It all came about some weeks ago when we, a hand full of people organizing FOSS4G 2019 Bucharest, got together on a Sunday morning, around an oval wooden table filled with laptops, powerline cords, snacks and cold drinks, papers and pens. Between scheduling talks, budgeting for streaming live and negotiating rates for hotel rooms, we talked about how we could share our passion and drive for the geospatial, for open source, for socializing in this wonderful community, across borders, across mountains and seas, across languages, across professions, across interests and yes, across generations. We already know how wonderful, diverse, powerful our community is and how important it is to be part of it, but we realised that we need to look for ways to share that with the rest of the world, especially the young part of it. And that is no simple task in a world where the fight for one’s attention is so harsh that we have created jobs such as ‘attention engineer’. 

After switching from one idea to another, we realised the obvious. Let the teachers of their teachers speak. And thus we have asked our FOSS4G2019 ambassadors, our geospatial friends, core members of the open source for geospatial community to answer 3 simple questions, as they would to a young adult, over a drink. 

  1. The Road to Geospatial: How did it all start for you? What was your first geospatial undertaking?
  2. Conference experiences: Why should one come to FOSS4G and not go to another geo-event? What was your significant conference experience that helped you carve your career?
  3. What is your advice for students and young professionals at the beginning of their journey?

It is refreshing to find out that they didn’t know it all, they didn’t planned it from infancy and that they weren’t all A students. They too struggled, they too had dilemmas and questions, failed at some, did better at others. 

Ever heard of the ‘GRASS GIS book’? Take a look at how it started! Ever heard of PostGIS? Take a look at the WoWs from it’s founder. Just click on the photos below and find out the stories. 

We are very grateful to all that took the time to answer our request and we invite you to read their Words of Wisdom. You’re not that much into geospatial foss? Read it anyway, after all ‘[…]specialization is for insects.’* 

*Eric S. Raymond. The Cathedral and the Bazaar: Musings on Linux and Open Source by an Accidental Revolutionary**

**Robert A. Heinlein, Time enough for love