Cartographer's Toolkit

Map Making Tips, Tricks, and Inspiration

FOSS4GNA San Diego 2019 recap

April 19th, 2019

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With only a few minutes to write this post, I apologize from the outset that it won’t be lengthy or comprehensive. Just a few take aways from the conference before I’m on to my next meeting.

A few people have asked me, from a conference-goer point of view, what is helpful. Here’s some of the things that worked out great at FOSS4GNA San Diego:

  • A great mixture of healthy food/snacks and unhealthy. There was something for everyone: cookies, cupcakes, fruit, smoothies, popsicles, and plenty of coffee and water that was left out even after 3pm. (Went to a conference once where they rolled out the coffee stuff after about 2pm and I got a little sad.)
  • Local fare: because it was at a non all-in-one venue they were able to get a lot of local stuff brought in, which I am sure is nice and helpful for the local community small businesses.
  • Signage: there was good signage all around
  • Map: there was a map of the venue on each name tag for easy reference
  • Gala dinner at the site made it easy for those who might have trouble getting to other places (sometimes people are wary of traveling deep into a new location in an unfamiliar city at night, especially if they haven’t yet met many people at the conference).
  • Great website, etc.

Lots of great talks: to the people who spent their free time creating and rehearsing these talks…thank you! We are grateful to hear about your experiences and learn some things too. All the talks I saw were good. There were absolutely no duds and I went to almost every single session this time (though couldn’t go to every talk due to multiple talks being at the same time and not, alas, having any clones of myself).

There were ample opportunities to reach out and get to know people, before sessions, during breaks, and on the boardwalk. :) It’s always easiest to go with a pal or a group to these things, I feel, but I hope that all those who are new to geo or this community found at least one or two new acquaintances.

There wasn’t as much talk about vector tiles this year, but that’s probably because those are now as much a part of geo as anything else. This year we had lots of examples of maps using huge datasets like building footprints and how to optimize those. Applications of geo, new geo tech, and so on were all much talked about.

I was really disappointed that there was next to nothing on cartography. Not even a lot of maps in presentations. This is a geo conference…without many maps? What is the deal? We have brilliant minds working on all this back end data and processing procedures and technology but not nearly as many working on visualization of it all. There’s at least a little blame for me here as I didn’t give a talk at this one. With time being at a minimum these days, I’ll have to think about doing more carto talks in the future, maybe a few years out from now.

Overall: fantastic conference. Can’t wait for the next one. Big HUGE kuddos go to Jeff Johnson of Terranodo for organizing a lot of this and to everyone else who helped out. For specific details, see my twitter stream @PetersonGIS with the hashtag #foss4gna.

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Cartographer's Toolkit

Map Making Tips, Tricks, and Inspiration