I spent the day yesterday at Towson University attending the TUGIS 2013 conference. The new one-day format was a firehose that showcased the diversity of geospatial work occurring across the State of Maryland. The keynote by Learon Dalby was well-received and the content of the conference was generally substantive. While the day was a sprint, there was one workshop that really caught my attention more so than I would have thought from its title.
Tomorrow, I’ll be heading up to the Towson University GIS (TUGIS) conference with 500 or so of my closest Maryland geo-friends. It has been restructured into a one-day event and the program seems to be very content-rich as a result. I am particularly happy to see more open-source content this year. There’s an intro session featuring PostgreSQL, PostGIS, QGIS, and GeoServerpresented by Salisbury State University. Salisbury was once known as a bastion of Manifold so they’ve got a long history of thinking outside the Arc. Additionally, there is a session (by Towson University) discussing the use of GDAL, OGR, and Shapely in the development of a spatial service.
A friend who is in the midst of a career change and moving into the GIS world asked me for some pointers to resources for getting started with Python. I threw the question out to Twitter (with a similar variation also posted to Google+):
Can anyone recommend any good online Python training sources for beginners? Asking for a friend in the midst of a career change.
— Bill Dollins (@billdollins) March 17, 2013
I got a couple of requests to summarize any information I received, which seemed reasonable. I got quite a few responses and here are some links:
For various reasons, I can’t attend today’s inaugural FedGeoDay at the Woolly Mammoth Theatre in Washington, DC, though I’ll be watching the hashtag with great interest. Jack Flood of Arc2Earth, however, has already posted his slides to SlideShare:
While neither ArcMap nor Arc2Earth are open-source themselves, Jack points out that Arc2Earth acts as a bridge between ArcMap and several geospatial hosting platforms that are built on open-source technology but, also just as important, are successful at making data more openly available. These platforms include CartoDB and MapBox, among many others.
Over the past year, I’ve been involved in searching for GIS analysts a number of times. As a result, I’ve noticed a few patterns:
- There are a lot of analysts out there looking for jobs. Every time I run an ad, I get at least 100 resumes from people of various levels of experience and education.
- The vast majority of those that I call to pre-screen have not done any meaningful coding of any kind. This includes Python, which has been shipping with ArcGIS for several versions now.
- Of those that do have some coding experience, many do not show it on their resumes. I find this particularly interesting as I can’t imagine why a person would choose not to list all relevant skills or experience.
I am very publicly on the record that I think some form of coding skill is essential for any GIS analyst entering the workforce today. My reasoning here is fairly straightforward.
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.
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.