Wednesday, 18 November 2009

Local Chapters and a Regional Conference

The Aust-NZ list is discussing what can possibly done next after FOSS4G this year. I am amused that they are ready for more less then a month after the conference - a real keen crew (or Perhaps Cameron finished that bottle of scotch Paul gave him). I am of course keen for more advocacy in the Australian region - and would really like to run more workshops and training courses. The initial response of the list has been to organise an outing to the pub in Melbourne and Brisbane!

Today I am attending the GeoLibre conference showing the opposite extreme to FOSS4G. A small local conference (small is around half the size of FOSS4G). From what I can see this is being a very effective tool in spreading the word and promoting OSGeo in the region.

Yesterday I mentioned the range of government types present at the conference; this is no doubt helped by the conference being located in capital of Brasilia. One thing I have not seen at this conference is row upon row of open laptops during the presentations; and so far I have only really talked shop with fellow presenters.

Edmar Moretti has helpfully posted a picture of the opening panel on georeferencing. I was invited to sit on this panel (in order to be available to talk about OSGeo) and only determined it was on georeferencing by listening to the translations coming through on a headset. I talked a little bit about Australia’s CRC-SI program and how the country is exploring the use of precession farming.

In the afternoon I had a chance to talk about PostGIS (my co-presenter Rafael was a bit too distracted by conference organisation so I ended up doing this one on my own). I must really thank both Paul Ramsey and his excellent talk at FOSS4G; and Simon Greener who’s guide to Oracle Spatial for PostGIS users was invaluable.

I had a couple of questions at the end of this presentation; mostly about the advent of raster support in PostGIS. The initial question was of course why? Which is a questions that I have no ready answer to - other then the fact that someone paid for it (and it is probably easier to manage via SQL?). In general modern file formats like ECW and JPEG2000 are pretty darn amazing and targeted to large rasters. The other question was of course any kind of reassurance that PostGIS can handle the vast amounts of information involved in capturing a country the size of Brasil.

This conference; and questions; really emphasis the requirement for local chapters on the ground to support the adoption of FOSS4G.

Today I am writing this as I watch a gvSig presentation; and am happy to see Sexante getting a mention. So far I am the only person with an open laptop and everyone else if very attentive (hopefully the language difference offers me an excuse in this respect). I have learned a bit more about the gvsig governance structure where groups around the world get “a vote” regardless of the size of their organisation. I am looking forward to gvSig graduating from the incubation process so I have a chance to review what they have done in this respect.

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