If you dig deep enough into the W3G web site archives, you’ll probably be able to come up with sufficient verbiage to say what W3G is. But why should you have to do that? This seems like an ideal opportunity for someone to do the leg-work for you. So without further ado …
What Is W3G And Who Will Be There?
W3G is a free, one day (un)conference themed around ‘Is Open The New Black? … Or “How To Dress Appropriately In The Age Of Open Data”‘ and covering all aspects of the geographical experience, from online mapping to cartography, from the web to location based mobile services. Large in scope but intimate in scale, W3G is targeted firmly at the geographic community at large, from the geographic professional, be they GIS or Web 2.0 to the latent geographer who’s heard about this thing called “location” and wants to know more.
Is Open The New Black? What?
Big data, open data, crowd-sourced data, social data, data APIs and endpoints, mobile data … we live in a world ever obsessed with creating data and consuming that data in ever weird and wonderful ways. Our smartphones in our back pockets create data and consume it over wifi and 3G data networks. The laptop or desktop computer we use at work taps into data, be it catching up with friends on Facebook or doing hard-core data crunching on massive parallel clusters of computers running Hadoop.
Where’s all this data taking us? Is the data really fit for purpose? Does this data invade our privacy? Can the open data movement really be free and open? Doesn’t even free and open data come at a cost?
All this, and more, will be debated, discussed, talked about and pondered on during W3G 2012.
Yes. Free. Really. W3G is totally free to attend. Free as in no cost, nothing, de nada, niente, zip, the square root of zero British Pounds. Of course, the wise amongst you will realise that even free doesn’t come freely, so W3G relies on the generosity of our sponsors to cover the costs that the event incurs, but to attend, it really is free. All we ask of you is that you sign up (more on that in a future update) so we can have a good indication of numbers.
There’s traditionally two types of conference. The Conference with a capital “C” has a set agenda, everyone knows in advance who’s going to be speaking and on what topic.
The unconference is a very different beast. There’s no agenda, no-one knows who’s going to be speaking and on what topic until the day of the event itself. The entire event’s sessions are controlled by you, the participants, and in an unconference it’s you, the participants, who are the speakers. You prepare a talk in advance, turn up at the event, grab a post-it note, scribble your talk title and name down, find a spare space on the grid of time-slots on the wall and claim you place. Hopefully, you also turn up for that time-slot and give the talk too.
But W3G is an (un)conference, which is somewhere at the halfway point between the extremes of a full blown formal conference and the joyous informality of an unconference.
At W3G we’ll be inviting carefully selected guest speakers to attend and do their speaking thing. You’ll know who they’ll be and what they’ll be talking about in advance. But there will also be two unconference sessions as well, one before and one after lunch, for you to make the event a truly personal experience.
We think W3G is the best of both conference worlds; past experience has shown us that you all tend to agree with this.
About Gary Gale
Self professed "geek with a life", geo-blogger, geo-talker and geo-tweeter, Gary works in London and Berlin as Director of Places for Nokia; he's a co-founder of WhereCamp EU, the chair of w3gconf and sits on the W3C POI Working Group and the UK Location User Group. A contributor to the Mapstraction mapping API, Gary speaks and presents at a wide range of conferences and events including Where 2.0, State of the Map, AGI GeoCommunity, Geo-Loco, Social-Loco, GeoMob, the BCS GeoSpatial SG and LocBiz. Writing as regularly as possible on location, place, maps and other facets of geography, Gary blogs at www.vicchi.org and tweets as @vicchi.