All hail the mighty water cooler – the oft-praised bastion of corporate culture, where the strategies of organizations great and small are made or destroyed in the hushed tones of whispered conversations among those who gather for daily hydration.
By now, everyone who can has been working remotely for several weeks. Companies are starting to ponder what to do as the world opens back up. A fewhave already committed to fully remote work going forward while many others of all sizes are trying to divine how they will move forward.
Work in the new all-remote world has actually been quite busy, and I realize I am very fortunate to be able to say that. But we know what they say about all work and no play. For me, play often involves cracking open an IDE, especially since work for me isn’t centered on that anymore. This post is a loose roundup of extracurricular activities that have gotten some attention lately.
I spent the better part of a decade and a half building geospatial applications in support of infrastructure analysis. Not infrastructure in the modern tech sense of containers and cloud providers and orchestration, but infrastructure in the classic sense of roads and rail and telecommunications. If we consider infrastructure through the lens of the ISO/OSI layered model, I spent a lot of time looking at the physical layer.
Human geography or anthropogeography is the branch of geography that deals with the study of people and their communities, cultures, economies, and interactions with the environment by studying their relations with and across space and place.
I was catching up with my friend and former boss, Tony Quartararo, a couple of days ago when our discussion got around to behavioral changes we have made in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent lock-downs and social distancing guidelines. Not surprisingly, given our backgrounds, geography figured in strongly.
The use case we discussed was grocery shopping. Both of us admitted to limiting our choices of venue to those that we knew from memory, so that we could gather groceries and proceed to the exit as expeditiously as possible. This has the effect of geographically constraining our choices to our immediate locality. Even in the case of large chain grocers, the floorplan of each store varies widely.
Or Skype, or Google Meet, or GoToMeeting, or whatever.
As I bounce around social media, I keep running across a lot of spurious advice on how to project a “professional” impression as you, like everyone else, participates in video calls from home. This seems to be particularly true on LinkedIn.
The cursor flashes, waiting for a command.Any command.An editor window is open,Empty.The fan does not hum, with nothing to cool.The keyboard simply restsAs dust,Illuminated by the stripes of sunlightmoving across the desk,Settles between its idle keys. It all taunts meWith the truth: There is no map I can make,No chart,No graph,No query,No post nor comment; … Read more Nonessential
Data conflation is a meat-and-potatoes task in most GIS workflows. There are numerous reasons one might need to get data from one data set into another. Perhaps you want to attach a new geometry type to existing attributes or a table. Or maybe you need to pull attributes from one or more data sets into a single, “master” version. I have seen this latter use case referred to as “attribute transfer.” In an interactive, desktop setting, this can be tedious, but it’s a task at which spatial SQL excels.
Here is a simple example that uses just one line of spatial SQL (or two lines if you need to add the column) to do the heavy lifting. First, some table setting. This example takes the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases from the Johns Hopkins university county-level data (a point data set) and transfers it to a polygon data set of the US counties. There’s one caveat at the end of this post.
I have addressed the topic of triggered notifications a couple of times on this blog previously. I’ve taken the opportunity to apply the technique to a current use case – the ability to get notifications whenever the confirmed count of COVID-19 cases changes in my county or surrounding ones.
Using the “f=geojson” parameter, it is possible to download the data in a format (GeoJSON) that is readily consumable by OGR. As a result, I was able to initiate a core workflow using the following steps.
I don’t write code as much as I used to, but I have to return to it every so often to keep my sanity. With the current world situation, there are a lot of dashboards going up, many of which are based on the EsriOperations Dashboard or ArcGIS Hub.
I got thinking about a previous crisis in which Fulcrum and Esri’s Koop were used to great effect and started wondering if I could make the interaction between the two easier. Koop, at its core, takes GeoJSON and transforms it to be consumed by clients that can handle ArcGIS feature services.
Fulcrum has two primary ways to expose data as GeoJSON feeds – data shares and the Fulcrum Query API. Koop has a provider that handles arbitrary GeoJSON feeds quite well. It can be found here. In order to use that provider with Fulcrum, the only option is to use Fulcrum data shares. That works really well, but data shares have a couple of drawbacks. First, they are always public. Second, there is a limit to the number of shares that can be enabled from an account. Third, the data is shared all or nothing, so columns cannot be filtered.
Even though I work from home full time, I have a little extra time available since most things have been closed by a gubernatorial executive order. During downtime, I’m doing a little tidying, and it’s amazing the things you find and realize you’ve held onto.
At this time twenty years ago, I was probably be in some conference room receiving this plaque along with a couple dozen other people as our efforts related to Y2K had concluded. Our effort was small – to monitor potential degradation to physical infrastructure related to any unfixed Y2K bugs. The real work had been occurring for a few years prior, to get the world ready for the rollover. I couldn’t help but think about the parallels to the current COVID-19 situation.