Conferences and Exhibitions, GIality

AGI and FOSS4G 2013

Geospatial Conference Season

September, or Maptember as it was termed this month, was open season for geospatial conferences – and in more ways than one.
Earlier, the Open Street Map ‘State of the Map’ was held in Birmingham and there were at least 10 other events nationally. For Linknode it was a return to Nottingham in 2013 for a double-bill of the Association for Geographic Information (AGI) GeoCommunity conference and exhibition, followed by the Free and Open Source for GIS (FOSS4G) gathering. Both at the East Midlands Conference Centre.

AGI GeoCommunity
The API this year was branded ‘Open for Business’ – a great name if ever there was one. However it was not apparent from the keynotes or presentations that I saw where the emphasis on either ‘open’ or ‘business’ was. I was struck, walking around the exhibition how little innovation there seems to be in “GIS” at the moment and every stand appeared to be another variant on a web mapping platform – mostly from proprietary vendors. Sure there are more Cloud-based services and Nokia’s “here” maps were a welcome addition but I feel that 25 years on from The Chorley Report, and with the AGI reaching it’s own quadranscentennial milestone next year, the AGI needs to demonstrate that GIS is a significantly innovating industry.

The last FOSS4G conference I attended was in Cape Town in 2008 and the most significant difference from then (apart from the weather, African culture, oceanic port city and Table Mountain) was the growth in attendees. Almost 900 came from around the world to the UK where Steven Feldman formally opened proceedings on Thursday morning.
This was no British AGI meeting! Within minutes there were hats, profanities and karaoke with a really up-beat attitude and positivity. It was difficult to believe it was the same “industry” (discuss) as the previous day.
But Open is still Business and with statistics running into the hundreds of billions of Euro saved by the use of Open Source in Europe, with over half of Europe (by GDP or population) mandating the use of Open Source in legislation and with an evidently active and proactive community we are glad to be part of.

Linknode are involved in Open in many ways:

  • Open Source Development – code contributions and sponsorship of projects
  • Creation of OSGeo Solutions – on platforms (MapGuide, FDO, CS-Map)
  • Newsgroup and Discussion Forum – submissions and responses
  • Testing – early release adoption for validation
  • Development Platforms – Xamarin underpins our mobile development
  • Use of OS OpenData – creating economic value from Ordnance Survey GB data

We will be publishing a link to the presentations in due course.

Update: (2 October 2013)
Downloads are now available (as a shortened version of the live presentation without video) on the Linknode resources page.