FOSS4G 2018 Trip Report


We’re back from a great FOSS4G NA. With over five hundred attendees, the conference in St. Louis was packed with three days of talks, demos, and parties that gave us a great chance to mingle with the Cesium community and larger geospatial community.

Team at FOSS4G NAStopping by the booth.


The Cesium team all spoke the same day, even all in the same room, so it felt as though there were a Cesium-dedicated track. Matt Amato’s talk on 2.5D !== 3D was a passionate call for true 3D to avoid the misrepresentations or outright inaccuracies that come when you bring height data but no actual 3D to a map.

Matt FOSS4G NAMatt Amato comparing the illusion of 3D with real 3D from the game world.

Sarah Chow spoke about our outreach efforts and how focusing on helping our community members succeed has, in turn, helped Cesium to grow. Her talk was entitled “The Road to 200,000 Downloads,” but she noted that by the latest count, it should have been called “The Road to 260,000 Downloads.”

Sarah FOSS4G NASarah Chow speaking about how we get the most out of conference attendance. Image courtesy of FOSS4G NA committee.

I talked about bringing CityGML into Cesium with 3D Tiles, including the pipeline we developed as part of OGC Testbed 13 for converting CityGML to 3D Tiles, as well as a number of use cases.

Sean Lilley talked about data fusion with 3D Tiles, covering how 3D Tiles makes it possible not only to efficiently stream massive datasets over the web, but also bring together a variety of data types into a single map, including photogrammetry, point clouds, and CityGML.

Sean FOSS4G NASean Lilley sharing the latest and greatest with 3D Tiles.

Gabby gave a workshop about getting started with Cesium. Many of her class members talked with us throughout the week to talk about their use cases and were excited to grow their Cesium expertise.

All of the talks by Cesium team members were well received, and are up on our presentations page.

There were also a number of community talks on Cesium, including by Fernando Sanchez of the Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics, who showed how switching to Cesium improved data visualization from NASA’s MAVEN mission to study the atmosphere of Mars. Cesium made it easier to create, update, and share maps of Mars, including the space around it.

Jinwoo Park spoke about mago3D, an application built on Cesium for BIM applications.

At the Booth

The booth was packed during all the conference breaks. As usual the Cesium arcade machine was a big hit, but we also had the chance to talk tech with many of the attendees. Members of the community did some fantastic demos at the booth, too.

Booth at FOSS4G NAIt was always busy at the booth.

Julian Simioni of Pelias drew a big crowd talking about the geocoder his company has developed and that’s at work in Cesium. He showed us how address interpolation works and showed all kinds of unusual cases around the world for finding locations.

Simioni FOSS4G NAJulian Simioni showing geocoding at the Cesium booth.

Will Geary, who graduated that week from Columbia, came to demo his app Wayfinder 3D, which visualizes routes in Cesium, such as comparing biking against riding the bus.

Geary FOSS4G NAWill Geary at the Cesium booth showing off Wayfinder 3D.

Both Fernando Sanchez and Jinwoo Park and Byeongcheol Bae came over after their talks to show more about what they’d covered in their sessions.

Sanchez FOSS4G NAFernando Sanchez showing the Cesium-built viewer for NASA’s MAVEN mission to Mars.


Community member Andrew Lindley called this the “highlight of the conference.” Our party at the Flying Saucer Draught Emporium (organized by party master Tom Fili) drew such a crowd that we pushed the end time from 9 p.m. to midnight. We estimate about 250 people attended.

Party FOSS4G NAThe Cesium party lasted late into the night.

We had many productive conversations throughout the conference and altogether were very pleased with how it went. Thanks to the many volunteers (including Gabby Getz of the Cesium team!) who put in the time to make it happen.

Volunteers FOSS4G NAThe conference volunteers, including Cesium developer Gabby Getz, who served on the program committee.

If you were at FOSS4G NA, please share your stories with us on Twitter @cesiumjs. If you didn’t make it, check out the talk slides on our presentations page.

Packing up FOSS4G NAPacking up the Cesium arcade machine. We’ll see you next year!

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