One of the perks of being an ESRI intern is that I get to visit the ESRI UC, the world's largest digital mapping conference. I brought my XO-1.5 and showed off some mapping activities. It was quite the oddity and there were tons of questions. If anyone wants to add ESRI WMS / Community Maps to the activity you're just about guaranteed a spot in their research journal.
I co-presented a light topic (Tweets and photos and video mash-ups!) and we got some positive feedback from Twitter. I also met folks from the Army Corps of Engineers and World Wildlife Foundation who'd enjoyed our demo.
There was an international development session with talks by maps.worldbank.org and USAID. There was a lot of information shared by Ushahidi, too, but surprisingly few questions for their presenter. This community is moving to accept crowdsourcing but it is a few years away from entering the business/donation model. Also there were many pictures of points on an OpenLayers/OpenStreetMap but few making use of their own map additions, advanced GIS mapping, or ESRI's tools. I ought to promote my ESRI/Ushahidi work some more.
Finally, I went to the Africa Special Interest Group. ESRI's head of education is proposing a major new plan to bring mapping to 100 African universities, with licenses for "one-to-one" use of the program by students. No specifics about countries, but West Africa and Kenya were on the list. Shades of OLPCorps? OpenStreetMap and ESRI's alternate program were both featured. I would like to pursue this further, especially since one of my projects can be repurposed to help us support the many alphabets used in West Africa.