The Greek Philosopher Heraclitus was fond of saying “the only constant is change” (actually he said “nothing endures but change” but let’s not split hairs). He probably wasn’t talking about meetups and get-togethers in London but this still fits rather well. Events come and go as their themes either go mainstream or fade. But some remain and London’s #geomob is one of those.
Started in 2008 by fellow WhereCamp EU co-conspirator Chris Osborne, #geomob was conceived as London’s answer to Silicon Valley’s popular (and still running) WebMapSocial meetup group. After a brief hiatus in May 2010 when Chris hung up his hat and offered the event to anyone willing to spend the time and effort in running it, #geomob restarted in September of the same year, this time fed and watered by Ed Freyfogle and Vuk Trifkovic of Lokku, the people behind Nestoria and Open Cage Data. It’s been going strong ever since.
But what is #geomob? The name was originally a contraction of London Geo/Mobile Developer’s Meetup. Officially it’s a quaterly meetup for location based service developers. But the geo industry is still small and friendly and I prefer to think of #geomob in the most literal sense of the word, as a mob of geo enthusiasts.
Each meetup takes the same form; a couple of hours of people talking about geo, location and maps related stuff, sometimes with slide decks, sometimes not. The topics range from startups pitching the next big thing, from people who want to share their thoughts and views to topics which are just so out there you wouldn’t believe it (geolocation by subsonic sounds from industrial facilities anyone?). It has to be experienced to be believed. Afterwards, the time honoured tradition of retiring to a nearby pub and the ritual of geobeers is observed.
I’ve been fortunate enough to speak at #geomob not once, not twice but three times. This may be something of a record. The speaker list for the first #geomob of 2014 is already up and you can go and show your interest on Lanyrd too. Did I mention the whole thing is free?
If you live or work in or around London and you want to see what this city is thinking about when it comes to maps, geo or location, I can’t recommend it enough. Once experienced, you’ll never look at a social meetup quite the same again.