A FOSS4G event can catalyse the geo community in the host country. Now is the time for Africa! Free and open source software in Sub-Saharan Africa is still in its infancy, but here is where the principles of FOSS4G can have the largest impact, in setting the FOSS4G agenda, together we can build the foundations for generations to come. FOSS4G Dar should be seen as a FOSS4G Africa, quite distinct from FOSS4G 2008 in Cape Town which because of its geography had a localised impact. Tanzania is accessible to much more of Africa as well as the Middle East and Arabian Peninsula and Indian subcontinent and so taps into a new 'impact zone' for OSGeo.
Our vision is for an accessible and inclusive FOSS4G that complements the existing OSGeo stable while empowering the Open Data, Participatory Mapping and Internet of Things work currently underway. This ranges from locating schools to the instrumentation of communities with cheap, open source, 3D printed weather stations that improve community resilience to climate change. Location and geography are at the heart of these challenges: FOSS4G 2018 in Dar es Salaam would invigorate our existing projects, bringing them to new users and developers while supporting and nurturing the existing community.
Our strong conference program reflects our vision for a diverse and inclusive FOSS4G. The conference program will be driven by our LOC and synchronise with the technology and innovation communities in Dar es Salaam and across Africa. Our LOC is truly international, strongly rooted in Tanzania and will deliver our expansive vision, deepen OSGeo community engagement locally and strengthen the international community .
The two days of workshop sessions will be an exciting lead up to the start of the conference. Workshops are an integral component of a well designed and informative conference. In our conference we aim to facilitate greater and deeper exchange of resources and information. It will also allow attendees to dig into new technologies and learn new tools and methods. They will help fulfill OSGeo’s mission of helping people learn about GeoSpatial open source projects and they will support the networking of like minded people. Workshops offer an opportunity for that special one-to-one networking of leaders and learners in the FOSS4G arena.
The most important ingredient to a successful conference is the right group of attendees and program content — both keynotes and concurrent sessions — that will draw those attendees. Given our location of Dar es Salaam, the traditional focus of OSGeo’s software and community will be complemented by streams on how the world of OSGeo can support the international sustainable development agenda - the 2030 UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
As one of Africa’s fastest growing cities, Dar es Salaam is a hub for innovation and experimentation, with the Tanzanian Data Lab, Ramani Huria and other startups/open source projects coming from the city. The city is bursting with heritage and history and is ideally placed for activities, ranging from safaris to sailing. Transportation around the city will make moving across the city a breeze. The newly operational Bus Rapid Transit system allows for cheap, quick access across the city, for arrivals a new terminal at Julius Nyerere International Airport (JNIA) currently under construction will be ready in mid-2017. JNIA has direct connections to travel hubs across the world, including Dubai, Amsterdam, Nairobi, Istanbul, Zurich and Addis Ababa.
Dar es Salaam is emerging as one of Africa’s global cities and as a regional hub for East Africa with an ever growing population of 6 million. The city itself has a historic quarter showcasing its colonial past surrounded by the architecture of modern Africa. Within easy reach of the city is the Mikumi National Park for an amazing safari experience or sandy beaches for reef diving and sundowners. A short 60min ferry from the city is the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Zanzibar, with its winding streets and historic architecture at the start of the Spice trail. Flights to and from North America/Europe are around $800, with some stopping via Arusha for Mount Kilimanjaro, the tallest mountain in Africa and the Ngorongoro Crater.
A FOSS4G in Dar es Salaam would not just impact the city or the country but would reverberate throughout the region, catalysing our community and leaving a legacy for the next generation.
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