AGU Fall Meeting 2018 continues the new rotating cities plan into Washington, D.C. This was a great conference, and easily and economically accessible for an event drawing over 20,000 professionals.
Like New Orleans, the Walter Washington Convention Center could hold nearly all events under one roof, with some smaller events in the Marriott Marquis across the street. This is much more useful than the spread over 3 Moscone Center buildings plus several nearby hotels necessary in San Francisco. The bikeshare, scootershare and rideshare options made accessing the conference venue while staying in economical locations across the city quite easy.
The venue WiFi worked OK, and certainly far better than prior years. The claptrap temporary setups of WiFi APs dangling from the rafters was not apparent, thankfully. We were able to collaborate without needing to resort to our own 4G modems.
While the on-site food court had variety, it was as is puzzlingly typical of conference venues, quite lacking in vegetarian and vegan options.
A key characteristic of AGU Fall Meeting is bringing together over 20,000 scientists studying topics from riverine to exoplanets, public policy, data curation and education. As with the New Orleans Convention Center, the Walter Washington Convention Center had every poster in the same large room, instead of being split up among two or three buildings as in San Francisco Moscone Center.
The NRL booth size was once again one of the largest and quite impressive. Of note was a climate change denial booth, where a lot of selfies were being taken, if not pamphlets.
Carbon-reducing travel to AGU Fall Meeting was more popularly cited in 2018, as noted by a casual search of #trAinGU and “#AGU18 Amtrak” yielding many dozens of posts and replies, nearly all positive. While the Northeast Corridor and Carolinian were no-brainers for getting to D.C., others were taking cross-county multi-night trips on Amtrak once again to get to the 2018 AGU Fall Meeting–excellent!
Staying at a downtown conference hotel can approach $500/night, and Washington, D.C. is no exception. However, staying a short subway trip away, one could easily find whole-home rentals for well under $100/night, even booked shortly before the conference.