FOSS4G:UK Local 2023 - Lessons Learned
FOSS4G:UK Local 2023 went really well. It was held on Thurs 7th Sept, and we reached about 250 people across eight venues in two countries. We raised about £5000 for OSGeo:UK which will go towards our funding of Open Source Geospatial software over the coming year.
Below is a short summary of the feedback we’ve received, as well as a few lessons learned for next time (both technical and non-technical!).
We received 73 responses to the feedback form (~27% of attendees). The headline statistics are as follows:
- 82% saying the conference ‘Met or exceeded their expectations’ (score 4 or 5 out of 5)
- 86% rated the quality of the talks as 4 or 5
- 86% rated the venues as 4 or 5.
This year we decided to charge a nominal £20 fee for tickets, because we had some venues last year with a high proportion of no-shows, up to ⅓ in some cases. We sold a broadly similar number of tickets and we also made codes available for people who would not be able to pay for a ticket. We had 12 codes used for free tickets, to enable those from underrepresented groups, students, local authorities, those with low income or those on precarious employment contracts to attend.
We simplified the streaming this year, to a single morning and afternoon stream for each venue. As anyone who attended the keynotes will know we had some issues with our streaming setup initially, although at least these were different problems to last year! Some venues streaming worked really well, and some less so. We had a combination of problems with bandwidth issues, incompatible technology and not enough volunteers for the roles. We had a good discussion at our debrief meeting and are planning to reduce the streaming options next year and most likely use a commercial supplier if we do any live streaming. We feel an online element is important but the current arrangements are too complex to justify the time and effort involved. We are open to suggestions for next year and will revisit this then.
For our technical setup, we built on last year’s model so see the link for a full description. We simplified the setup so each venue had one morning stream and one afternoon steam. We also refined our YouTube permissions to avoid some of the issues from last year. We did more testing this time, as well as asking presenters to share their slides beforehand. Where possible, these sides were shared online before the event, so anyone could look at them.
We tried to get feedback from those who didn’t or couldn’t attend the conference by asking for input from the mailing list, but that survey did not receive any responses. If you did not manage to attend, but wanted to and we have not captured your feedback, please do get in touch. We want to give access to all members of OSGeo:UK so please tell us if we have missed anything!