Open Source Computing and GIS in the UK

Travels in a digital world

Catching Up

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It’s funny how you can have a fairly quiet time of things, then suddenly everything happens in one week…

So Monday was the first Open Source GIS conference in the UK, affectionately known to it’s friends as OSGIS 2009. The event was sold out in advance (150 people) ,  and seemed to be well received, though it was hectic, with two streams and workshops going on through most of the day.  I quite enjoyed the quick-fire aspect of the talks, with most being limited to 15-30 minutes. Perhaps my favourite was from Rob Booth, who talked about using Open Source for Spire- the UK Department for the Environment, Food, and Rural Affairs’ (DEFRA)  SDI. While there were issues with scaling, the flexibility, response and community/developer support were all big plus points in choosing that solution. This is a good counter-example to bring up whenever anyone says that open source is just for the little guys.

We had the first AGM of the OSGeo UK local chapter after the conference, and many thanks to those hardy souls who stayed around for it. The main point of discussion was whether the chapter should become an ‘organisation’, in the voluntary sense, which would allow us to have a bank account and various useful things like that. We also discussed putting a bid together for FOSS4G in 2011, and decided that 2012 would be a better bet, it being Olympic year and all that. Mateusz had some really good points to make about using social networking to get people involved, and the idea of having informal get-togethers outside of the big conferences. So- we now have a linkedin group, a facebook group and some tools for helping people plan meetups will be following shortly. Lunch-time pub get-togethers were very popular. Can’t imagine why… join the groups though- the more the merrier!

So- to next year. Bigger, better, and shinier. There’s a date for OSGIS 2010 already, and plans are afoot to spread it over 1.5 days, with an afternoon of workshops either before the main event or after it. See you there!

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