moving to gitlab and hugo

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I recently decided to move this blog from octopress, hosted on a commercial site, to hugo, hosted on gitlab pages. Why? I don’t care that Octopress hasn’t been updated for a while but I do care that I didn’t understand what it was doing- I’m not a Ruby/Jekyll/Whatever person. I never took the time to understand how it worked under the hood, my bad. I wasn’t using 99% of the facilities offered with the commercial host.

this is not a geo post

TL;DR How not to burn out, or how I work, the 2017 edition I’ve always suffered from anxiety and stress in my work. It’s a first-world problem, sure, but it’s there, and tangible, causing health issues (blood pressure high enough to frighten most health-care professionals, and surviving on approximately 3-4 hours sleep a night, most nights). Before Christmas 2016 I felt as if I was hitting some sort of tipping point, where I needed to fix things, or burn out.

dont be afraid to commit

Back in June, which seems a long time ago now, we (OSGeo:UK) ran a mini FOSS4G event at the Ordnance Survey offices in Southampton, UK. It was a big success, well attended, and everyone seemed to enjoy themselves, which is always nice. This is not a post about the event, per se (perhaps in retrospect going straight on to another event the week after was a bad idea). Others have posted about this, and there’s always the #foss4guk hashtag on twitter if you’re interested.

portablegis 5 dot 6

I’m pleased to announce the latest release of Portable GIS. This version (v5.6) has the following changes: QGIS 2.14.1 LTR By popular demand: Geoserver 2.8 You can download the setup exe and the md5 checksum here. Older versions are still available but have been archived to avoid confusion. As always, please let me know of any problems via the Portable GIS google group. Note that I will shortly be publicising a GitLabs repository for the changed files, along with developer and user documentation, to allow people to roll their own versions or contribute to development.

agi foresight 2020

Over the summer I was asked to contribute a piece on what I thought the future of “Open Geospatial” would be in 2020, for the AGI (Association for Geographic Information) and their Foresight Study on the Geospatial Industry in 2020. This follows on from an earlier study in 2010, which attempted to predict what the state of the Geospatial Industry would be like in 2015, and that I also contributed to.

hacking with apis

Since Astun Technology has quite a geographically distributed workforce (OK, we are all in the UK, but still), we make the effort to get together every three months or so for meetings, merriment, and some geeky hacking. Our “hackastun” events are a great chance for those of us who deal more with the finished software to do a bit of coding, even if it is just messing around with python.

extending portable gis

I was asked recently how someone could add new libraries, python programmes etc to their copy of Portable GIS. It’s fairly simple, but here’s a quick guide. I’ll use ogr2osm as an example. ogr2osm is a tool for converting any ogr-readable data source into an osm file for loading into openstreetmap. It requires gdal with python bindings, and lxml, both of which are included in PortableGIS. To install, simply download the zip file from github and unzip it into the apps folder in your PortableGIS installation.

portable gis 5 dot 2

I’m pleased to announce the latest release of Portable GIS. This version (v5.2) has only a couple of changes: QGIS 2.8 (I’m going to try and do a release to coincide with each long-term release of QGIS) Loader has been updated to the latest version You can download the setup exe and the md5 checksum here. Older versions are still available but have been archived to avoid confusion.


At the end of November (yes, I know it’s a while ago, life got in the way) I was involved in an event called #HackLancaster, part of a wider project in my home town to try and raise interest in the heritage of the old city area beyondthecastle. This was, I think, a great success on several levels, but it also throw up some issues with archaeological and geospatial data that I hadn’t really considered.

postgis day 2014

On 20th November this year we held the first PostGIS “Show-and-Tell” Day at the HQ of the British Computing Society. This was the first “official” OSGeo:UK event since hosting FOSS4G 2013 in Nottingham last year- it took us that long to recover from the stress! We deliberately chose to make the event extremely light and informal, with the minimum of organisation, and this seemed to work pretty well. We had a range of speakers doing both longer talks and lightning talks, and then a session at the end where we discussed useful tools and add-ons for working with PostGIS.