1. What’s the hardest part of planning such a big event?
There are so many variables for a conference of this size. We do our best to plan for them, leaning heavily on trend data and statistics from the previous years, but at best our plans are only a model of reality, and you never really know for sure what will happen until it happens. There are new surprises every time! That kind of uncertainty can be hard on the nerves.
2. What is new or unexpected this year?
This is the first time the FOSS4G NA conference has come south. With this comes gorgeous sunny weather, friendly southern hospitality, and outstanding BBQ. Also new this year, we added 36 half talks. These 15 minute talks were added as a way to expand the program and enable people to see excellent talks that we would not otherwise have been able to fit in the program. We felt compelled to add them given the tremendous response from speakers. We had a huge number of outstanding proposals, many more than last year which already had a very large number. We have also added some interesting talks that live at the intersection of the geospatial and internet of things domains. This is perhaps the first time we’ve taken this area on squarely and we’re fortunate to have excellent speakers to help us learn more about it.
3. What are you most excited to see at FOSS4G NA 2016?
I’m with Sarah Cordivano, our Community Chair, and super excited to hear Tamar Cohen’s “Extreme Mapping” keynote. I really look forward to reconnecting with people and the quality time face to face. Meeting people for the first time is always special too. There’s always a few that blow my mind with how incredible they are. Beyond that, I hope everyone really enjoys the conference, learns a lot, and comes away with great memories. See you in Raleigh!