Conferences provide an opportunity to meet like-minded people, to share ideas, or learn something you can use in your own work. Yet they are often costly to attend monetarily and in terms of a time commitment, and often only draw people from a narrow part of a domain. You may have to juggle multiple tracks, make hard choices, and end up with conference fatigue. You may be weary of exhibititors trying to convince you that they have something you need when you likely don’t. By the time the evening rolls around you’re propped up at the bar – yet that’s where some of the best conversations tend to happen. This is the impetus for Longitude – to take the best bits of a conference experience and distil it into a couple of hours in a pub.
Longitude is the brainchild of friends and colleagues Ben Flanagan, Kenneth Field, and Chris Wesson. Between them they’ve a wealth of experience on the conference circuit as organisers, presenters, keynotes, exhibitors, and late-night bar discussants. We wanted to do something fresh to support the burgeoning community of people who make maps and data visualisations. An informal place to encourage people to spend a couple of hours in the company of others who may work or study in seemingly different areas but really, it’s all much the same. We’ve called it Longitude to mirror the lines on a map that converge toward the poles. We have shared interests, pains, and needs. We may start from different positions but Longitude provides a space to come together and share our collective knowledge.
And just to be clear, Longitude is not a place where you’ll find product pitches. We’re doing this because we firmly believe there’s a need to create a space for this sort of meeting. We hope you do too. Come along and join us for a drink (there will be a free bar…to a point!), relax in the company of friends and colleagues, meet new people, and all without a tote bag full of product merch that goes straight into your hotel bin.