Bend it like Queenslanders at GeoRabble Brisbane #1

GeoRabble Brisbane #1 rocked! We had 107 registrations  and although the numbers on the night are uncertain it was BIG. As the hordes arrived the organizers gave up on checkins, threw the pages of sticky name labels into the crowd and joined the party. Rain threatened and Lord of the Rabble Rob Clout was stressing, but on the night it was perfection and the outdoor venue (PigNWhistle) overlooking the river was sublime . The show went on and many people stayed on to rabble on late into the night. If you were there, or if you took any photos, we’d love to hear from you! If you weren’t there but wish you were, well, we’d love to hear from you also. Add a comment or send a tweet to @georabble !

Great venue on a beautiful evening by the river at the PigNWhistle Eagle St
Some evening highlights…

and we're off! as first speaker Dr Ben Guy is introduced by MC Rob Clout

Opening speaker Dr Ben Guy  did not disappoint! Ben charmed, challenged and entertained. He’s a dynamic speaker,  you won’t see better in a TED talks video. Ben threw down the gauntlet to conventional planning and took the crowd on a high speed, visually-packed idea-filled journey through urban planning disasters and the power of 3D to open minds and change the world.

“Show us a map!!” was the cry after perhaps one too many  CouchDB code slides from “coder by day and night”  Damien Oehlman. For the remainder of his presentation Damon kept the geo crowd happy by regularly flicking back to a slide showing a map. Fortunately for those who cutup in class, all is forgiven and Damon has put his slides online so that you can catch up at home.


Simon Elvery was a dream-speaker, a natural story-teller with wit and wisdom beyond his years. Like the character of Christian in the allegorical Pilgrim’s Progress, Simon set out on his own journey: 18 months with a GPS strapped to himself.

Simon Elvery talks about the GPS data that described his life for 18 months

Simon enthralled. As enthusiastic novice there was no high tech waffle. His was an enjoyable narrative, with all of the elements: suspense, humor, drama, disappointment, and success. Some highlights…

– a lot of photos of his feet and some wild GPS tracking results
– the data doesn’t always give us what we hope for
– sometimes someone else with better gear has already been there
– it is not always about the expertise or the technology, it is about the journey and having fun along the way

Simon has  posted his presentation to

Speaker Brian Reeves had some fascinating high resolution images of cracks in the road surface and showed a genuine passion and knowledge of the technologies that can collect this data while moving at 100 kms an hour. Interesting, I’d like to see more!

Last to the podium was lovely Queensland artist Megan Cope. Megan faced a well lubricated crowd but dived in bravely…she seemed a bit surprised to discover that even geo-geeks might have an inner artist. As Megan mesmerised with her fascinating and beautiful maps the rabble went all calm, right-brained and Zen (I’d swear they started swaying gently). Megan stayed to mingle long after the event. She later told me that this incredible community of people involved in some way in maps was a revelation to her and that the experience would influence her art in new directions. Wow, how good is that?!

Now, if you think that we should do it all again, well, the call is out for potential speakers and for more volunteer organisers for Brisbane.


For posterity…here is the perfect recipe for GeoRabble fun…

1. A dedicated, talented, willing, available organizing team … for GeoRabbble#1 we had Graeme Browning, Rob Clout @robclout,  Jody Garnett @jodygarnett, Stewart Hay @OhMyDeity Nick Lawrence @remoraynebula,  Megan Stanley, Yvonne Thompson @yvonnert , Karl Warschau @KarlCW

2. Open with raucous laughter and presentation by Stewart Hay,  spoofing some conventions of traditional conferences. The barbs hit their marks, with help from some great visuals provided by Cisco Urbina, one of the cool gang of GeoRabble founders in Sydney.

Rabblers, sponsor and organisers

3. A generous sponsor (Peter Dalton of GIS Recruitment, at centre left in the above photo) who also ponies up for free trays of delicious food!

4. A hip  Master of Rabble Ceremonies – Rob Clout, who  reveals his inner showman, keeps things entirely to time and openly encourages heckling.

and we're off! as first speaker Dr Ben Guy is introduced by MC Rob Clout

4. Line up five or six terrific speakers with a variety of subject matter, including some offbeat stuff and encourage them to let down their guard, be themselves  and discover the spirit of GeoRabble.

5. A raucous, irreverent, relaxed and participatory audience. This part is easy when in Queensland it turns out! This is The Land of Rabble.

Peter Timmers and other GeoRabble Brisbane participants.

6. Hang around afterwards to catch up with old friends and make new ones

Photo 17-04-12 9 41 50 PM

This event has been reported by GeoRabbler Yvonne Thompson.

4 thoughts on “Bend it like Queenslanders at GeoRabble Brisbane #1”

  1. Dear Yvonne,
    What you have accomplished with your team sounds really fascinating and cutting-edge. We are so proud of you!
    All the best for all your future endeavours,
    Arianna and Stefano

    1. Thanks my Adelaide Friends! Since the aim is world domination maybe the Rabble leaders can get a GeoRabble Adelaide going. If only we could find some more volunteers….

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