[Osmf-talk] Extended SotM 2015 announcement

Harry Wood mail at harrywood.co.uk
Sat Feb 28 21:04:42 UTC 2015

Message from the StateoftheMap Organizing Committee:

Dear all,

Following on from our recent announcement [1] that there will be no OSMF organised State of the Map (SotM) conference this year, we wanted to write to you to provide more information and set out our plan for the coming year.

The SotM working group comprises a group of volunteers who, out of their own good will, dedicate time to help organise each conference. From our first conference in 2007 we have worked each year to organise venues, accommodation, sponsors, catering, speakers and the conference programme guide, merchandise and the website – all that you have come to expect at an OpenStreetMap conference. Every year we have worked alongside our amazing local teams (from the host city) to ensure the success of SotM. We thank you for your support.

In the last few years a number of changes have occurred – we are now joined by local events such as SotM-US and SotM-EU, and due to changing priorities the number of permanent members in the SotM working group has declined. This was recognised as an area we had to address, and as such the SotM working group took on a number of new members in late 2014 including representation from local events.

One of the first decisions we made as a new team was to run parallel workloads – we knew we wanted to hold a conference this year, but we also recognised that there was a piece of work to be done in relation to where the OSMF organised conference now sits, its aims and its interactions with other events. This would be a challenge, but with our expanded team we were confident and knew we were capable.

Despite being later than we wanted with our call for bids to host SotM, we received two strong bids from Toronto and Venice. As a group we settled on Venice as our preferred option. The factors behind this was the closeness of Toronto to June's SotM-US event in New York and the fact that we had not been to central Europe in several years. This is not to say that the Toronto bid was weak – far from it, and we would love to see a conference held in Toronto in the coming years as there is clearly an ambitious OpenStreetMap community focused around the city.

The Venice team had already identified a venue, set out aims for their local community (including working with public agencies) and had started to look at accommodation and sponsorship options. The big issue to address was the date. The original bid had proposed the last week of May/first week of June. This caused two problems – it clashed with SotM-US and it didn’t give us the time we needed to ensure that the conference was a success. As such we asked the local team to look at pushing it back to September/October. Unbeknown to us the world fair “Expo 2015” has resulted in a severe lack of venue space and accommodation in northern Italy, including in Venice. Finding a suitable date and venue ultimately proved unachievable. Given the amount of time it takes to reissue a call for venues and organise a conference the SotM working group, in agreement with the OSMF board decided not to attempt a rushed conference and to focus on our other workload.

In the coming weeks we will work alongside the OSMF board to establish key principles for the future of SotM. These will reflect the role of SotM within the project and how the OSMF organised SotM relates to the various regional SotM events. We are also keen to get started on SotM 2016 and as such we will be opening the Call for Venues in March. This means that host cities can propose a conference date anywhere within 2016 - perhaps linked with other exciting events in your city. As we would like to provide greater support to our host cities from step one in the process we encourage any OpenStreetMap communities that are considering bidding to host SotM 2016 to contact us as soon as possible. You can contact us on team AT stateofthemap.org

As noted in our announcement there are numerous exciting OpenStreetMap events to attend during 2015. We cannot link to them all but many are listed on the event calendar [2]. If you know of an event not on the calendar please add it (or ask us to add it, if wiki editing is problematic). We hope to see you at some of these events.

[1] https://blog.openstreetmap.org/2015/02/25/openstreetmap-events-in-2015/
[2] http://wiki.osm.org/Current_events

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