I go to my share of conferences, seminars and meetings. I think it’s part of keeping abreast of the community, technology, seeing colleagues, and making new contacts.
I always say, if there’s one conference that I make my best effort to attend, it’s the FOSS4G conference. Although the name has gone through a few iterations, I think the theme has generally been consistent: open source software for geospatial (I prefer the term geospatial, as oppossed to geo-informatics, GIS, geoscience, etc.).
Some of the things I enjoy are:
- Meeting the actual developers. Many of the developers attend this conference, and it’s a great chance to meet them in person, find out about future developments, or even ask them that burning question about line 642 in file gfoo.c
- The workshops: hands-on workshops are provided which are very useful. For example, I quickly learned PostGIS here and applied it the week after. The developers frequently give or hover these workshops, especially when it pertains to their software, so you can be sure that questions, no matter how complex, will be addressed
- The applications: it’s valuable to see presentations of projects which use FOSS4G approaches. Regardless of how simple you think your application/project/portal is, the fact that you have integrated these approaches is a great indication of your abilities, integration, and the tools used
- The community: last, but not least. The dynamics, the personalities, and the commitment and passion for this cause is exhilarating to see and be a part of
If you come from the open source software world, or have an interest in geospatial, or are a geospatial professional who’s curious about open source tools, technologies, the projects that use them, you’ll want to think about this conference.