Things have been kind of quiet on the blog lately due to things being busy at work. I call that a good problem to have. Since the beginning of the year, I’ve written a a lot of proposals for a mixture of potential customers. Interestingly, I’m seeing a lot more call for “GIS Analyst” work. One trend I’ve noticed, at least in the Federal sector, is that the time between proposal due dates and award announcements seems to be lengthening. That may be an indication of the ongoing flux in funding and organizations try to figure out how to fund their requirements. It will be interesting to see how it shakes out. Of course, it’s good that the opportunities are there in the first place.
One the technical side of things, I’ve been involved in a smattering of things that’s made it hard to roll up one good post. I’m pretty heavily involved in the PIM efforts that my colleague, Barry Schimpf, has been blogging about over on the Zekiah blog.
It’s rather fitting that the second plenary talk on Wednesday had to do with “firehose” applications since the FOSS4G North America (FOSS4GNA) conference was something of a firehose in itself. Despite the fact that the event was smaller than the worldwide event in Denver back in October, I came away with the same “full brain” feeling.
Of course, given the recent production release of PostGIS 2.0, that was kind of the big story for this event. I attended a number of PostGIS/PostgreSQL-related sessions and came away with lots of new information. I especially enjoyed Paul Ramsey’s “what’s new” talk on Wednesday. One thing I enjoy about his talks (here and in Denver) is that he’s not afraid to throw sample SQL up on the screen. It’s one thing to hear about a new feature but it’s another thing entirely to see a concrete example. Some may find the idea of raw SQL in a presentation abhorrent but it worked for me.
We are working with a Federal Government customer that had the interesting policy that users can install software as long as it makes no changes to the Windows registry. These users are currently running a mix of Windows 7 and XP. We are working with them to help manage one of their data models. In this case, it’s more about performing configuration management on the model/standard itself rather than physical databases with real data in them. It’s a topic we touched on over at the Zekiah blog here and an approach we have used successfully for years to manage the SDSFIE data standard.
My project work the last few months has kept me away from a lot of my favorite open-source tools and I was starting to get hives. Specifically, it had been a while since I had worked with PostgreSQL and PostGIS and I was missing the experience, so I dreamed up something to do.
I do a lot of work implementing situational awareness systems for my customers and one common requirement is automated notification of events. I decided that I wanted to roll a completely FOSS approach to sending an SMS notification based upon the results of a spatial query. This post will discuss the basic wiring to make it all work. I’ll probably add more advanced features in subsequent posts but I’ll be sticking to the basics for now.
If you’ve been to the Obtuse Software site recently, you may or may not have noticed a change to the “Who We Are” page. It now lists only Abe Gillespie and Paolo Corti. Prior to my trip to Colorado to talk about zigGIS at GIS in the Rockies, I informed Abe and Paolo that I would be stepping back from any “official” involvement in Obtuse.
This does not mean that I am stepping back from involvement in zigGIS. I plan to continue to support zigGIS as it returns to open-source but, in truth, I haven’t done much with zigGIS day-to-day in a long time. As part of the return of zigGIS to open-source at version 3.0, Abe has been working on a plan to give the community multiple paths to support the project, including sponsorship and technical support plans. I’m sure he’ll have the details out soon so I’ll leave it at that (since it’s not my story to tell). So, as Obtuse transitions to more of a supporting role for the zigGIS 3.0 open-source project, I felt that this was a good time to step away and become part of the community.
I finally got around to finishing my travel plans for GIS in the Rockies (personal obligations prevent me from making it out for Ingite Spatial NoCo). I booked my flight a while ago but I had been procrastinating on the hotel and rental car. This will be my first time in that part of Colorado so I am looking forward to seeing the area and meeting people out there. NoCo is second only to the DC area in clustering of folks in my Twitter crowd.
Over the past few weeks, I have been reading a copy of the upcoming book by Regina Obe and Leo Hsu titled “PostGIS In Action.” Through my work with zigGIS and some of my consulting work with Zekiah, I have been using PostGIS with good results for some time now. I have found that it matches or exceeds the capabilities of its commercial counterparts and I can be quite productive with it.
Regina has been a frequent contributor to zigGIS discussions over the years and her expertise with PostGIS has definitely helped Abe, Paolo and I as we have worked on it. Also, many tips from the Boston GIS blog/site have been very helpful so I have been looking forward to this book for some time.