Geotagged at Villa Stone, Javéa, Spain (38.7836,0.1285)

To Geo Lecture Or To Geo Debate?

Although it's a sweeping generalisation, conferences tend to polarise to one of two extremes. On the one extreme, there's the lecture approach, where the audience sits in quiet appreciation whilst they listen to people on stage talk at them. But there's another sort of conference. Where the emphasis is very much more on debate, on discussion both before, during and after the event, and where views are aired both verbally and online.

lecture (lec-cher), noun, an instructive speech

I've participated in conferences which exemplify both ends of the spectrum and pretty much all points in-between as well and the events I get the most out of most definitely fall into the debate category rather than the lecture category.

debate (dih-beyt), noun, a discussion involving opposing viewpoints

This was very much the case earlier this year with WhereCamp EU in Berlin and it will be very much the case, and hopefully even more so, at W3G in Nottingham in just under a month's time.

After last year's first tentative steps, W3G is back, a little bit older, a little bit wiser and a whole lot more provocative under the banner of “Because There's More to Geo than Just Maps and Check-Ins

We all know that there is more to geospatial information than just ‘check-ins’. We all know that the free Web 2.0 map services offered are generally little more than ‘push-pin’ maps.

Yet the potential for the technology being developed within this environment offers so much more….and we aim to expose some of those applications. We also want to provoke and provide a way to discuss and debate some of the barriers to those applications being taken forward.

Be it open data, open APIs, or, as the recent Apple and Android "tracking-gate" showed, too open location technologies, we hope to see all this and more discussed, debated, critiqued and pored over.

But to avoid being merely a lecture, a debate has to be a two way thing and to blur the boundary between audience and between speaker.

And, as it's an unconference, W3G needs you.

So head over to the official W3G web site and start the debate and the dialog. Suggest session topics or even start the unconference wall with a pledge to do a talk, moderate a discussion, or put together some slides.

If you've even been to an unconference, even one without a Geo flavour, then I hope you'll agree that to Geo debate is far far more fun than to merely Geo lecture.

Gary Gale

I'm Gary ... a Husband, Father, CTO at Kamma, geotechnologist, map geek, coffee addict, Sci-fi fan, UNIX and Mac user