Open Source Computing and GIS in the UK

Travels in a digital world

Update

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Archaeogeek is now back in the saddle/desk-chair after a few weeks break- firstly entertaining visiting parents and most recently scuba-diving in the Sound of Mull (Scotland)

In the mean time I have a few projects coming to fruition, and have been catching up on a few things that I wanted to learn more about (hello google maps and database integration). Firstly, we at Oxford Archaeology have been fortunate to have the services of a very skilled and enthusiastic work-placement student called Matt Jones from the University of Southampton for the last few weeks and he has been helping up get our basic web-based mapping sorted. This collaboration was the first to be arranged via the Antiquist Skills Exchange, where people can post about work they have available, or skills they can offer. It’s still a work in progress to some extent but Matt has done sterling work getting it looking good. Thanks also to Bill Woodall from the OpenLayers mailing list who helped immensely with the ajax code for getting the popups to work nicely.

Secondly, I have been fortunate to have some communication with the MapGuide Open Source development team in terms of getting MGOS working on Ubuntu. This is a long process, made slightly more difficult because of the difference in time zones, but we are making progress, and I am just amazed at them for assigning someone to spend time working with me to get the programme working. I can’t honestly imagine many large companies doing this, and it’s a great credit to the new open mindset at Autodesk. We are currently working through the compilation errors as they occur in the code, and I am taking copious notes so I’ll keep people posted.

Thirdly, Oxford Archaeology’s decision to release our data via wms/wfs is still a matter of debate. Unfortunately for every post or comment that approves of our decision, there is another that tries to figure out what we are gaining financially from the decision. I find this sad, as it’s indicative of a mindset in British Archaeology that we are trying to change. I’m not being naive- we might make some fuzzy and indirect gains from this, and certainly our internal efficiency will improve, but it’s really not the main point- we are making a commitment to the free exchange of data.

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