WhereCampPDX Conference Report
October 20, 2008
Over the weekend, geo-location hacking geeks converged in Portland, OR for the first WhereCampPDX. Topics of discussion ranged from where to find fruit in urban areas and the creepiness of location-aware dating software, to disaster management and using personal location data in times of crisis. I was part of the planning team, and was happy and proud that we brought together nearly 100 people over the course of three days.
WhereCampPDX is an unconference—no sessions were planned in advance and all the participants were charged with responsibility for their own experience. This is an Open Spaces model for managing large group meetings. Photos of all the session topics are available here.
Many conversations were documented at the drop.io site. Some groups have decided to continue to meet, in particular the What Now, Portland? group had an intense few hours. One participant thought she was going to spend the morning playing Cruel2BKind out in the Saturday Market pavillion on Sunday, but ended up so engaged and deep in discussion that she never left her chair. I came away inspired that people were able talk about their passions and totally lose track of time.
One topic that came up repeatedly was crisis management and how locative tech might be able to help in the event of a disaster. This is an emerging topic and there’s so much energy around it—expect a mini-conference on how to bridge the gap between people and the technologies that could help them this spring.
And people who work hard together, should play hard too! Check out this video of the PacManhattan game and other great coverage of the conference on WebMonkey.com.