CSIR Pretoria - 25 November 2016
On 25 November 2016 around twenty enthusiastic QGIS users gathered for the inaugural Gauteng meeting of the QGIS South Africa User Group.
We were expecting fifty confirmed users but our meeting unfortunately clashed with the GISSA Gauteng general meeting.
The CSIR kindly hosted us. It was great to meet fellow users and share our knowledge and experience. Pierre Potgieter from PositionIT was there to report on it so I'll refrain from duplication and point you to his article instead.
Unfortunately there are no photos of the event since mine disappeared with my lost phone and Pierre's also vanished somehow!
The next Western Cape and Gauteng meetings will be in March 2017 (hopefully with no clashes), leading up to the QGIS User Group national conference in June.
Roger Diamond was kind enough to supply detailed notes of the event:
The meeting was opened by Immo Blecher (IB) around 10h00. The aim will be to have about two meetings per year. CSIR is happy to support the group, as they rely heavily on open source software. Gavin (of Kartoza) said this group will be modelled on similar groups overseas. QGIS use is rising rapidly globally.
IB convened a session on organisational issues. A constitution may be needed, in order to open a bank account. A committee will be needed. Feeding our experience into the global QGIS community should be investigated. We should also figure out how to localise or contextualise QGIS to make it more suited to RSA conditions.
Technical Talk by Bruno Meyer.
IB led further discussions on how the user group should work. It was agreed it should be online as well as real world, as the face to face contact is critical. People should bring their computers to meetings, so real QGIS problems can be solved and methods demonstrated.
The website should be open for people to use email lists, contact details, etc. and any member can initiate a meeting. There is a need to set up good email lists with automated subscribe/unsubscribe systems. Contributions can be made to the website: the code for it is on Github and written in Django/Python.
Pritha Namlal (SMEC) and Gerhard Brits (ESKOM) volunteered to be on the committee. 10 March 2017 was set as a tentative date for the next meeting, subject to clashes, particularly GISSA (The Geo-Information Society of South Africa).
There should be a list of user group members with their specialisations, to assist with identifying who can help solve one’s problem, if it is very local. General technical QGIS issues can be investigated via the international www fora, including those on the QGIS website. The OSGEO distribution list might help in getting this set up.
It was said that meetings should be advertised nationally, as people are often travelling and may attend a meeting far from their usual location.
It was decided to keep membership free for now, and just use sponsors for snacks, drinks and venues. Structure and finance will only be looked at if it is desperately needed. For example, QGIS only registered itself as an organisation, in Switzerland, last year. Until then it was simply an ever changing group of volunteers.
Membership can be grown by word of mouth and forwarding emails and the website URL. Ways of promoting QGIS at schools should be investigated, given that GIS is part of the curriculum.
Please put any tips and methods on the website: http://qgis.org.za.
IB will write a summary email about the meetings, including specific points on the way forwards.
Technical Talk by IB
Technical Talk by Gavin (Kartoza). He encouraged attendance at the QGIS/Geography/etc conference in Johannesburg in June 2017.
Technical Talk by IB.
Question and Answer session.
Meeting closed around 15h45.