Data Is Hard

Where I work, we have developed a nuanced philosophy to describe the niceties of collecting data, managing it, validating it, and preparing it for use: “Data is hard.”

This was brought to light in a very public manner by the vandalism that was displayed on basemaps produced by Mapbox. The responses by Mapbox  and their CEO, Eric Gendersen, are good examples of how a company should respond to such incidents. Kudos to him and the team at Mapbox for addressing and rectifying the situation quickly.

The Gordian Knot
By jmerelo [CC BY 2.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
Speculation quickly ran to vandalism of OSM, which is one of the primary data sources used by Mapbox in their products. That speculation was backed up by the edit history in the New York area, but it is interesting to note that the vandalism was caught early in OSM and never came to light is OSM itself. In this case, the crowd worked as it was supposed to.

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A Funny Thing Happened On the Way to a Calendar

The call for maps for the 2017 GeoHipster calendar has closed and review is underway. I haven’t begun collating the responses yet, so I have no idea how it will turn out, but I can say that, for me, the process so far has been personally rewarding.

2016_geohipster_calendar_cover

I was not involved in the making of the 2015 calendar. When it came time to considering doing one for 2016, I volunteered to coordinate the process; with no idea what to expect. We had quite a response and I was impressed with the quality of the work received. Because it was my first time through, I was pretty consumed by the process and probably didn’t get to give as much consideration to the art that was before me.

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Maryland Council on Open Data

Back in May, I had the honor of being appointed to the newly established Maryland Council on Open Data. The Council had its inaugural meeting in Baltimore yesterday and was heavily attended, including attendance by Governor Martin O’Malley. I’ll discuss his remarks to the group later.

As the first meeting of a new group, it went off largely as I expected. The agenda consisted primarily of an overview of the establishing legislation, a review of ethics requirements, demos of the existing open data portals, discussion of the history of open data in Maryland, and remarks from the Governor.

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DC DevSummit in Works for 2014 Esri Federal GIS Conference

I got word today that Esri is planning a one-day [Developer Summit] in conjunction with the 2014 Federal GIS Conference. It appears that the DevSummit will happen on the Wednesday immediately following the Fed Conference (which runs on the Monday and Tuesday) and will be focused on the issues and challenges that are unique to developing applications with Esri technologies for the Federal Government. I spoke with Jim Barry, who told me the DevSummit has come together rather quickly and Esri hasn’t had time to do its usual data gathering to prepare for such an event. As a result, they are canvassing the developer community for input on topics they should cover. Here are some things I suggested:

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JS.Geo 2014 Announced (Maybe)

UPDATE (12 March 2014): The situation with JS.GEO 2014 seems to be a bit fluid and the information originally posted here is no longer accurate. As indicated by Steve Citron-Pousty, the current goal is to have the event occur with FOSS4G in Portland, though that does not appear to have been finalized. In short, don’t book travel yet.

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js.geo Day One

Yesterday, I attended the JS.geo conference at the Colorado University Denver campus. It looked like about 100 or so came out for the event. I was able to catch up with Chris Helm and Brian Timoney the night before and they told me the event took off faster than they had originally expected. I think this speaks to two things: 1) the level of interest in Javascript as a solution for geospatial applications and 2) the fast pace of innovation in the Javascript community that has a lot of people looking for ways to stay abreast of the latest developments.

What follows is an overview based on some of the notes I took. I wasn’t always writing as I sometimes just stopped to listen and I’ll probably follow up with more details later.

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Comment Period Open for GeoPackage Specification Draft

The Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC) has published a draft GeoPackage specification for comment. The GeoPackage specification attempts to create a non-proprietary means for packaging and exchanging all geospatial data in all its forms (vector, raster, and tiles). A couple of things that jump out at me:

  • It calls out SQLite as the reference implementation of a GeoPackage container
  • It calls out SpatiaLite 4 as the reference implementation of a vector feature store
  • It does not call out a reference implementation for rasters or tiles
  • It does not mention exchange of cartography.

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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.

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