FOSS4G Quick Hits

I had the distinct pleasure of attending my first FOSS4G conference in Denver last week. Having not attended one previously, I can only rely on the opinions of others that this has been the best FOSS4G yet. For me, this was best geospatial conference I have attended. I’ll probably blog in more detail about some of the things I saw but here are my high-level observations:

It's time to refresh your thinking about open-source geospatial tools.

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Pre-FOSS4G Roundup

I’m getting ready to head out to Denver for the 2011 installment of FOSS4G. It seems like my biggest problem will be figuring out how to clone myself in order to sit in every session. Open-source geospatial is such a vibrant and active area right now that there’s just so much to see and learn.

A couple of things of note (to me) before I head out the door:

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Using Dynamic Non-Spatial Data In GeoCommons

In my previous post, I described how I used a Python script to scrape power outage information from a local web site and convert it into an RSS feed. In this post, I’ll show how I used GeoCommons to visualize the changing information over time.

The process starts by creating a data set in GeoCommmons based on a URL link to the feed created in the previous post. The general process for doing that can be found here in the GeoCommons documentation.

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Ten-Second Tidy

Things have been a bit hectic the last few weeks and that’s left little time for blogging. Quite a bit has happened so I thought I’d do a little round-up (if for no other reason than to clear my own head).


In no particular order:

Steve Coast to Microsoft (I told you it had been a while) – Firstly, congratulations to Steve (#sincerity). Secondly, this clearly is the final proof that crowd-sourced data in general, and OpenStreetMaps (sic) in particular, has no real value when compared to “authoritative” data sources (#sarcasm).

Google Fusion Tables – The only real problem at this point is the size limitation but, otherwise, this will be a game-changer for storing and sharing data. In its current form, it’s already fairly easy to push your data up and expose it through Google’s APIs. It’ll be interesting to see if it gets easier. Support for spatial queries hints at some analytical capability, too. Speaking of which…

Analytics in GeoCommons – This is one to watch. They are debuting a new function each day on their blog. FortiusOne builds their platform API-first, UI-second so everything they are showing should be exposed through their APIs. This will be a huge step in moving cloud-based geospatial technology from the “bit-bucket” stage to having a more complete workflow on the cloud infrastructure.

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