Triggered Notifications Using PostGIS, Redux

A while back, I wrote a post about using Python to generate triggered notifications in PostGIS. The approach described in that post is somewhat fraught with peril and I’ve learned a little bit more since then, so I have a different approach, using PostgreSQL NOTIFY and LISTEN, which I’ll describe here.

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A few years ago, we sold our house and moved into a new one that we had built. The old house happened to be the one in which I had grown up. The process of disconnecting from that house got me back in touch with a lot of tasks that had become muscle memory. For example, mowing the lawn.

I had mowed that lawn roughly every week since middle school. By the time I was mowing it for what I realized was the last time, I could have done so blindfolded. I knew where every obstacle was and knew every contour in the ground. I had long since stopped paying attention to the task. There were many other things that I realized had become the same for me.

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Making a Change

Most of my January has been a process that culminated in today’s announcement that I will be moving on from Zekiah and joining the team at Spatial Networks, where I will be taking on the role of Vice President of Engineering and Technology.

I’ve been at Zekiah for fifteen years and have had the pleasure to do groundbreaking and meaningful work for a variety of federal customers. During that time, I’ve worked with a lot of incredibly talented people and the current team is no exception. The company and its customers are in great hands and the geospatial team, led by Eric Mahaffey, is poised to do great things. A little inside baseball: There’s never been an instance where the partners at Zekiah didn’t completely agree on a course of action. It’s been a great experience to have such trust in your colleagues, and they have been completely supportive of my decision. I’ve learned a hell of a lot about business while getting to do a lot of great work. I leave with no complaints.

I am looking forward to joining another incredible team at Spatial Networks. After 23 years as a federal/defense contractor, I am excited about the change of focus to a commercial setting. I’ll be working remotely, with periodic trips to St. Petersburg, Florida. The team at Spatial Networks is highly motivated with a strong sense of purpose and I expect we’re going to have a lot of fun while building great tools.

HIFLD Open January 2017 Updates

I just got an announcement in my inbox of a major update to HIFLD Open. A number of new data sets have been added, along with updates to many others. The announcement also addressed HIFLD Secure, but I won’t touch upon that here. From the flyer attached to the email, here are the updates. If you are so inclined, it’s time to get scraping.

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Thank You for 10 Years

My last few posts have been bit…shall we say…retrospective, so I won’t dwell there too much this time.

The beginning of this month saw the ten-year anniversary of my first post on this blog. A lot has changed during that time in the geospatial industry. I am fascinated by the tools, concepts, and issues that were important to me a decade ago.

A quick skim of posts and comments reveal a number of relationships that began through this blog, jumped over to social media, and eventually found their way into real life. More than any technology that I may have written about, the people I have come to know as result of writing this blog are invaluable to me.

So I will leave it at this, today: To everyone who has read, shared, re-posted, commented, clarified, or otherwise participated in this endeavor with me, thank you. I can only hope that the value you have received from this blog approaches a fraction of that which I have gained from you.

I can’t wait to see what the next ten years has in store.

Post GIS

Early in my career, I was interviewing for a job with a large, three-letter, consulting firm. I was going to be the “GIS guy” on the team. The interview was wide ranging and went well. We eventually got around to the topic of dynamic maps on web sites. To place this in the proper technology context, this was 1998.


As it happened, I had some experience with web mapping as I had just implemented ArcView IMS for my soon-to-be-former employer. Avenue and HTML, FTW!

The hiring manager, being a mainline IT guy and a tech geek at heart, began to postulate how they must work. In this mind, there was a database full of small JPEG or GIF images that you queried and sent to the browser, based on the user’s current map extent. This, of course, was preposterous to a “GIS guy” like me.

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A Funny Thing Happened On the Way to a Calendar

The call for maps for the 2017 GeoHipster calendar has closed and review is underway. I haven’t begun collating the responses yet, so I have no idea how it will turn out, but I can say that, for me, the process so far has been personally rewarding.


I was not involved in the making of the 2015 calendar. When it came time to considering doing one for 2016, I volunteered to coordinate¬†the process; with no idea what to expect. We had quite a response and I was impressed with the quality of the work received. Because it was my first time through, I was pretty consumed by the process and probably didn’t get to give as much consideration to the art that was before me.

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