TUGIS 2017

Yesterday, I attended TUGIS 2017, which was the 30th installment of Maryland’s annual statewide GIS conference. It was a great experience as there is a lot of innovative work going on in Maryland. The one-day format is specifically designed to be a high-value experience. Attendees trade the minimal impact on schedule for the fact that they will certainly miss some content they want to see. I think it’s a fair trade-off.

I also happened to give the keynote address at the conference. It was quite an honor to be asked to address so many geospatial practitioners who are working to tackle pressing issues in Maryland. Thanks to Ardys Russakis and the conference organizing committee for inviting me.

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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.

mdcrabflag

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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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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Maryland Department of Planning Bundles Property Data With QGIS

This past week, I got an e-mail from Jim Cannistra, Director of Data Planning Services and the Maryland Department of Planning (MDP), alerting me to a new product available from MDP called FINDER Quantum. This product bundles Maryland property data and related products with QGIS software to provide users with a fully-functional, free-standing system for interacting with the data. It is designed to replace an older, custom software product, capitalizing on an industry-standard open-source system.

From the MDP site, the bundled data includes:

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The Best Thing I Saw at TUGIS 2013

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.

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Off to TUGIS

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.

Brian Timoney's favorite state flag

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Prince George’s County, Maryland Posts 3-D Planning Model Videos

A few days ago, Michael Shean of the Maryland-National Capital Parks and Planning Commission (M-NCPPC) announced the availability of videos of 3-D terrain models created to support Planning Board activities in Prince George’s County, Maryland. The videos have been made available via Google+ here: https://plus.google.com/105701421300090504528/posts.

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Free Maryland GIS Data Resources

It was with great interest that I read this post last week about the cost of GIS data in the Washington, DC region. Not only is the post itself informative but the comment discussion is also a worthy read.

This did get me curious, however, as to which counties in my home state of Maryland make GIS data freely available. The approach I took to this was simple: I did what any average county resident would probably do and went to each county’s web site looking for a link to a data download. If I didn’t find something in a few clicks, I went to Google (search term: {county name} md gis). If there was nothing there, I moved on. With that, here are the counties I found which provide free, downloadable GIS data:

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