo first partner meeting where we discussed about OpenGeo suite and how to find the way to convince to our customers to adopt free software supported by professional services.

During Talks at SotM11

And then the FOSS4G. I won't surprise anyone saying that for me it is the best geospatial conference of the year by many reasons. The first is because I can meet friends and highly skilled experts from all parts of the world. An then you have an amazing program full of workshops, tutorials and sessions. It's really difficult to choose what to see: should I go to this new node.js thing or go the always great FrankW session about fine tuning GDAL, or should I go to see what this GeoMoose is all about?


Technically speaking, the buzz words in my opinion maybe were

  • PostGIS 2, we will be 10cm higher with all the new features are coming
  • node.js and server side scripting in general, javascript behind your servers, can you imagine that 5 years ago?
  • WPS, finally that standard seem to be mainstream, probably helped by the scripting features before mentioned
  • 3D globes, mainly with WebGL related sessions, but also with the nice presentations by our friends from igo software and La Laguna university

Regarding the exhibitors, well I really didn't gave a lot of attention to them, except a little bit of staying around the OSGeo booth (less than I should in fact).


And finally the social events, well I only went to the gala dinner that was fine and on a nice place, the Denver Modern Art Museum where we visited an exhibition of western paintings while chatting on geo-geekery. There were also a reception and a lot of beers and night partying but I was quite busy and tired so I didn't did a lot of "social networking" at night.

In fact there was another kind of social event, well it was in a session, but Geoglobaldomination The Musical probably was a mix of both. Set up by Iván Sánchez, co-starring with Schuyler Erle and Kate Chapman with Jeff McKenna as an special guest, we had all a lot of fun with their performance. You should check it and judge by yourself.


Even travelling alone from Spain, I enjoyed this FOSS4G as all the previous I have had the luck to go. It's always a great conference to learn and share all the new projects and experiences from the last year, as well as meet the good fellows from OSGeo, all the other projects and companies. The feeling of participating on a big great community is strong, even when the event has evolved from Lausanne and the variety of people backgrounds is increasing.

Next year FOSS4G will be at Beijing, I can't say if I'll be there but for sure someone from Prodevelop will attend.



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