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Saturday
May142016

Thoughts on FOSS4GNA 2016

FOSS4G has been my favorite conference since I attended the first Mapserver meeting in 2003. I've attended each North American installment since then...except for the 2012 NA meeting in DC. I shared about this in my talk Adventures of a Solo GIS Consultant. (The map for my talk is below)

The 2016 edition FOSS4GNA did not dissapoint. In fact it was one of the best, and not because I fell in love with Raleigh the way I did with Victoria in 2007, or Portland in 2014. Raleigh was nice, but it was more about the conversations between the talks. I loved that the organizers gave us so many long breaks. The rain all week also helped keep me inside :)

Perhaps it is because I work for myself that being around all these like minded folks is so stimulating. Perhaps it's because I get to meet people I know from Twitter, face-to-face. I loved the moments when I was standing in a group of people and we're all introducing ourselves, by our Twitter handles, like "I'm @spara." Perhaps it's being around some of the smartest people I know. I know it's a little of all of these. FOSS4G is more than the sum of it's parts. I always learn new things, but if that is all it was, I wouldn't keep going back. It's because there is a community of people behind the twitter handles. OsGeo has done a great job of fostering a community with these conferences.

I met a lot of people I knew from social networking like @sarasomewhere, fellow Locate Press author @PetersonGIS, #gistribe members @gisn8, @UUDreams, @MicheleTobias & @spara. I made some new friends too, like @GuidoS & @TinaACormier, and it is always nice to be able to catch up with people like @rjhale.

The workshops on Monday were great. I attended the GDAL/OGR workshop taught by Sara Safavi & Sasha Hart and the Getting the most out of QGIS with Python by Chris Daley. Each had a good mix of review and new material. 

The BoF sessions were a highlight. I sat in on QGIS, #gistribe and Women in GIS. The latter was a great discussion and I really appreciated hearing the experiences women have at FOSS4G and in the workplace. I've seen the numbers of women increasing over the years at FOSS4G, but it was good to hear how it could be more inclusive.

Of course there were many great talks. Some of my highlights were:

  • State of the QGIS Project by Larry Shaffer
  • Awaken the QGIS Within by Gretchen Peterson
  • Uncovering Ancient Mound Builders Using Open Data and FOSS Software by Calvin Hamilton
  • Cartography with Inkscape by Michele Tobias
  • WTFGL: a beginner's guide to the future of open source web mapping by Lyzi Diamond
  • Empirical Mining of Large Data Sets Help to Solve Practical Large-Scale Forest Management and Monitoring Problems by Bill Hargrove

I also greatly underestimated the keynote addresses. Each day I'd look at the title and say, "Maybe I can skip this and sleep in, or go get a good breakfast." But I ended up attending each one, and they were all fascinating. Each a little out of the box and provacative in just the right way.

Thanks to the organizing committee for putting together a great conference. I thought the venue, the session schedule, the food and the communication were all outstanding. 

FOSS4GNA Raleigh Organizing Committee

I wish I had the budget to go to the 2nd QGIS meeting in Gerona or FOSS4G in Bonn. Realistically though the next time I'll be able to add to my map is FOSS4G in Boston in 2017. So hopefully I'll see you there!

PS...after FOSS4GNA I met my wife in NYC to celebrate my birthday. NYC didn't dissappoint. The map of our adventures is below!


Sunday
May012016

2016 Brings Two New QGIS Books!

It's been such a busy year I haven't even had time to blog. Now that I'm sitting in my hotel room in Raleigh settling in for another FOSS4G, I finally have a bit of time. I've been doing a lot of GIS analysis, cartography, teaching, travelling to teach workshops, and blogging at Community Health Maps. I have also been working on the second edtion of Mastering QGIS and a brand new book Discover QGIS. Both books should be out in the next couple weeks!

Mastering QGIS - 2nd Edition will be an updated version of last years book. All the material is being updated to the latest long-term release of QGIS v2.14. It wil also feature a new chapter on Advanced Data Visualization. This new chaptter will cover use of Live Layer Effects, 3d mapping with the 2.5D renderer and the QGIS2ThreeJS plugin, use cases for inverted polygon shapeburst fills, and atlas generation.

Wiith Discover QGIS, the award winning GeoAcademy curriculum will be available in a workbook format. The material has been updated for use with QGIS 2.14, Inkscape 0.91, and GRASS GIS 7.0.3. The material is also backwards compatible to QGIS v2.8 despite minor GUI changes. It therefore represents the most up-to-date version of the GeoAcademy curriculum. It will be released in the coming weeks. It will include full solution files and a forward by Dr. Phil Davis. 

Look for both offerings soon!

 

Thursday
Dec312015

The Concise 2015 Year in Review...A Good Year!

Professionally

Personally

  • Celebrated my grandmothers 100th birthday
  • Travelled to Denmark, Vermont, New York City, San Francisco, Colorado, Bisbee AZ and Charleston SC.
  • Worked out 184 times...not bad for an aging GeoHipster!
  • Walked 370 miles...ah technology!
  • Climbed my 20th 14’er (Mt Yale)...a work in progress
  • PR bench press – 215lb 3x
  • PR dead lift – 300lb – 5x
  • PR back squat – 205lb – 4x

 

 

Tuesday
Jul212015

NMGIC 'Green Chile' Outstanding Service Award

At the most recent New Mexico Geographic Information Council meeting I was honored to be awarded the NMGIC Green Chile Outstanding Service Award. Dr. Ken Boykin, from the New Mexico Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit, won the Red Chile award. Not sure which is hotter:) 

I'd like to thank NMGIC for this award. I was very surprised and as I told the NMGIC President, "I feel like I'm just getting started!"

Dr. Ken Boykin and Kurt Menke

Tuesday
Jun092015

First User/Educator/Developer QGIS Conference - Nødebo Denmark

I finally have a moment to report back on the first ever international QGIS User/Educator/Developer conference in Nødebo, Denmark. It was certainly one of the best GIS conferences I've been to. It had a very intimate feel. The setting at the Forestry School of the University of Copenhagen (Skovskolen) was beautiful and peaceful. It was located in one of Denmarks largest forests and there were numerous trails and forest gym play areas.

Danish forest (Gribskov) near the conference groundsI had a lot of great conversations, some with old friends, and some with people I've known only from the QGIS-sphere. It was exciting the meet the latter face to face! There were ~150 attendees from 25 countries, and being one of only two Amercans was stimulating and refreshing.  QGIS 2015 Attendee Map

After Jeff McKenna's keynote I presented on the FOSS4G Academy.

OsGeo President Jeff McKenna opening the conferenceThere were some really good talks and workshops over the first two days. One highlight was a fruitfull round table discussion on education, curricula and certification. I'm excited to announce that our FOSS4G Academy material are being adopted by the QGIS project. This is the best chance for this material to survive and grow past 2015. 

My personal conference highlights included: 

  • Matthias Kuhn presenting QField - this will be a mobile version of QGIS
  • Nyall Dawson and Andreas Nuemann showing new advances in rendering and the Print Composer - there are a lot of great tools coming out in the near future
  • Anita Graser showing all the new features of the Time manager - it's becoming a very powerful data visualization tool
  • Tim Sutton leading an open discussion on the future of QGIS. It's not clear when version 3.0 will be released or what upgrading to Qt5 and Python 3 will involve. However, the QGIS development team will give us plenty of lead time before that change happens.
  • The farewell dinner held in a huge tent in the forest. The Danes know how to throw a party!Farewell dinner
  • Meeting people I've known only via the QGIS-sphere including my co-author Luigi Pirelli and conference organizer Lene Fischer!Myself and Luigi Pirelli - Mastering QGIS!
  • Making new Danish friends

  

Group shot QGIS 2015

Thanks to Lene Fischer and the staff and students at the University of Copenhagen Forestry School for organizing a great conference! Here's hoping there is a follow on educational conference there next summer!

My wife and I posing with Lene Fischer

I didn't stick around for the developer meeting and the hackfest. I instead spent some time sightseeing and relaxing on the north coast of Zealand in a town named Gilleleje.Sunset over the Kattegat

 

Saturday
May092015

Excited to be Attending the 1st QGIS Conference!

Monday I'm heading to Denmark for the first time to attend the first joint developer | user | educator QGIS conference. In 2003 I attended the first Mapserver Users Meeting and it feels like there are some similarities. That meeting was also held at a Forestry College (St. Paul, MN) and had about 150 people as are exptected in Nødebo. That meeting felt cutting edge and exciting. It was several years before FOSS4G's came into existence. This feels like it might have a similar excitement to it.

First Mapserver Users Meeting (2003)

I'll be one of only two American attending. I am anticipating meeting many of the European QGIS developers and bloggers that I only know from the Twittersphere. This includes one of my co-authors of Mastering QGIS. There will be some great talks and workshops. Before and after my wife and I will be able to tour the Danish countryside. Stay tuned...