Thu 22 Feb 2024 10:40PM

FOSS4G SotM Oceania Conference 2024 in Hobart

AL Alex Leith Public Seen by 10

On behalf of the below listed committee members, I am writing to request your endorsement of our bid to host the FOSS4G SotM Oceania Conference for the 5-8 November, 2024 in Hobart.

We have secured two options for the venue, one being the University of Tasmania (UTAS) and the other the C3 Convention Centre, and have agreed as a committee that C3 is the best option, due to their inclusion of AV, catering, their not-for-profit discount as well as the location. We'll use UTAS for workshops and the community day.

Our draft budget can be accessed in our Shared Drive folder, and is linked here: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/150wqk7kK4_iO0_xOjmd8ixW74OIGexF--h03hkU4lLk/edit.

Note that our worst case scenario is 100 people, which is projected to return a surplus of $30,000 AUD. We can handle up to 500 people at C3, which is far more than we would expect to attend. We expect at least 150, which is what Auckland achieved, and would be excited to host 250, in which case we expect a surplus of $75,000 AUD.

Committee members:

  • Alex Leith (Chair)

  • Dawn Hendrick

  • Nick Forbes-Smith

  • Phil Wyatt

  • Tom Kimber

  • Elisa Puccioni

  • Leo Ghigone

  • Dorothy Pion

  • Emma Hain

  • Ponsyano De Jesus

  • Rhiannan Mundana

  • Kristy Petroff

  • Simon Nitz.


Poll Created Thu 22 Feb 2024 10:41PM

Endorse the Hobart Local Organising Committee to run the 2024 FOSS4G SotM Oceania Closed Thu 29 Feb 2024 10:00PM

What is the decision you need to make?

The Hobart Local Organising Committee have requested the endorsement of the OO Board in an email to the list https://lists.osgeo.org/pipermail/oceania-board/2024-February/000430.html

Why is this important?

The Board should empower the Hobart LOC to run the event, and approve the budget so they can start committing to venues and so on.

What are you asking of people in this proposal?

Please review the budget and overall proposal from the Hobart LOC and support them in their initiative.


Results Option % of points Voters
Consent 80.0% 4 JB JS EP EH
Objection 0.0% 0  
Abstention 20.0% 1 AL
Undecided 0% 4 AC R RM DP

5 of 9 people have participated (55%)


Ewen Hill
Thu 22 Feb 2024 10:41PM

Thank you Alex and the Hobart LOC team for the figures and the efforts to date. I am slightly concerned that 68 paying attendees in the 100 model may be aspirational with air fares however halving that number should still see us break even.

Re Tuesday 5th and air travel. This being the Melbourne Cup may be beneficial as airlines may offer cheap backloading. The second is that Air NZ have started AKL-HBT again with the flight arriving at 10:50am on Sun and Tues. Perhaps allow for this flight.


John Bryant
Thu 22 Feb 2024 10:41PM

Thanks Alex and the Hobart crew, it looks like it'll be an exciting event! Given the answers to my questions below, I think the budget looks good for the stage we're at. Looking forward to a great conference.


John Bryant Fri 23 Feb 2024 11:03PM

Hi all, I've gotten to this as quickly as I could. I understand everyone is keen to get cracking. I'll keep this as brief as I can while providing the oversight I think required.

The annual conference is essentially our sole source of income, so it's our only opportunity to cover our costs and hopefully have a surplus for future community investment. The 2023 conference projected a surplus of $35k but will realise more like $10k. I think it's our job to turn this around and make sure the conference delivers the income levels we need to continue to invest in our community.

I have a few questions about the budget, focusing on the 150 attendee scenario for simplicity and direct comparison to 2023.

  • Do budget amounts include or exclude GST?

  • What is "Marketing - TGP support from sponsorship - $5500"?

  • Is the venue cost of $10k a fixed price? Do we have a quote? (In 2023, the venue cost was $26k more than expected.)

  • Is the catering budget of $30k adequate? (In 2023, catering for a ~150 person event was $38k)

  • In 2023, projected ticket income was $70k but actual was $43k. This budget anticipates $67k for a similar number of registrations. How do we ensure we don't repeat the same pattern?

  • There are 10 registrations reserved for sponsors, is this sufficient if we meet our sponsorship targets? (Note that 2019 had 33 sponsor regos for a 200 person conference)

  • Would it be possible to mark some expenditure items as "nice to have", ie. they only happen if we meet certain revenue targets? One example might be video recording.

I would also like to check in with the board on overseeing this. I think one particular risk is that of unbudgeted spending. Does our Finance Policy provide adequate guidance (I'm specifically looking at spending authority)?


Alex Leith Mon 26 Feb 2024 10:42PM

Hi @John Bryant

Good questions.

Budget figures are inclusive of GST.

Marketing TGP Support from Sponsorship is an idea I had to set aside sponsorship funding and put it towards the TGP. This is more an accounting thing, as the net result to OO is zero. And after talking to Ed and Greg, sponsors probably won't be persuaded by seeing their funds go to TGP, whereas knowing OO puts money into OSM, QGIS and so on is a bigger draw card.

The $10 k price, catering and so on is as quoted by C3. They quoted us $20 k for everything, the venue, AV and catering and that's before their 30% discount. I think we will probably spend a little more on AV, but the catering will be about right.

Regarding ticket income, we achieve our numbers by selling tickets! I have a few ideas to maximise the draw of the event, including inviting a prominent keynote from overseas. I think we'll more easily get Australian registrations, obviously. Other than that, we really just need to hold on tight and hope for the best.

Regarding sponsor registrations, maybe the higher attended scenarios should have more regos. Don't think this makes a material impact on the budget.

On video recording, I don't think it's optional.

My preference for "how do we make sure it's a success" is encouraging more sponsorship, and bringing people along. The whole Board can help in both those areas.


John Bryant Tue 27 Feb 2024 2:04AM

Thanks @Alex Leith, that's very helpful! Good to know and that resolves most of my questions.

Glad to hear the venue & catering figures are good, that's one of the biggest expenses, so if we're confident with those numbers that makes a big difference.

Understood that strength of ticket sales is a strong factor in rego revenue. My remaining concern about the budget is around another factor, which is about the number of free regos (each of which incurs a significant cost). I think the AKL paid:free ratio was something like 100:50 free, this budget is 113:37, just wondering if we have the balance right. It could significantly affect the bottom line, but I don't think it's a showstopper and I hope we can mitigate it. Noted that the sponsor regos might go a bit higher.

Including a TGP contribution is great, I like it a lot. One question though: is it tied to sponsors explicitly making that contribution, or could we just include it as a line item (perhaps subject to hitting a certain sponsorship target)? It would be good for OO to use that number when planning TGP (rather than waiting to see if any sponsors choose it).


Alex Leith Tue 27 Feb 2024 2:41AM

@John Bryant

On free:paid ratio, the Auckland conference made an explicit choice to invite local AUT students for free, as our numbers were low. I don't anticipate doing that for the Hobart event. And if sponsor regos are higher, they're really paid, so it's a win!

On the TPG, with my Board hat on, I think we allocate $20 k to TGP as a Board. This extra funding could either offset that, like the OSGeo TGP funding would, or could open more places. I think either way is fine.


John Bryant Tue 27 Feb 2024 2:58AM

@Alex Leith

Let's discuss OO TGP contribution separately as part of the annual budget discussion.

But my question about the conference budget line item still stands. Can we take it as a given or is it dependent on a sponsor saying "yes we want to give you $5500 for TGP"?


Alex Leith Tue 27 Feb 2024 3:15AM

@John Bryant

The conference committee haven't decided on the sponsorship model completely yet. This $5,500 is 20% of the sponsorship, which I'd like to write into the prospectus. I'd also like to write in "added extras" where sponsors put money directly towards sponsoring someone.

If we decide not to do this, then the conference will be $5,500 better off, and the Board can still allocate more money to the TGP.

I think this level of detail is not really helpful for us agreeing with this budget. The budget is a plan, a goal, it's not going to be completely accurate.


John Bryant Tue 27 Feb 2024 3:25AM

@Alex Leith

The reason I ask is because I want to understand if the board can count on that $5500 for TGP budgeting (which is coming up). If you don't think it's helpful that's OK, I think it is.

But if the answer is "we don't know yet", no problem.

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