Among the challenges of balancing career, family, education, and life generally through the COVID-19 crisis, the State of the Map US 2020 Planning Committee is continuing to lay the foundation for our next gathering, with many variables to consider. We are meeting weekly to discuss current events and updates, and working closely with the University of Arizona to make sure we can hold State of the Map US in November in a way that is responsible, and at the same time meets expectations from all involved. If we are unable to hold State of the Map US in the way we envisage, we will postpone to a later date. Community health and safety are our priorities. The committee will make a decision about postponement by the end of June.
Today we want to share our thoughts and considerations so we are on the same page going forward. We are making decisions as an organizing committee, and here are the considerations we have made to data:
- We are committed to holding an in-person State of the Map US conference and believe that a virtual event cannot replace the value of gathering in-person.
- We are considering virtual events or ideas as a supplement, but not as a replacement for the annual conference.
- The effect of delay is minimal, unlike many other conferences. The venue is flexible and essentially only our time has been heavily invested so far.
- As we continue to consider the feasibility of the current dates, our focus is on planning the parts of the conference which are not affected by any delay or adjustment of date.
- We are monitoring the following:
- News about policies on gathering, travel bans, and the University of Arizona, which currently plans to hold in-person classes in Fall 2020
- Lessons learned from canceled conferences such as FOSS4G, what drove their decision, and what the costs and impact were for the community
- Actions of other organizations who are rescheduling and delaying their events, such as Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team
While you continue to await the decision of the planning committee, we ask that you consider the following checklists of DOs and DO NOTs around your State of the Map US plans.
- DO Write your abstracts and submit them to our open call for proposals. These submissions will be transferred to the future date should we have to postpone.
- DO Contact us with your concerns, ideas, and perspectives – we are building this community and its annual event together
- DO Check the OSM US Newsletter, SOTMUS Twitter, Facebook, Slack, and SOTMUS website for updates on a regular basis
- DO Attend virtual conferences from other communities and give us feedback on your experience
- DO NOT Assume the current conference date is set in stone. Everything can change. Community health and safety are our priorities.
- DO NOT Book any flights, buses, accommodation, or other conference related travel reservations at this time. This could put you at risk of losing deposits or paying change fees. We will not reimburse any related losses. We will announce at a later time when we recommend you to start to make travel plans
The challenge now is to let time pass and see how and when we can make this possible. As a community member, we thank you for your patience and look forward to seeing you at the 10th annual State of the Map US in Tucson!