Located in Boston's Seaport Innovation District, the Seaport Hotel & World Trade Center overlooks the Boston Harbor and is central to many attractions.


With a robust schedule of keynote speakers, paper sessions, and talks, this event has great opportunities for learning and networking.


Two days of conference workshops will be held prior to the main conference at Harvard University with hands on sessions for both new and experienced users.

Social Events

Many evening events are planned, including a Icebreaker at Harpoon Brewery, a Social at the Seaport Hotel, and a Gala at the New England Aquarium.

The Mayor of Boston welcomes FOSS4G

We are excited to welcome you to Boston!


Want to get involved? This conference is powered by the community, your involvement makes the event thrive.

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This list is to facilitate a conversation between the LOC and the larger community. The traffic on this list will vary depending on the current topic or project that the community is focused on.
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Sponsorship Opportunities

This event is an amazing opportunity to play a vital role in the community around free and open source geospatial technology. To find out more please visit the sponsorship page.

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FOSS4G Boston 2017 Location(s) Map

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Keynote Speakers

Holly St. Clair Photo


Holly St. Clair

Chief Digital Officer

Commonwealth of Massachusetts

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Paul Ramsay Photo


Paul Ramsey

Solutions Architect


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Dr. Richard Stallman Photo

Courtesy of Blake Livingston / CC-BY-SA

Dr. Richard Stallman

Founder and President

Free Software Foundation

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María Arias de Reyna Photo


María Arias de Reyna

Software Engineer


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Joe Cheng Photo


Joe Cheng

Chief Technology Officer


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Richard Stallman

Free Software: Freedom, Privacy, Sovereignty

The Free Software Movement campaigns for computer users' freedom to cooperate and control their own computing. The Free Software Movement developed the GNU operating system, typically used together with the kernel Linux, specifically to make these freedoms possible. Since proprietary software often sends reports on its users' activity, avoiding proprietary software is an essential part of recovering practical privacy. For state agencies, avoiding proprietary software is crucial for recovering the country's computational sovereignty.

Dr. Richard Stallman launched the free software movement in 1983 and started the development of the GNU operating system (see in 1984. GNU is free software: everyone has the freedom to copy it and redistribute it, with or without changes. The GNU/Linux system, basically the GNU operating system with Linux added, is used on tens of millions of computers today. Stallman has received the ACM Grace Hopper Award and the ACM Software and Systems Award, a MacArthur Foundation fellowship, the Electronic Frontier Foundation's Pioneer Award, and the the Takeda Award for Social/Economic Betterment, as well as several doctorates honoris causa, and has been inducted into the Internet Hall of Fame.


María Arias de Reyna

Spatial Data Infrastructures for everyone

Transfer protocol standards and data format standards are being put to work by many governments daily because these standards make data sharing easy. At the same time many data producers and users outside the government are using “wild open data formats” that do not follow any strict rules. These formats sometimes become the ”de facto” standard and evolve in parallel across the globe, making each one a new flavor of the original. How do we deal with this? Is there a way to have a spatial data infrastructure(SDI) that can reach all use cases and not fail in the attempt?

María Arias de Reyna, a Software Engineer at GeoCat, is one of the core developers of GeoNetwork, a free and open source catalog to manage spatially referenced resources under the OSGeo umbrella. María has been working with geospatial software for almost a decade: from fleet management to routing platforms and now metadata. She is a free (as in freedom) and open software evangelist and a very active member within several developer communities.


Holly St. Clair

Integrating Data in Digital Services for State Government

Ensuring that constituents have access to their data is essential to effective government. The line between GIS professionals and data scientists is starting to get blurry - how do we utilize the best of both realms to make every interaction with Massachusetts government simpler, faster, more meaningful, and wicked awesome?

Holly St. Clair is the Chief Digital Officer of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and leads its Digital Services office, where she currently manages the reimagining and overhaul of the State’s website. The Digital Services’ office’s mission is to leverage the best technology and information to ensure every interaction with our government is faster, easier, more meaningful, and wicked awesome. Ms. St. Clair has a proven history of using data and technology in innovate ways that help people and their government interact to achieve better outcomes. She initially joined the Commonwealth to create Massachusetts’s first Data Office. Prior to joining the Commonwealth, Ms. St. Clair served as the Director of Data Services at the Boston-region Metropolitan Area Planning Council, overseeing the agency’s activities in the fields of data management, data analysis, research, and public access to data. Ms. St. Clair pioneered the use of advanced decision support tools in metropolitan Boston, managing a variety of projects that use scenarios modeling, 3-D environments, community indicators, and innovative meeting formats to engage stakeholders in dialogue about policy choices.


Paul Ramsey

Why We Code

The economics of open source seem as dire as ever, and yet the communities continue to churn out new software of all kinds, in all categories. There seems to be a disconnect. Can we square the self-interest of users with the self-interest of developers to keep the ecosystem alive in the long term?

Paul Ramsey is a Solutions Engineer at Carto. He has been working with geospatial software for over 15 years: consulting to government and industry; building a geospatial software company; and programming on open source software. He co-founded the PostGIS spatial database project in 2001, and is currently an active developer and member of the project steering committee. In 2008, Paul received the Sol Katz Award for achievement in open source geospatial software. Paul speaks and teaches regularly at conferences around the world.


Joe Cheng

Coding as a first resort

Modern geospatial software is generally a point-and-click affair. Python and other languages can be used to extend programs or automate batch processes, but by and large, spatial analysis tasks are performed using desktop GUI tools. In this talk I'll espouse a different workflow, where the tasks of importing, analyzing, visualizing, and reporting with geospatial data all begin and end with writing code. In this worldview, the primary artifact of any data analysis task is not the resulting output, but the source code. Along the way, I'll also demonstrate some of the geospatial capabilities of the R programming language, with a particular emphasis on interactive visualization and reporting.

Joe Cheng is the CTO of RStudio, which he joined as the company's first employee in 2009. RStudio's mission is to build world-class tools and packages for R, a programming language with a strong tilt towards statistics, data analysis, and visualization. Joe is the author of several R packages, including the Shiny web application framework, the httpuv web server, and a Leaflet binding for R.

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