FOSS4G 2010 in Barcelona

FOSS4G  ConferenceThat’s it. I have been to my first FOSS4G conference.  It has been great days. A lot of interesting talks and presentations, and most important, to meet many of the people you otherwise only know by mail.

For the presentations, I have mainly focused on PostGIS related stuff, but being at FOSS4G conference makes you realize how wide the FOSS4G world is. Now, at home I have also opened the LiveDVD and realize it will take quite a while to browse all all the software included.

Me and Marc Jansen from Terrestris held a presentation about WYTIWYS and postgisonline, two web based applications to show the result of a spatial query presented as a map. There were more people attending our presentation than I had expected since it was at the same time as the presentation of the WMS benchmark. I think we had over 100 persons in the audience. The tutorial I used during the presentation can be found here: It is nothing fancy at all, just a try to show most of the functionality in a few minutes. I think the presentation slides will be published too on the website of the conference.

The talk that left me with the strongest impression was not a technical talk. It was a talk of Schuyler Erle with the title “How Crowdsourcing Changed Disaster Relief Forever”. He told us about how Open Street Maps was used during the rescue work after the earth quake on Haiti in january 2010. He told us how people built up the Open Street Maps from almost nothing to a very detailed and usable tool in a very short time after the quake. His point was that the work of those volunteers creating the map from aerial imagery together with open source software like PostGIS, Openlayers and so on made a very big difference. The Open Street Maps was preferred over other alternatives for quality reasons.

When I sat on the plenary sessions with all the attendees in the same room it struck me what an enormous amount of GIS knowledge and competence that was gathered at the same place. Many of the well known names in open source GIS were gathered and covered together a much wider field than any proprietary software conference can cover.

Next year the FOSS4G conference will be in Denver and I really hope it will be possible for me to attend.

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