This a guest blog post featuring OpenStreetMap community member Tina Nanda’s experience at the State of the Map US 2019 in Minneapolis, MN. Tina is a geographer and the author of Urban Sprawl and Occupation Change. She has worked in the geospatial industry for more than 10 years and is currently as GIS Professional working in Business Development.
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I am very excited to share my experience with this year’s State of the Map US Conference, held in Minneapolis, Minnesota on September 6, 7 and 8. I was fortunate and greatly honored to receive a scholarship from the organizers, so I finally got the opportunity to attend. My first impression was great! It was held near the University area with exotic views. The first thing that caught my eye was the tag line: “We all are the students here.”
This was my first State of the Map conference and I have to admit, I was a bit uneasy at first. It was a good thing that most of the attendees were super friendly! I’m sure everybody had the same excitement for the event, I met lots of people who had many questions on their first conference: “How should I mingle?”; “Is this conference for learning or just for business?” “What should I wear?”, “With so many talks in one day, will the conference be boring?!”
As a new attendee I felt a mix of nervousness and excitement on the first day. I didn’t realize that there could be so many talks, presentations, and workshops in only two-and-a-half days. It was an awesome opportunity to learn about geospatial technologies.
The scholarship provided by the State of the Map US organizing committee included a hotel stay which was very convenient, as the hotel was next to the venue and no transport was required. I must say it was very well planned and arranged. Hats off to the organizing committee.
Fortunately, everyone in the conference were super friendly and the energy was amazing! I had the opportunity to meet the Organizing Committee members. All of the attendees were super passionate about OpenStreetMap and the talks/presentations did not disappoint! I found myself conflicted between programs because there were just so many interesting topics like “Mapping Prejudice”, “Keeping New York road map perfect”, “Kerb your enthusiasm”, “How well are Minnesota’s water features mapped?” and more! I can go on and on but if you’re interested, the talks and presentation files are available on YouTube. At the end of the first day, I realized the collaborative potential of the community is a goldmine. The ideas and possibilities for OpenStreetMap use cases are endless!
On Friday evening, after a long day with lots of presentations, State of the Map US organized a reception at the Mill City Museum. There was wonderful food and beverages of all kinds, a tour of the Flour Tower, and we had free run of the Museum. What else could we want? It was a great time for networking and exchanging ideas.
Big tech companies like Lyft, Facebook, Here, Amazon, and Microsoft were gold sponsors. Elastic , Esri, Kart, Map Box, an Accenture also sponsored the event. I’d like to extend a warm thank you to all of the sponsors. This wonderful event wouldn’t have been possible without you.
Lastly, I want to thank the organizers, event manager, sponsors and volunteers for putting together such a fantastic event. It was a great learning experience and I hope to attend future conferences .I must say OSM US inspired me as Geographer and also I am planning to start a small meetup and make a group of Mappers in Bay Area,California and organize a small mapathon where everyone is invited The Fremont Library provides laptops and free wifi to members and I hope our small effort will create big difference.
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