A Week in the Life of a Geotech Omnivore

Earlier this week, I posted the above tweet. To explain the variety I referred to, here is a partial list, in no particular order, of the tools I’ve worked with in the past week.

  • Node
  • TileMill (Yes, I still use it)
  • ArcMap
  • QGIS
  • Python
  • ArcGIS Server
  • GeoServer
  • C#
  • WMS
  • SOAP (!)
  • Windows Communication Foundation
  • JavaScript
  • Python
  • PostGIS
  • Microsoft SQL Server
  • SQL (Spatial and non-spatial for the above platforms)
  • Leaflet
  • GeoJSON
  • X.509 certificates

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Working with HIFLD Open Data

I finally had a little time to play with some of the data available through the HIFLD Open site.  For my first pass, I decided to have a little fun by estimating how much of the United States a driver could cover in an electric vehicle while remaining in range of a charging station. For vehice ranges, I used the report ranges in this article: 10 Electric Vehicles With the Best Range in 2015.

electric_app

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My Path to GIS

TL;DR: This post is long and there is no summary.

When you reach a certain stage in your career, you start fielding more and more inquiries from those younger than you about how you got started in your field. In my case, the field is GIS. The short answer, and not a particularly uncommon one, I’ve discovered, is “by accident.” I have previously documented that I landed my first job through one of my regulars at the bar I was tending at the time. I’ve also documented how I became interested in maps and programming at an early age. There are, however, a few more dots to connect.

annapolis_footprints_black2

My love of maps remained avocational and really went dormant as I got more into programming. During my middle school and high school years, I wrote BASIC code on my Commodore 64 to automate Dungeons and Dragons tasks. This was in a time before the internet was available in homes and, since we lived in a pretty rural area of Maryland, every call was long-distance. As a result, there was no way my parents would let me dial into bulletin boards. So I did it the old-fashioned way: checking out programming books from the public library. I had a few other friends who were into programming as well so we shared what we learned.

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Migrations

With my first post of 2016, I’d like to wish you a happy new year. After a bit of a shutdown for the holidays, I am back at work on some project activities that I had been working in the last quarter of 2015. Specifically, one of our long-standing federal customers has been directed by their customer to migrate their application platform to an open-source stack. The application in question is a mature analysis and visualization application that has been built on a Microsoft (with a little bit of Esri) stack. A migration will be no small effort.

Image by Daniel Rosengren [CC BY 4.0], via Wikimedia Commons

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“Roads to Rome” Project

I got an interesting e-mail the other day informing me about the “Roads to Rome” project. I don’t normally write items that arrive in my inbox, but this had two major hooks for me. First, I used to do a lot of routing analysis earlier in my career. Second, I am a Roman history buff. With these two factors in play, I couldn’t resist.

Image courtesy moovel lab team, Data © OpenStreetMap contributors
Image courtesy moovel lab team, Data © OpenStreetMap contributors

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A Perhaps-Premature Recap of My Year

The calendar is inching up on the nine-year anniversary of this blog and it’s starting to feel like it’s been that long since I’ve actually written anything. It’s been an interesting year and the last couple of months have been no exception. It’s probably a bit early for a year-end recap but I feel the need to clear my mind so I can focus on what comes next.

I started the year splitting my time between two projects: one was implementing a geospatial data publication workflow for a US federal civilian agency. I was part of a large team and my role was to work out the ingest, registration, publication of all data types. That project got me elbow-deep in Node, PostGIS, GeoServer, and also gave me some exposure to the Voyager search API. I found the whole experience pretty exciting as we had a really strong implementation team. As a result, I learned a lot and , hopefully, was able to teach a few things along the way. It was the kind of experience you hope every project can be. My involvement wound down toward the middle of the year.

dollins_st2

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