Getting Ready for JS.geo

I’m looking forward to next week’s JS.geo event in Denver. It is a small event, spearheaded by Chris Helm of Esri, that focuses on the use of Javascript in geospatial applications. Although I have been more vocal in my recent explorations with Python, I’ve probably done as much, if not more, work with Javascript over the past 18 months.

The pace of innovation with Javascript in the geospatial area has been staggering. It seems like only a short time ago that the options for working with geospatial applications were OpenLayers and theEsri Javascript API. The rapid advent of tools such as GeoExt, Leaflet, and many others has really lead to a explosion of capability. Of course, the recent buzz has been about D3, which tackles a wide range of data visualization problems, including geo. D3 is of particular interest because it is tackling the issue of projection in the browser, freeing applications from the dominance of Web Mercator.

Of course, it’s not been all about the browser, either as Node.js has made abundantly clear. One of the most effective desktop applications for cartographic design, TileMill, is built with Node, among other tools.

The maturity of Javascript as a tool for geospatial development is such that I am at the point that, if it weren’t for government customers that are still standardized on Internet Explorer 8 or older, a plug-in-based environment would not be my first choice for a new application.

As for the JS.geo event itself, I am intrigued by its small, focused nature. It doesn’t seem to be as informal as an unconference but may be easier to digest than the typical geo event. It will also be great to catch up with the Front Range crowd.