Yesterday I did a couple of talks at the AGI Northern Group Showcase in York, one of which was titled “A Beginners Guide to GitHub for Geospatial Folk”. Given that, for various reasons, I was managing on 3 hours sleep and fuelled by caffeine and jammy dodger biscuits, it seemed quite well-received, so I thought I’d expand on it a bit here. There are definitely some major hurdles for “beginners” to overcome when faced with going public on GitHub.
A couple of weeks ago we had an Astun “Company Hackathon” for the first time, after the success of the MapAction Hackathon that we hosted a couple of months ago. I think it was a big success, and something that we will continue with in future. You might ask what the big deal is about a hackathon- we’re a technology company, what’s the difference between a hackathon and our normal work?
On Friday I attended the inaugrual meeting of the UKQGIS User Group, set up by Simon Miles and Matt Travis in sunny Maidenhead. I’d been asked to do a presentation about Portable GIS, which both surprised and flattered me, and they actually gave out USB sticks with it on to all the delegates (kindly sponsored by Ordnance Survey). So anyhow, I gave a brief intro into Portable GIS, it’s history, what’s currently installed, and what plans I have for the next version.
aka that mythical time post FOSS4G 2013 So where to start? This feels really weird. I first discussed bringing FOSS4G to the UK in 2006, at the first “official” (don’t start on the lineage of the name, this isn’t the place) FOSS4G with my colleagues at the time, Chris and Leif, and Tyler Mitchell. It was (is?) still on the list of objectives in the UK chapter pages on the OSGeo website.
So after months of silence, I’m finally putting virtual pen to virtual paper again- Archaeogeek is not dead after all! I could have written any number of posts over the last few months, on the trials and tribulations of organising a major international conference for one thing- but I think I’ll save those for after the event… Instead- a couple of things that have caught my eye recently: firstly a fantastic post on the problems of cartography on Pluto in the new Wired MapLab.
In all the years that I’ve been involved with open source, I’ve been a committed advocate for the idea that you don’t need to be a coder to get involved. I’m definitely not a coder- I can write a script or two, and have been known to submit bugs, but that’s as far as it goes. My strengths are in identifying and fixing problems, and getting other people enthused. That’s all well and good, but hackathons- they are for real coders, right?
Last week I attended the AGI (Association for Geographic Information) Scotland Showcase- the first in a series of events designed to jump-start the AGI’s regional and special interest groups. It was extremely well-attended, with approximately 140 delegates, which bodes well for future events! The venue was fantastic too- at the rather lovely Hunter Halls in the University of Glasgow. Not un-surprisingly there was a distinctly Scottish theme to the papers, and my take-away thought is that the Scottish GI industry does seem to be doing things on its own, separate from what’s going on in the rest of the UK.
The third in an occasional series of posts dabbling in PgRouting Once you’ve got your PgRouting database configured in PostgreSQL (see here and here for more information) you might want to use the routing data in an online map. There are a number of tutorials around for doing this using geoserver, and some information on using mapserver, but also a distressing number of posts pleading for assistance! So, in the spirit of sharing, this is my attempt to pull the various bits of advice together into something a bit more comprehensive.
One of the things I’ve wanted to fix with Portable GIS is the method of installing new python packages. Since the version of Python included in Portable GIS is not in the windows registry, many python installers don’t work because they can’t find the installation. This includes packages like setuptools, and Pip, for easily installing packages from PyPi. While it’s possible to manually download a package and extract it into the correct location, that’s not fun, elegant, or sustainable, as it takes no account of dependencies or versions.