The name WhereCamp raised more questions than answers when I knew there was going to be one in Madison, following from the NACIS conference. As I discovered a WhereCamp is an 'unconference': a user-generated conference covering topics only relevant to the attendees.
The format went something like this:
Attendees gather for coffee and a chat, we introduce ourselves and state what issues or topics are of interest to us and what skills and knowledge we can bring to the table. From here topics are distilled and general topics listed and a program organised. People break off into the sessions they wish to attend and round table discussions are had be those interested. This brings a broad range of people to the table - those with a large about of knowledge in a field, to those that are just beginning to learn about it, and everyone in between.
I spent the day in three discussions: one on web mapping fundamentals, for those that are just getting their head around designing maps for the web and the various technologies associated with this; the second on data, in particular crowd sourced data and volunteer geographic information (VGI) and the issues of using this in science. Finally the last discussion was on web mapping and design, in particular the user experience.
The WhereCampMSN was held in the Great Hall, Memorial Union building at the University of Wisconsin, a spectacular building overlooking Lake Mendota.