London event venues

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Venues for events in London. We have a few ideas for pub events, but what about hack weekends, presentation events, and training sessions?

OpenStreetMap is a not-for-profit organisation and historically we've tended to get by with very little money changing hands (even for important things like servers let alone running events) Obviously we could organise things differently, but for the moment we're only really interested in finding free venues, which is not impossible given the good cause nature of our mission.

List ideas here for organisations which might/will provide us with a room or space of a non-pub variety, to hold an OpenStreetMap event. Indicate capacity, availability of internet and wifi. For running training type events we would also be interested in computer rooms with terminals.

Specific ideas which probably work

  • London Hackspace https://london.hackspace.org.uk - Capacity ~18. We went to the hackspace on London Hack Weekend May 2010. This was free on the basis that they're keen to do the cool thing and support projects like OSM although they'll always suggest a donation, and suggest we join hackspace! (they're a for-fun strapped-for-cash organisation too). The hackspace moved location several times. In 2010 we went to Barnsbury for a hack weekend, but then later in 2010 they'd move to north Shoreditch where we did Pakistan Remote mapping Workshop Oct 2010, but they've now got a larger space out East
  • UCL geomatics department (contact Muki Hacklay) - They regularly play host to geomob events in a lecture room. It seems likely we'd be able to do the same if we wanted to do that kind of event. They have also run classes involving a computer room UCL Masters Student mapping party Sept 2010 although this was for their students (with logins).
  • Geovation Hub hosted a Hack Weekend in Aug 2015, and might be receptive to running additional hack weekends or other events.

Vague ideas and other listings to investigate

  • Mozilla - Have a "co-working space" in Soho WC2N 4AZ . opened relatively recently and they seem keen on hosting interesting tech events - Wikimedia UK have had events there.
  • Google campus - Shoreditch - Also new, and hosting interesting tech events (inc geomob) but... we have a love/hate relationship with google. They're not entirely aligned with the mission of OpenStreetMap
  • Digital Catapult and Future Cities Catapult are both based in London. These are large new government organisations, with offices, and with a mission to promote innovation. They should be supportive of OpenStreetMap if we can make the case for it. Harry actually works at the FCC two days a week at the moment (doing transport data stuff). He gave a talk on OpenStreetMap to them. One complication with FCC is that they're currently in a smaller office. Moving to new more spacious place in few months. Additionally there's the Satellite Systems Catapult in Oxford and the Transport System Catapult in Milton Keynes.
  • Arup (engineering consultants) recently hosted HOT Missing Maps event at their offices in Bloomsbury, complete with excellent catering! Harry has also spoken at an Open Data GIS conference there. He has several contacts, and has asked about hack weekends. Weekends are a bit more awkward security wise, but might be possible. Requires some persuasion.
  • Accenture (big consulting firm) recently hosted a HOT Missing Maps event at their offices in the city. Requires some persuasion
  • The guardian offices in Kings Cross host various large hack events including all the rewired state events (harry's been to a few). Also (for a fee) hosted WhereCamp.EU conference. They have a large lecture theatre, and a set of more dinky little meeting rooms, and will also open up their hotdesking* MapQuest london offices near Tottenham Crt Rd. - Been there several times. It was becoming the default option for hack weekends but it's good not to rely on them for all our events. User:Matt is the front man. - They have a big meeting room, with tables for a gathering around for a hack weekend, but could also be a presentations venue.
office space (chairs, desks, and network cables) for large weekend hack events. These events are generally ~100 attendees or more, so a smaller event would probably just involve one meeting room. 
  • Skills Matter - Host a lot of tech events at their venues in Clerkenwell. They typically do this for free, and even do videos of some events. The quid pro quo seems to be that they get to gather contact details of everyone and plug their more expensive training courses to everyone who attends a free event (as such they're interested in events like London Ruby User Group which play into their training courses) Not sure if they'd be interested in OpenStreetMap, but we could ask.
  • The "ec" building on Stukeley street has a really sneakily hidden cafe on the top floor. Probably not technically open to the public (just for students) but there's nothing to stop people walking in and up there. Seems to always have big tables free, and wifi. This would be too risk for any sizeable event needing serious organisation, but might be OK for a sneaky mini-meet-up.
  • All universities have lots of suitable rooms. Some contacts we're aware of already:
    • UCL see above. Also contacts in UCL CASA and the geography departments.
    • Imperial College - We have contacts there. They are hosting our servers. Gravitystorm used to work on the sysadmin team there. Thomaswood is studying there currently.
    • City university - Harry works with Jonathan Raper and David Mountain who are ex-professors at City Uni geo department. He can probably book rooms, particularly outside of term time there's loads of facilities available. City hosted geomob once.
    • Royal Holloway University - contact Jenny Kynaston - They ran an OpenStreetMap mapping party once. This university is sadly nowhere near holloway road. It's way out west.

removed options

  • MapQuest london offices near Tottenham Crt Rd. - Been there several times. It was becoming the default option for hack weekends but it's good not to rely on them for all our events. User:Matt is the front man. - They have a big meeting room, with tables for a gathering around for a hack weekend, but could also be a presentations venue.
  • Open Knowledge Foundation used to have a "centre for creative collaboration" near kings x. Since moved out