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 - 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. We never made it to their easterly Bethnal Green location before they moved out West to Wembley (map)
  • 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).

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 fairly new, and hosting interesting tech events (inc geomob) We have a love/hate relationship with google, but actually "campus" is also trying to distance themselves from google. Not sure how that works.
  • Catapults - 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. Digital Catapult and Future Cities Catapult are both based in London. Additionally there's the Satellite Systems Catapult in Oxford and the Transport System Catapult in Milton Keynes.
    • Future cities catapult - Harry actually worked at the FCC two days a week (doing transport data stuff). He gave a talk on OpenStreetMap to the labs team at one stage. They moved to a more spacious office which is actually the building below the aforementioned geovation hub. Harry recently went to some effort to pitch the idea of supporting OSM to them in this way. They basically rejected it (said we can go there if we pay a four figure sum) on the grounds that it costs them to open the building on a weekend. I suspect there was feeling we were unreasonably trying blag something for free, so the whole not-for-profit zero funding description of OSM didn't come across. But we can keep trying. If we can tie an event to FCC projects it would appeal to them more.
    • Digital catapult is near Euston. We should propose something to them
  • 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
  • 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. User:Matt used to be the front man, but no longer works there, and it seems MapQuest scaled down their London operation, and in fact their OpenStreetMap operations. Boo :-(
  • Open Knowledge Foundation used to have a "centre for creative collaboration" near kings x. Since moved out