November 12-15, 2019 | Wellington, NZ

What Does It Mean?

FOSS4G SotM Oceania is the regional chapter of the larger global community and the chance to merge two spatially-focused conferences into one exciting Oceania centered event. It’s supported by the OSGeo Foundation (OSGeo) and the OpenStreetMap Foundation (OSMF).

‘Free and Open Source Software for Geospatial’ or FOSS4G is the name given to the conferences of the Open Source Geospatial Foundation (OSGeo). OSGeo is a non-profit with a mission to foster and promote the adoption of open source geospatial technology. All of this is done within the broader context of open source software philosophy and participatory community driven development.

‘State of the Map’ or SotM is the conference of the OpenStreetMap Foundation (OSMF) which supports the development of a free and open editable world map. This takes the form of the community driven OpenStreetMap project.

‘Oceania’ is the geographic region made up of Australasia, Melanesia, Micronesia, and Polynesia.

What Did We Learn?

There was a strong culture of inclusivity at this year’s event. The conference organisers provided a travel grant, which helped Pacific Islanders attend and participate, as well as people from other countries who needed additional support.

The remote sensing session was well-attended and the panel included experts in open source software:

  • Caitlin Adams (FrontierSI) as session chair;
  • Kurt Joy (Orbica) discussing a new, highly user-focused tool for exploring Sentinel-2 data for NZ;
  • David Gavin (Geoscience Australia) speaking on the Open Data Cube and Digital Earth Australia;
  • Paul Haesler (CSIRO Data61) speaking on a project to improve access to historical aerial imagery for Australia; and
  • Sean Chua (Geoscience Australia) speaking on land-cover classification for environmental monitoring.

Chris Morgan and Caitlin Adams both gave lightning talks on FrontierSI’s working methodology and also spoke about how FrontierSI has implemented Agile methodology for small teams and how we have been implementing user experience design work for Digital Earth Australia.

Hugh Saalmans from IAG presented a new application, “Safer Journeys” (currently in testing and unavailable) which uses motion sensing device and smart phone-collected data to detect when a driver has had a crash. It then allows the IAG call centre to provide support and has the potential to improve their claims process.

The conference also featured an experienced panel discussing how to build communities which also highlighted how to start them, how to hand over responsibility to others, how to avoid burn-out, and ultimately how to let go when the time is right.