On 17th June 2020 the OSGeo:UK committee (of which I am part) hosted the FOSS4GUKOnline one day conference. We were helped on the day by a brilliant group of volunteers.
The conference comprised of three streams, names Nightingale (a reference to Covid!), Sentinel (a reference to Earth observation) and Mercator (a reference to mapping and GIS). There was also a ‘coffee bar’ stream for socialising. There were 8 different themes that categorised the presentations, and we had 40 speakers throughout the day. The statistic that blew us away though was that 1000 people registered from over 77 countries – amazing for something that started off being talked about as a local ‘in-person’ event, before the various lock-downs began.
The technology (Zoom) held up really well throughout the day, and I think people welcomed the fact that the talks were given in real time – rather than recorded beforehand, which some events are doing. One thing I think we might do differently in future, as organisers, is increase the opportunity for interaction between the speakers and attendees. Nervousness about allowing so many people into an open online forum (following reports of various platforms being hijacked by people sharing illegal and unpleasant content) meant that such interaction was minimised.
Overall the day was a great success, and I am proud to have been involved in organising it.
The conference website can be found here: https://uk.osgeo.org/foss4gukonline2020/
Videos of the presentations can be found here: https://www.youtube.com/c/FOSS4GUK/videos
If you are keen to find out more about open source software (particularly linked to Earth observation) please get in touch with me.