State Of The Map U.S. 2012/BIDS/Portland

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Portland's Bid

Panoramic view of the Willamette River in downtown Portland

A Well Planned City

Portland, Oregon, often called the “Rose City”, has been referred to as one of the most environmentally friendly cities in the world. Boasting a rich tradition of urban planning that dates back to 1903, Portland is home to the 40 Mile Loop - one of the country’s finest greenways, an urban growth boundary - encouraging its compact development, and the Nohad A. Toulan School of Urban Studies and Planning at Portland State University – one of the nation’s elite planning schools. A focal point of planning in Portland is their top tier transit system that includes an extensive light rail network, a growing streetcar line and an aerial tram. Portland has been rated as one of the most walkable cities in the United States and has repeatedly been named the top American city for bicycling due to an unmatched network of bike infrastructure.

OpenStreetMap in Portland

OpenStreetMap is a key instrument in helping Portlanders to navigate their city as TriMet, the region’s public transportation service provider, recently launched one of the first ever open source multi-modal trip planners, the Regional Trip Planner (RTP). This application allows users to plan trips that involve any combination of transit, biking, and walking in a single itinerary and it is completely open; from the OSM data it utilizes as a routable network and base map, to its code. TriMet hired a small group of employees that have spent a collective 60+ hours a week for the past 11 months improving OSM data in the region, making Portland one of the most extensively and accurately mapped American cities in OpenStreetMap. Support for OSM and its community in this region is further illustrated through residence of OSM’s US servers at Oregon State University in nearby Corvallis, Oregon.

A Hub for Open Source

RTP is just one instance of Portland’s commitment to open source. In 2009 mayor Sam Adams instated a resolution designed to officially make Portland a more “open city”. This document pledged that the City would consider open source software as a viable option (over proprietary products) in future purchases and would open their data to the public. The latter vow manifested in the City’s Open Data Resource Center which has been utilized in the development of a number of innovative and popular applications such as the PDX Reporter, a smart phone app that allows community members to map the type and location of maintenance issues in a report to the City, complete with photos. These datasets have also been used by a number of OSM contributors to improve OpenStreetMap data in the region.

Tradition of Geo Conferences

Portland has hosted numerous geospatial and open source conferences in recent years including Open Source Bridge (held at the Eliot Center), GIS in Action (Portland State University), the PDX Open Source GIS “Unconference” (Portland State), WhereCamp PDX (Metro Regional Center), the O’Reilly Open Source Conference (OSCON, Oregon Convention Center), and the Government in Open Source Conference (GOSCON, the Nines hotel). Participants in these symposiums had similar needs to those of SotM US 2012 and each was hosted by a centrally located venue equipped with Internet access, social areas and with convenient access to food and accommodations via foot and transit (see the links in this section for further information about event space at these sites).


After the conference there are no shortage of entertainment options, bike, walk, and/or take transit to the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry (OSMI) and experiment with their interactive exhibits or head back across the river and find a rare book at Powell's Books, the world’s largest independent book store. In the evening visit one of Portland’s renowned microbreweries or microdistilleries and grab a bite at one of the cities hundreds of food carts or experience fine dining and cocktails in what the New York Times called the city’s “burgeoning restaurant scene”.

Portland displays what is possible when innovation meets an amazing natural environment and we hope the OSM community will get to experience it first hand at State of the Map US 2012!

Unique Timing to Join Forces with NACIS and WhereCamp PDX

Holding SOTM in Portland in the fall provides a unique opportunity to attract a wider audience of mappers and to get them involved with OSM. NACIS [1], the annual cartography meeting, will be held in Portland October 17-19, with WhereCamp PDX happening the following weekend on October 20-21.

A crowd of cartographers, geo developers, and mappers will already be in Portland for these events, and with solid planning, coordination, and cross pollination, it will be possible to bring many new people to SOTM as well promote OSM and train people on using it at these conferences.

We have reached out to WhereCamp PDX organizers and they're interested in teaming up to cross promote, coordinate mutually beneficial tracks and sessions, and possibly further link the events. The organizing team has also reached out to the leads of NACIS around this idea.

Organizing Team

A solid team has formed to help organize SOTM Portland, including members of the Portland OSM community and larger companies that can dedicate people's time to help. Stamen Design [2] and Development Seed [3], which both use OSM heavily in their work, have pledged resources to help with the program and organizing of a SOTM Portland. Specifically, Bonnie Bogle [4] from Development Seed, who has experience organizing geo and open source events ranging in size from 50 to 1,500 people, has volunteered to lead the logistical organizing of the conference. Nathaniel Kelso [5], who helped organize last year's WhereCamp DC, and Eric Gundersen [6], who's been involved in tons of open source conferences, will also help.

Grant Humphries [7] from Trimet and Justin Miller [8] from Development Seed, both based in Portland, have volunteered to help bring in the local Geo community and help with on the ground organizing needs. Thea Aldrich [9], who has significant event planning experience and has served on the OSM board, has led the proposal process and will continue to support the conference.

As conference planning gets underway, the core team will be added to by others who'd like to help. Specific outreach will be done to the Portland OSM community.


If SOTM 2012 is held in Portland there are many potential low cost venues.

1. Portland State University [10] is centrally located in downtown Portland. The campus is accessible via public transportation, car, bike and on foot. There are many moderately priced hotels nearby and plenty of great food options.

2. Metro Regional Center [11] hosted a very successful WhereCamp 2010 at their offices. The venue was perfect for an event the size of SOTM US; including a large room for speakers and eating and plenty of smaller rooms for breakout sessions, workshops, etc.

3. Eliot Center at First Unitarian Church [12] - space for up to 250 people, 10 breakout rooms, will be used for Bar Camp and Open Source Bridge this year

4. Portland Art Museum, Mark Building [13] - Open Source Bridge has been here in the past, might be good for a party if not for the main event.

5. Collective Agency [14] - events for up to 125 people, recommended by WhereCamp PDX organizers

Getting There

The easiest way to arrive in Portland is via Portland International Airport. All major airlines fly in and out of the area. A brief search of travel sites returned the following estimates for airfare to Portland.

1. Texas: $288.00

2. Washington DC : $470.00

3. San Francisco: $220.00

4. Atlanta: $549.00

Transportation in and around Portland

Portland has an amazing public transportation network so no rental car is needed. The airport is connected to the rail line. Buses, rail and taxi's are quick, cheap and easy to find.


Friday: 6:30 PM - 9:00 PM Lightning Talks and Social

Saturday 10:00 AM - 5:00 PM Conference

Sunday 10:00 AM - 3:00 PM Conference and OSM US General Assembly meeting


+/- $8,000 USD

Based on SOTM US 2010 and previous conferences held in Portland, SOTM US 2012 has a variable cost of $8,000 USD. This includes drink and snacks for the Friday night social, venue and AV equipment, coffee and continental breakfasts and lunches Saturday and Sunday.