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 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 Esri Operations 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.
I am currently reading the book “Fierce Conversations” by Susan Scott. I am on hiatus from teaching my leadership course this year, so I am taking the opportunity to refresh my content and my perspectives. The basis of the book is fairly simple:
Our work, our relationships, and our lives succeed or fail one conversation at a time. While no single conversation is guaranteed to transform a company, a relationship, or a life, any single conversation can.Susan Scott, Fierce Conversations: Achieving Success at Work and in Life One Conversation at a Time
This has gotten me thinking in general about conversations that have impacted me throughout my career, whether with colleagues, direct reports, supervisors, customers, or mentors.
Recently, I had an interaction on Twitter that got me thinking about a long-ago conversation in a different context that, although I had never thought much about it, had an effect on how I view the role of technology in solving problems. That Twitter interaction is here:
I spent yesterday at TUGIS, Maryland’s GIS conference. It is an annual, one-day event, held at Towson University. As such, it is a bit of a sprint, especially when bracketed on either end by a double-beltway commute. The day started with the plenary which included a brief talk by Maryland’s Lieutenant Governor Boyd K. Rutherford, who reaffirmed the new administration’s commitment to the importance of data and metrics in decision-making. Julia Fischer, the current MSGIC Chair, also gave an update on MSGIC, including its renewed focus on advocacy and on providing free or low-cost GIS training in Maryland. The plenary wrapped with a keynote by Dr. Chris Tucker of the MapStory Foundation, who discussed the importance of capturing temporal change data as a way of visualizing our history.
In which I say nice things about Esri. You have been warned…
A couple of weeks ago, I gave a talk at a local Esri GeoDev Meetup (which also served as a convenient way to tell a room full of developers that my company is hiring developers) on a GeoJSON server object extension for ArcGIS Server that I open-sourced some time ago. I started that effort a little while after giving another talk in which I called on Esri to start supporting GeoJSON. I’m not one to wait around so I built an approach myself.
At the most recent meetup, the Esri staff who were there updated the group on upcoming efforts with regard to GeoJSON. Honestly, I’ve known for some time that there are a lot of people inside Esri who “get it” and that various things have been percolating with regard to GeoJSON.
So I was happy to see the official announcement of support for GeoJSON in ArcGIS Online (AGOL) feature services. Included in the support is access through the REST API using an “f=geojson” parameter. This makes it much easier to consume AGOL services in the web client of your choice. (The announcement shows a Leaflet example.)
It’s time again to revisit my periodic look at GIS StackExchange (GISSE) and what it may or may not tell us about the state of things geospatial. By now, the process is fairly routine. I have single Python script that gets tag data and parses it to CSV. I then hand-edit categories into the data for grouping purpose. While it’s perfectly valid to quibble with individual category assignments, I’m fairly consistent with it at this point, using previous data sets as a guide. Compared to last year, the all-time look hasn’t changed much. Open-source and “general topics” have switched places, but there were no great shifts that I could see. The roughly 4% increase in open-source topics could be a result of QGIS support moving to GISSE.
I read with great interest today’s announcement that AppGeo is no longer an Esri Business Partner. I find the announcement significant for a number of reasons, which I will explore shortly. I have always respected AppGeo’s work. As a small business that does geospatial consulting, they have foregone the “grow at all costs” approach that is seen all too often in the consulting world. They generally stuck to what they do well and branched out conservatively in ways that tie logically back to their core business.
What follows is probably my last post related to the Esri User Conference and is highly Esri-centric. Open-source readers may want to jump off here, or exercise a willing suspension of disbelief.
A couple of posts ago, I did something that I generally try to avoid. I took Esri to task for its confusing product names without really offering any thoughts on how to make things better. I don’t really like it when people do that to me so I’ll try to correct that here. It bears noting that I was not the only person feeling this way at the UC. I was happy to see Adena’s post over at Directions touch on this and it also came up in a number of conversations I had while I was in San Diego.
Here are some things that I think may help. They represent most of the stumbling blocks I typically encounter when doing consulting/integration with Esri-centric users, especially new ones.