Look for the monkey

We – the State of the Map working group and the local team of Heidelberg –  are already working on SotM 2019. In December we launched the website

https://2019.stateofthemap.org/

The local team prepared a wonderful logo and an appropriate conference motto “Bridging the Map” which not only applies to the basics of OSM community but also to our host city Heidelberg:

State of the Map 2019 logo by Michael Auer
Right next to the old bridge in Heidelberg there lives a curious little statue – a bronze monkey. In its hand, it holds a mirror to remind anyone crossing the bridge to look back from where they came from and remember who they are. For the 2019 SotM in Heidelberg we want to take the role of that little monkey and remind everyone that no matter where we are going and what we are doing with OSM, we should never forget that we all come from the same origin: a little map that anyone can modify and use. Whether you are a hobby mapper, a scientific researcher, a humanitarian, an NGO, a government agency, a small business or a global company — we want to bridge the gap between us, or better yet, we want to Bridge the Map.

Our estimated timeline for 2019 is

15 Feb – Call for Scholars
28 Feb – Call for Abstracts (general and academic)
30 Mar – Deadline of Call for Scholars
24 Apr – Deadline of Call for Abstracts
16 May – Start Early Bird ticket sale
20 Jun – Program Announcement
04 Jul – Switch to regular ticket prices
21-23 Sep – State of the Map in Heidelberg/Germany

Open open open

Apart from the daily work of conference preparation, we have spent considerable efforts in order to use more FOSS tools. We started by moving our meetings from Hangout to Mumble. We use HOT’s Mumble server which already serves the OSMF board and other OSMF working groups. So it was already proven that Mumble is smart and works on all platforms.Our next step was much more challenging. We moved our email communication from Google Mail to the OpenStreetMap mailing list server. We couldn’t move our domain yet as there were too many constraints for a rigorous cut. So we decided to keep the Google account with the stateofthemap.org MX until everything is sorted out. At the moment the mail address “team@stateofthemap.org” is still valid, but it is forwarded to sotm@openstreetmap.org.
Tom – thank you so much! – has set up a number of private mailing lists for all our needs:

sotm@openstreetmap.org
program-sotm@openstreetmap.org
academic-sotm@openstreetmap.org
scholar-sotm@openstreetmap.org
sponsor-sotm@openstreetmap.org

All these lists are private. Only members of the SotM working group or the appropriate teams are able to read the emails addressed to these lists. For example progam-sotm@openstreetmap.org is read by the program committee and used for all internal communication. At the same time everybody (from outside) can write to this email address send their questions to the program committee using this email address.

Our next step will concern the submission form for the conference contributions – the “Call for Abstracts”. We will move from Google forms to Pretalx, which is Open Source software. It is already used by FOSSGIS (the German local chapter). So we know about advantages and limitations.

We still have some proprietary tools in use, and switching from a proprietary to an Open Source tool takes additional work – not only for us but also for the operations working group. In the past few months we could spend some time on this, but during the hot phase of SotM preparation there will not be enough capacity. Also, the Open Source tools are sometimes less comfortable than the proprietary equivalent, and it needs a lot of communication to persuade all the affected people to make this additional effort. The State of the Map working group supports the idea of Open Source software, and we think this goal is worth the extra effort (even if the path is sometimes rocky).

State of the Map working group
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