With travel budget cuts, and increasing gas costs, what role - if any - could GIS.se play in the virtualization of conferences?

After holding an annual conference for many years, GITA has thrown in the towel.

Latitude Geographics has held a virtual conference over the past few years. I've never attended though - can anyone comment on how it compares to a non-virtual conference?

OK, we have a few minutes left, does anyone have any questions?

I generally find the Q&A following a presentation quite valuable, especially in workshop oriented GIS conferences. Much of the time, however, the Q&A is poorly structured, with time running out before all questions get answered. Other questions are curtailed with a why-don't-we-take-that-up-off-line response.

What if there were a virtual GIS conference with the Q&A handled by stackexchange?

Attendees could watch live video feed and post questions with a particular tag on GIS.se. The presenter would then focus on high vote questions. Perhaps more importantly, other attendees could answer questions, allowing the presenter to save time by simply upvoting and commenting.

For conference workshops that focus on use of a new software UI, questions like "how do I do X with this new tool?" the answer could be a link to a screen capture video.


I just listened to an archived webinar on Google Earth Builder. At the end they said they had over a hundred questions. They only had time to answer about 10. I'm not sure how they prioritized which questions to ask the presenter. It seems to me that SE could host, or at least coordinate with, webinars so that questions eventually get answered and prioritized by the community.

  • 2
    Certainly a great idea, but I wonder if focusing on blog.gis.stackexchange.com might be a better way to get started? Apr 26, 2011 at 9:35

1 Answer 1


That sounds like a great idea. My only concern would be whether every presenter can organize the necessary equipment to produce live video feeds of sufficient quality (as in readable slides and sufficient audio quality).

In my experience, it would be very valuable to have the Q&A following a presentation in written/permanent format. This would be the case if stackexchange infrastructure could be used. Also, there would be unlimited time working through all open questions and a good opportunity to stay in touch or answer questions that need some research.

  • I haven't price compared, but there are lots of web conferencing tools maybe we could try the concept and if successful encourage SE to provide some sort of service. I think most web conferences can be recorded and archived for later review. I really like prezi. Maybe a person or group could put together a prezi, show it in a web cast, then answer questions from it. Later, when there are questions for particular parts of the prezi, links could be added to the prezi pointing to gis.se. Apr 23, 2011 at 18:17
  • Prezi doesn't have web conferencing, but is a web based presentation/collaboration platform. Apr 23, 2011 at 18:20

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