The Road to Geospatial: How did it all start for you? What was your first geospatial undertaking?
“It was 2006. I was already an open source activist back then, and attended the local Dorkbot meetings. Some of the people there told me “Iván, you should buy a GPS receiver, one can do very interesting things with one”. I had to fumble my way through NMEA parsers and raw coordinate system transforms.”
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?
“Actually, I suggest that people attend the OpenStreetMap conferences as well – they’re called The State of the Map.
FOSS4G is all about the open source *software*, where as SotM is all about the open source *data*. It’s important to know about both available software and available data for people starting in the field. OSGeo and OSM complement each.”
What is your advice for students and young professionals at the beginning of their journey?
“Don’t let more experienced people discourage you. I started my career doing small projects mainly meant to solve my own problems. Other professionals dismissed my work because they couldn’t see value in it, or didn’t see a way to benefit from it. If you face something like this, don’t let it drag you down. Instead, find the people who can tell you how to make things better. Personally, I found a lot of them in OSGeo and OSM.”