For a long time, I’ve wondered why Philadelphia doesn’t have a regular meetup for map makers and spatial connoisseurs. Philly has dozens of other thriving tech meetups such as Python, PostGres, GirlDevelopIT, GeekGirlDinners and Data Science. But nothing existed for the hundreds of Philadelphians that make or appreciate maps. Other cities like Baltimore, New York, Washington DC, Portland and San Francisco all have thriving regular geo meetups. But not Philadelphia.
All of that has changed with GeoPhilly.
“A Very Spatial Happy Hour” attracted over 75 attendees from local government, public and private sectors during Philly Tech Week 2013. It was clear that Philadelphia had an unmet need for a regular meetup of map folks. Andrew Thompson and I decided to make it happen. We wanted to start a group that was inclusive to all members of the geospatial community. Including a wide array of events including socials, workshops, lectures and collaborations was also important to us. Though we both work at Azavea, we wanted to welcome other members of the community to organize and host events as part of GeoPhilly. We began by reaching out to the organizers of similar groups in other cities. They provided us with great advice for format, venues, sponsors and more.
We scheduled a social happy hour to kick off our meetup and spread the word to other tech meetups, Technically Philly, related academic programs and The Geographical Society of Philadelphia. The turnout and engaging conversation were fantastic. With over 150 members in one month and an extremely successful first event, it is apparent that there is a vibrant community of map makers in Philadelphia! We have organized a second meetup, a collaborative event with LocationTech: the 2013 Geo Open Conference. Check out our blog post for more information about conference. Our friends at DVRPC are also planning a third event: Geospatial Tech & Open Source Day on Dec. 11th.
We hope you will join us for our upcoming events. If you would like to be a speaker at a future event or host your own, please contact us!