In the last two weeks I attended two major events of the annual geo-calendar, Intergeo 2010 in Cologne, Germany, and AGI GeoCommunity in Stratford-upon-Avon, England. I attended these events as a delegate, exhibitor and (at AGI only) speaker. So – how did the two countries compare?
Attendees & exhibitors: Intergeo claimed over 10,000 delegates vs AGI, 500. The Intergeo was relatively quiet so I don’t quite believe the official numbers but in any case it was still in the thousands. In terms of exhibitors, it was 500 vs 15 or so. An easy first goal for Germany. Germany 1 – England 0.
Keynote audiences. At Intergeo the Day 1 keynotes started off with an audience of about 300-400 but, by Day 2, Jack Dangermond’s plenary talk was down to only 150 listeners (even though it was very good, and even though it was a combined audience with the EnviroInfo conference). By Day 3 the FIG president was talking to a rather humble 45 occupied seats. At AGI, by contrast, the Day 1 plenaries were packed with 400+ people (80% of all delegates!), tailing off to maybe 200 on Day 2. To be fair, the focus at Intergeo is on the exhibition, and at AGI on the conference. But still – England scores an equalising goal. Germany 1 – England 1.
Average age. Probably on the wrong side of 40 at either event (yes I can talk, being 39.9 years old at the time of writing). At AGI the W3G pre-conference audience was no doubt much younger (I wasn’t there), and at Intergeo a whole boatload of students suddenly turned up on Day 3. Hmm… that’s a draw – nobody scores here. Germany 1 – England 1.
Diversity female/male. If there really were 10,000 people at Intergeo then 9,900 must have been male. At AGI it was a lot more balanced, perhaps 2/3 male 1/3 female? Also many speakers at AGI were female, including the keynote by the CBI Chief Economist or the winning presentation by the Coal Authority. England pulls ahead. Germany 1 – England 2.
Positivity. Amongst the economic gloom and doom there were still many glimpses of positivity at both events. The Intergeo exhibition floor was buzzing with energy in a lot of places and you could hear a lot of laughter around (the conference presentations were less happy but we’ll come to that). At Stratford it was the reverse: the exhibition floor seemed suicidal at times but there were a lot of good & upbeat presentations – jeez, even the CBI economist sounded optimistic. On balance, well done for both events. Both score. Germany 2 – England 3.
Negativity. Some economic gloom was inevitable but the ESRI keynote at AGI was so downbeat that it set a new standard for geo-anxiety – it left many people baffled (not just Ed Parsons). But the Germans also indulged in some self-flagellation. The Intergeo Think Thank 2015 Debate was best summed up by the quote “the geo-industry is like a fish bowl, we think the world is made of glass.” Come on guys, a bit more optimism please! Both countries scored an own-goal here. Germany 3, England 4.
My booth is bigger than your booth. To continue with ESRI as a benchmark of the geo-mood, I measured their German booth at Intergeo. At 25x30m it was about the size of 2 tennis courts or 2 standard-size swimming pools. If you include their subsidiaries like Conterra or Sicad, who were next door, it was almost half a football field packed with geo-energy – and that was just one company! How can two ESRI franchises in two countries seem so different? And why is a single German booth bigger than the entire exhibition floor in the UK? Ok, the events have different focus but still, come on! Germany scores. Germany 4 – England 3
Highlights. AGI definitely had the more interesting presentations, my personal highlights being the CASA and Cabinet Office talks. Intergeo had more buzz on the floor (obviously) but I would be hard-pressed to remember one particular event as a highlight. Let’s give this point to England. Germany 4 – England 4.
Business leads. End users are always under-represented at geo events – you always end up talking to suppliers, partners or competitors rather than customers. But looking at the sheer numbers of delegates and the resulting probabilities of leads, Intergeo wins by a country mile. Personally I ended up with a couple of great leads at Intergeo, although this is naturally a biased reflection of my own requirements. Germany 5 – England 4
Fun. Many Intergeo exhibitors organised their own parties in the evening. Some were good but sadly all were all by invitation only. Invitations (or lack of them) were strictly enforced. At AGI, by contrast, the soapbox geo-comedy contest provided some welcome light relief from the day’s more serious events, followed by the traditional Geocommunity party which is open to all and offers ‘free’ food, drinks and games. Easy choice. Germany 5 – England 5
So we have a draw. Here come the penalty shoot-outs.
This will of course be highly objective…
I liked Jack Dangermond’s tie at Intergeo.
Germany 6 – England 5.
The AGI bar in Stratford had Lagavulin whisky.
Germany 6 – England 6.
In Cologne you can buy trousers with 38” inside leg.
Germany 7 – England 6.
I won a 3D model of Shakespeare’s house at AGI
Germany 7 – England 7.
In Cologne, hotel tax is optional. They charge 5% but you can opt out “if you wish” !?
Germany 8 – England 7.
Twitter was much more used/useful at AGI than at Intergeo.
Germany 8 – England 8.
Exhibition freebies: maglite torches at AGI vs kites at Intergeo.
Germany 8 – England 9.
Take a wrong turn at Intergeo and you’re at a biker convention and given free cigarette lighters
Germany 9, England 9
This could go on forever. Do you have any more? Or shall we just say that Intergeo was more useful and AGI more fun… you should go to both. Auf wiedersehen and bis next year.