I’m happy to see that James has decided keep Planet Geospatial going. It’s been one of the more consistently valuable resources in the community since its inception and it’s good that it will continue.

While I’m looking forward to seeing how James evolves Planet Geospatial, there are ways to more efficiently extract value out of its current state right now. At its core, Planet Geospatial is an RSS feed. RSS can safely be called “venerable” nowadays, but it still does what it does very well.

Two of my favorite tools for culling down the firehose that is Planet Geospatial are IFTTT (the title of this post is a riff on the IFTTT motto) and Evernote. If you’re not familiar with IFTTT, you should be. It reminds me of a more-intuitive Yahoo Pipes and it allows you to mix channels, triggers, and actions to automate processes of your choosing. It’s become by preferred method of synchronizing my blog with social media and for filtering data sources. It also drives the Unofficial QGIS Info Twitter account.

Evernote is becoming a key tool for me to store and access notes and other kinds of information. The fact that it runs on every device I own in addition to browsers makes it very useful for me as I move between customer locations.

When James first posted that he was wondering what to do with Planet Geospatial, I shared with him an IFTTT recipe that inserts posts from Planet Geospatial about PostGIS into an Evernote notebook. He kindly tweeted it.

I usually have three to four such filters running, depending upon topics that I’m watching. Currently, I’m grabbing posts about PostGIS, GeoJSON, and CartoCSS. These filters allow me to peruse the posts at my leisure without worrying about missing them. I can delete them from my notebook or save them as I see fit. For me, it’s like having a DVR for Planet Geospatial.

Ultimately, Planet Geospatial is an information source. It just happens to be an information source that’s based on a mature, open, well-documented, and widely adopted standard. As such, there’s no need to wait for James to evolve it into something else. We can take it and transform it to meet our needs and then share it back. It’s been a great community resource for a long time; it will be fun to see what the community can do with it.

Bill Dollins

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geospatial technologies and practices

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