Amazing openness

On the 8th and 9th March 2018 I attended the FOSS4G:UK conference in London.

This is a conference for promoting the great things that can be done using free and open source software for geospatial applications. It was organised by a great team of dedicated people on behalf of OSGeo:UK and was sponsored by a wide variety of organisations:

The talks and workshops were varied and very, very interesting. On day one I heard about Docker and microservices and how they apply to geospatial software, and a raft of talks on QGIS (plugins, core functionality, linking to PostGIS and mobile).  In the afternoon I gave a workshop on satellite image processing which was well attended and well received. There were one or two glitches here and there, but overall I was really pleased with how it worked out – this was the first workshop I’d delivered in 14 years! I’m quite keen to do a few more.

There was a very interesting keynote at the end of the day which looked at extracting roof types in Norway from aerial data using machine learning. On the second day there was a whole session on remote sensing which was a great thing to see. I attended a talk from the RSPB on the use of drones to collect data, before a four-person mini-session reporting on what the Defra EO CoE have been doing to create an impressive sounding platform for disseminating analysis ready data and more to the Defra family of organisations.

I had also wanted to go to Jo Cook’s workshop on the use of Git but due to the overlap between the sessions I had to give that a miss and opt for the Earth observation session instead. Luckily most of the talks and workshop materials are available online.

There was a great session after lunch on the second day which really summed up the fun and great sense of community that FOSS4G:UK created. Indeed, I’d say that this was one of the most friendly conferences I’ve been to in a long time. All the talks I saw, and especially those at the end of day 2, were engaging and informative and delivered with a palpable passion for open source and open data.

The final keynote was presented by Peter Batty and his closing thoughts are presented in the Tweet below:

A huge thanks to the organising committee, and to the volunteers, presenters and attendees for making this a brilliant event.