FOSS4G Conferences, whether regional - like the North American event - or the Global event which took place in Boston in 2017 are important showcase events for the free and open source software for geospatial communities. This presentation will provide an overview of what you can expect at the St. Louis event, but it will also make the case for why investing in the conference - whether through your registration, sponsorship, leadership of a workshop, or other volunteer time - is both crucial and productive.
Even with numerous new ways of collaborating electronically, attending conferences in person still provides unique opportunities for human interaction and learning (and fun). They also help to convey the maturity of the ecosystem to businesses and newcomers and to highlight the diversity and richness of open tools. Indeed, they provide a “seeing is believing” moment for people considering investments in free and open source. Finally, putting on these volunteer-led events is not easy and there are numerous challenges. This presentation will outline some of these challenges and provide a candid commentary on strategies for understanding, avoiding and/or surmounting them.