52°North has successfully participated as a mentoring organization for the Google Summer of Code for the eighth year in a row. Two students worked with us over the summer and helped improve the enviroCar UI / UX and create a WPS Client for ArcGIS Pro. This year’s Mentor Summit took place in Munich, Germany.
My colleague Carsten Hollmann and I represented 52°North at this year’s Google Summer of Code (GSoC) 2019 Mentor Summit. The Mentor Summit is an annual unconference for all participating projects. From October 17th – 20th we joined 332 mentors from 162 organizations and 42 countries to celebrate 15 years of GSoC!
We arrived on Thursday, picked up our badges and a few goodies and got settled in. At 6 p.m. we attended the opening reception, which offered fingerfood, beverages and some good conversations with other mentors.
Friday was Fun Day! Carsten and I each decided to take the Nymphenburg Castle tour. It was a nice trip and we learned a lot about the history of the castle.
Since there was no event in the afternoon, we had time to visit the center of Munich, e.g. the Viktualienmarkt, or take a walk through the English Garden, which was close to the hotel. The evening’s Bavarian motto included Oktoberfest music, picnic tables/benches and special Bavarian food, such as weisswurst, pretzels, potatos salad and small schnitzels. There was also a beer mug lifting competition.
The unconference started on Saturday. Since there were no predefined topics, participating mentors could suggest any topic for a session. The final schedule for Saturday ended up as follows:
Carsten visited the Licensing clarity session, in which the participants reported the same issues with licensing we have: which license should be used, which license is compatible with the license used, missing tools to select the best fitting license, etc.. His next session was the Code hosting & CI/CD platforms. The chair reported about his work on Git at GitLab. Most of the participants of this session use GitHub and Travis and reported that the majority of their issues were related to Travis because it uses old OS versions or builds breaks close to the end of the code. In the Gerrit code review session some Google representatives presented Gerrit and the attendees were able to aks questions. The last session Carsten visited on Saturday was the Climate emissions and IoT. The chair started a discussion about a centralized cloud platform to which citizen scientists can upload their air pollutant data. The platform could also harvest data from other platforms like luftdaten.info or hackair. The discussion also considered the quality of the data.
In the afternoon, a drone was used to take the group photo:
The gala dinner was a more formal event – a beautiful candle light (buffet) dinner. Due to technical problems with the projector, the second lightening talk session took place with quite some delay. Therefore, the third lighning talk session was rescheduled for Sunday morning. The lightning talks from Saturday evening can be found here: https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/1qoN2fw7VfUtKsgPgre_iJ7Bkz7NYrU6C
On Sunday, the unconference continued following this schedule:
Carsten visited the GSoC Feedback session moderated by Stephanie Taylor, the main person responsible for GSoC at Google. The discussion covered the GSoC time period, i.e. when it takes place, the bonding period (many students have exams during this time). There were suggestions to extend GSoC to half or a whole year and whether or not only students can participate. After that session, the third lightning talks session was held. Organizations presented their projects in 180 seconds.
You can find the session notes from Saturday and Sunday here: https://sites.google.com/view/gsoc-mentorsummit2019/more-info/session-notes
In the closing session, many mentors shared their impressions about the event and everybody thanked the Google reps, especially Stephanie, who made the event a great success. After the session, Carten an I gathered our luggage and we returned home to Münster by train ( on time!!!). It was an interesting 3.5 days, we met many nice people, learned interesting things and also had a lot of fun! On a side note, it turned out that I was one of the raffle winners and I got a pair of GSoC socks (GSocks)!
GSoC 2020 has already been announced and 52°North will apply again. For more information visit our wiki: https://wiki.52north.org/Projects/GSoC.
To learn about the work that was done by our GSoC 2019 students have a look here: