Thoughts On TUGIS 2015

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.

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From there, it was all about tracks and sessions. I won’t go into a blow-by-blow of everything I saw but I attended the Public Safety, Lightning Talks, and Application Development tracks. I generally saw two flavors of content: “JavaScript all the things” or “Look at this really cool thing I built with ArcGIS without programming.” There was also an undercurrent of open data as Maryland’s open data sets drove many apps I saw.

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f=geojson, Part 2

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.)

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GIS StackExchange Analysis, 2014 Edition

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.

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Personal Thoughts on the AppGeo Announcement

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.

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ArcWhat? I Just Want My Map.

TL;DR:

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.


Spaghetti”. Licensed under Wikimedia Commons.

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Slow Food

In 1985, I was a junior in high school and I got my first job at a local chain steakhouse. I ended up staying there for a few years and did everything, including management. This particular location happened to be the busiest store in the chain, which had a couple hundred locations at the time. Basically, we just unlocked the doors and people came in. We often had a line and managers from all over the country came to see how we did business.

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Gearing Up for the Esri UC

With a house move behind us and a lot of unpacking and other tasks ahead, I am nonetheless getting ready to head out to the Esri International User Conference next week. This will be my first time attending since 2010 and is the first UC since then that has aligned with my schedule in a way that I can make it. Of course, the price is right this year as well ($0.00).

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