A few weeks ago, 1,141 amazing people attended the 2017 FOSS4G conference in Boston representing 48 countries and 45 U.S. states (Side note: Minnesota was ranked 11th in U.S. states with 20 attendees)!
This was my first FOSS4G conference and one of the best conferences I’ve ever attended. There were so many great talks in Boston – so much expertise, countless outstanding projects, and all-around amazing work in the community. It was incredible to hear the great work happening throughout the community and learn tidbits from folks. Everyone was open to sharing their work, successes, and struggles which made the conference so fantastic.
It’s impossible to fully sum the conference, so definitely check out the blog posts, slides, and videos on the FOSS4G post-conference page. I’ve also compiled comprehensive notes from the talks I attended at JS.Geo and FOSS4G.
Boston is an expensive city to visit, and FOSS4G is certainly not a cheap conference. In fact, it’s the most expensive registration for a conference I’ve attended to-date. But it was worth every penny to attend.
Speaking of pennies, I tracked every penny spent to keep expenses down with the hopes to share with others looking to attend future conferences at a lower cost. Ultimately, the final price tag was $1,455.11 including:
- Non-stop round-trip flight to/from Minneapolis to Boston
- Airbnb lodging
- Early bird conference registration and all conference events
- Geo conference
- Food and incidentals
- Ground transportation/Uber
- Miscellaneous costs: A sunset cruise around the Boston harbor and Red Sox ticket
- Buy and pay in advance! Before arriving in Boston 80% of my total costs were paid for in full. I started planning 8 months in advance, making it much more manageable to fund the trip. Also, purchasing in advance ensured lower conference costs, conference event admission, and a lower cost Airbnb within walking distance of the conference location.
- If possible, use frequent flier and credit card miles. I was able to cover almost a quarter of my flight costs and 100% of my Airbnb stay between frequent flier and credit card miles.
- Add a day or two to the beginning and/or end of the conference. Why not check out the awesome city you are visiting?
- Have plenty of snacks handy at all times.
Priceless experiences (in no particular order):
- Boston sunsets are seriously beautiful; every evening was a treat!
- Watching the U.S.S. Constitution shoot off a cannon during sunset.
- Walking the Freedom Trail from the Boston Common to the Bunker Hill Monument.
- Attending my first JS.Geo conference which included: the latest projects Vlad is working on, learning the difference between 2.5D and 3D, seeing Hanbyul’s amazing 3D geographic models, wise words of wisdom from Andy Woodruff, and much more!
- Attending my first FOSS4G conference. The keynotes, sessions, speakers, attendees, events, and organizers were fabulous and made for a spectacular conference.
- Seeing so many amazing new and old friends, including those visiting outside of the conference and local Boston friends able to meet up! It’s impossible to name you all, but it was priceless to meet, hang out, and enjoy Boston with you.
- Coloring a map on a t-shirt. I mean, this was the most ingenious thing.
- Making new friends at the Thursday night Gala event at the New England Aquarium.
- Maptime MSP and Maptime Boston celebrating Thursday #Geobeers.
- Watching the Red Sox come from behind against the Yankees on a beautiful summer evening at Fenway.