Building Open Source Community in Pandemic
2021-09-29, 11:00–11:30, Buenos Aires

Building an open-source community is already a huge effort. The covid-19 pandemic made this even harder. We started the QGIS Indonesia community - then it called QGIS ID, an Indonesian QGIS User Group while trying to overcome the pandemic. We manage to have one big meet-up before any social meeting is prohibited. As a new entity, we need to emphasize our existence through a couple of activities. In the circumstance of these limitations, we need to think more innovatively to look for some ways to keep the action of this community. We do not want this pandemic to dampen our enthusiasm for developing the newly formed community. one of the keys to deal with tough situations is adaptation. Upon the limitations to meet physically, we plan some events whereby all participants may join from everywhere, even without the need to leave their house.
In this talk, we manage to build the QGIS ID community by creating several online events and also what challenges that we faced. We want to share what we did and hopefully, it can be an inspiration for other open-source communities. We will also share what’s our strategy to run the community without too much administration because we believe the community is the people and the other things can be done later.

We started our 1st meetup in Yogyakarta right before Covid-19 spread in Indonesia, there were 60-80 participants who joined the event. Initially, we have created a plan to hold another event in 2020 to collaborate with another GIS/geospatial community. However, Indonesia Government applied a physical distancing policy were limiting the people to create events in March 2020.
In the circumstance of these limitations, we need to think more innovatively to look for some ways to keep the action of this community. We started with creating a Telegram group and other social media to share our activities and discussions between the member.
Besides that, we create an online sharing event with a presenter from Indonesia and aboard (the good thing about an online meeting). QGIS ID is also becoming more and more popular. We have almost 2000 members in the Telegram groups. We also collaborate with other organizations to do a sharing session, training or doing a project. Last but not the least, we created a QGISID “Di Rumah Aja” QGIS Indonesia “stay at home” where we create an online contest on what they do with QGIS during the pandemic time.
All of the activities are free of charge. All the expenses are funded by selling QGIS ID merchandise (t-shirt and Tumblr). It’s a good way to raise funds when you do not want to charge for membership.
Besides that, we also want to share what challenges that we faced, for example, the characteristic of our community which made mailing list an obsolete thing or how difficult to get a new volunteer to join the community.

Authors and Affiliations

Ismail Sunni, Muhammad Iqnaul Haq, Adi Kurniawan (1)

(1) QGIS Indonesia


Community / OSGeo


Community & participatory FOSS4G


1 - Principiants. No required specific knowledge is needed.

Language of the Presentation


A software engineer who has an interest in open source geospatial and its community. I am from Indonesia but currently based in Germany and helping to grow the QGIS community in Indonesia.

Iqnaul is a geospatial enthusiast who loves the intersection of spatial mapping, open-source geospatial, and open data to solve global challenges. He works at the Cartography team in a Ridehailing company in Indonesia. He helped form up and an active member of the QGIS Indonesia community.