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.
A year ago, I used the StackExchange API to facilitate an analysis of tags on GIS StackExchangeto see what people were talking about on one of the largest and most successful vendor-neutral discussion sites in our industry. In that post, I stated “It would probably be good to revisit this in a year to see how things have changed, if at all.”
Well, a year has passed so I decided to do it again. I used the same scripts and approach I used last time in order to be consistent. Since this is one year later, there is one key caveat. My analysis last year looked at the top 100 tags since the start of the GIS StackExchange site. Since I ran the same query this year, the new results are compounded so what they so are last year’s results plus activity since then. Essentially, you are looking at “that plus this.” The pie chart below shows the breakdown.
So the data server that I was working with was having issues and, while waiting for the IT staff to resolve things, I decided to browse the GIS StackExchange site. It’s been online for quite sometime now, though I am only an occasional user. One thing led to another and I found myself playing with the StackExchange API, which returns various information for a particular site in a JSON format.
One of the things that got people excited about the site was that it was neutral territory, not directly controlled by a particular vendor or organization and it remains one of the few places where you can see hyperbole-free discussion of Esri tools right next to that of open-source tools and general GIS concepts. Since it’s been online for a while now, it has a lot of posts covering many different topics. I had some time on my hands, so I decided to pull the information for the 100 most “popular” tags, using the StackExchange API. With JSON in hand, I parsed into a CSV with Python and loaded the data into Excel to take a look.