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Look, I’m a realist when it comes to software and philosophy. Use what gets your work done faster, more efficiently and without killing the penguins down in Antarctica. I can’t even remember if open source software is “free as in beer” or “free as in I’m a cheap bastard”. But what I do know is that if you aren’t familiar with all the tools available to you, there is a chance you maybe be doing things inefficiently and probably incorrectly.

That’s why I think this year, a great opportunity for everyone in North America (I’ve got nothing but love for our brothers and sisters in Canada, Mexico and Central America) to make time to visit Denver for FOSS4G 2011 next month. Since FOSS4G was last in our neck of the woods in 2007, the geospatial world has changed a ton. So many new projects are available and more mature than ever before. The choice that we all have today is greater than ever before and FOSS4G 2011 will give us all a chance to see what’s new and how we can use these projects in our workflows. 3 days in Denver will give you the information you’ll need to succeed in this space as it rapidly changes. Siting back and letting the world move forward without you is a recipe for obsolescence.

A quick look at the schedule shows that there are tons of great sessions to be involved with and for those who haven’t been exposed to open source projects before, there is a great Introduction to Geospatial Open Source that will help you get a better handle on your options. I’ll be there all week and so will most of the big geo-personalitites in our space. They all realize that this is an opportunity that only comes around once ever 5 years (yes it’s been that long since we’ve had one in North America) and you can’t afford to miss out.

FOSS4G 2011 is a “super” choice!