Tuesday 10 May 2011

FOSS4G Presentations Feedback

Planning what presentations to go to at FOSS4G is always difficult; how much more difficult to go through the extended dance remix of all the submitted presentations?

In the past the selection committee has often provided guidance to the selection process based on the conference themes. This year they committee did provide guidance to those submitting:
  • Case Studies (these are always popular; I find that reviewing the slides is good; but being there in peson for the Q&A session is usually the best part).
  • Benchmarks (You hardly need to attend these; just have twitter open; once again the Q&A session is usually the best part. I sure wish they would include "setup time" as a benchmark.)
  • Visualization (integration by eyeball - always a good choice)
  • Development (hard pressed to attend these myself; BOF is where the development action happens)
  • Hacks and Mashing (they should of just called this one "Fun")
  • Open Data and Collaboration (this is a tough one; you can either end up with something fun, or get stuck listening to policy discussions)
In general I find advice of this nature to be helpful - it gets me thinking about what makes an successful conference.

Surprisingly all of guidance vanished when the public was asked to rate presentations.

The rating system consisted of (with a few additions by me):
  • +2.0-means you are very interested in attending the presentation.
  • +1.0-means you are somewhat interested in attending the presentation.
  • +0.5-means you opened up the topic to see "more" detail
  • +0.0-means you are not interested in the presentation.
  • -0.5-means the opening sentence made you hunt around for a "less detail" button.
This is an amazing take on things; in particular the "filter" field; I would *love* to see a summary of what people filtered by! It did not always work for me; searching for "Jody" listed WPS Shootout, but not State of GeoTools.

A couple thoughts as I sift through the possibilities:
  • I found so many interesting presentations; stuck behind awkward titles. Even if I would like to go to these presentations; they would not make the conference a success (as people browsing the program during the conference will naturally skip over these).
  • What I am interested in attending so *so* not what is needed for a successful conference. Watching five presentations on WPS; where each spends 5 mins explaining the background of what WPS is hardly counts. I sure wish there was a little organisation to the rooms; so an intro to the topic could be covered by the details/success/case studies by each team.
  • There is a lot of pressure on this selection process; various project mailing lists have been asked to "vote for my proposal". This is really tough as often justifying attending the conference comes down to getting your proposal accepted.
  • I love finding new projects in this list that I have not heard of!
  • Interesting 52N submitting a presentation agains the "Open Geo-Stack". The company OpenGeo has an OpenGeo Suite; so either the hypen is in the wrong spot or we are going to have a bit of marketing trouble ahead. One down side to various stacks being constructed and branded is going to be confusion like this. As a customer having a stack that is tested will be great; however it does place an increased communication burden on all those involved.
  • Please don't being your description with "yet another XXX"
  • Many of the talks I would like to see are boring; ie they are focused on the details and open my mind to possibilities. It is much more exciting to see SDI wrapped up and polished for use; but I got tired of that a while ago. That goes double for securing OGC services.
  • Andrea is doing a great job of collaborating with members of the community that cannot make it to FOSS4G. Thanks Andrea!
  • Note when submitting a bunch of talks (in the hopes of getting one through) you have a chance of splitting your vote ... and not getting any in.
  • I always confuse MapBuilder and MapBender
  • It is a hard balance between presenting your company; and presenting your project. Always figured that is what renting a booth was about? (Or taking a BOF session out to dinner?)
  • GeoREST? Interesting examples from Nanaimo and Vancouver (I suspect Nanaimo is a right of passage for any geospatial technology these days; kind of like the teapot for 3D graphics)
  • Comparisons and gap analysis is always popular; I wish as much effort was spend filling in gaps.
  • really nice to see a presentation on adoption that talks about risk right up front.
  • A case study with "Getting the bugs out" in the title does not sound optimistic!
  • A fair number of case studies on making the migration from ESRI only solutions; I always advocate moderation (in terms of risk; not price) - but it is nice to see these presented as success stories
  • It is really nice to see small business (and small municipalities?) targeted with presentations - this is a market I am never really in position to help. Perhaps the "stacks" mentioned above will allow them to invest in open source?
  • Had never heard of "JackPine Geospatial Database Benchmark" before; wonder if they are allowed to publish Oracle results (or is it a case of run on your own hardware)
  • Please be careful if you are presenting any comparisons (especially on "compliance"). Communicate with the various communities (on their mailing list) before the conference. Even if it means adding a slide with "breaking news" at the last moment.
  • A really large number of INSPIRE based presentations for a confernece in the states?
  • A number of presentations on hydrology? Wish for a panel discussion instead.
  • GeoScript for WPS? That would be cool - really wish ZooWPS would adopt GeoScript (or at least compare notes, or head to head comparison)
  • There is a real difference between "dry" abstracts and those that sound fun or entertaining
  • A lack of standards "basics" being covered; will need to remember to do a talk like that next year
  • No tribes talk? That is the other nice general intro
  • So MongoDB gets a DataStore for GeoServer? But GPL keeps it from being donated back to GeoTools (for use in GeoMajas, uDig, 52N etc...). Still very cool to see the NoSQL database options being integrated
  • EduGIS gets it; a successful education outreach includes both software and leason plans
  • TinyWFS - finally some choice for WFS-T
  • So many security presentations; sure wish for a panel discussion
  • The difference between describing a talk as cartography vs Map design, usability and interaction is the difference between night and day.
  • Handy tip; only Java shops know the keywords "enterprise level" - everyone else just wants results. Still would be nice to see a Geomajas talk
  • Almost any talk on JTS is going to be amazing although it is really hard to communicate that. There are always a couple of talks where "the development teams" go to listen at each FOSS4G. There is that classic moment where the rest of the conference asks "where did they go?".
  • It would be great to talk to the OGC Schema guys; pushing JAXB way beyond its comfort zone
  • In this context do we really need to say PostgreSQL/PostGIS?
  • PostGIS 2.0 vs State of PostGIS?
  • Sigh! FOSS4G will be great this year!
If you do want to go to the extended dance remix of FOSS4G; join us on internet where the code lives :-)


Anonymous said...

Hey Jody,

wow, great review of the abstracts. You really hit the spot on a few things I was wondering about as well.


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