Blogs

archaeology

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.

new portable gis releases

I’m pleased to announce not one, but two new releases of Portable GIS! The first, version 4.2, contains QGIS 2.4 and PostGIS 1.5 and will be the last release to include that version of PostGIS. The second, version 5, contains QGIS 2.4 and PostGIS 2.1 and all future releases will be based on this. Get them here: Version 4.2 plus md5 Version 5.0 plus md5 There are two important things about these two releases.

osgis 2014

Two weeks ago now saw the return of the OSGIS conference in Nottingham, after a year off in 2013 for FOSS4G. I think there had been mixed feelings about this event; those of us heavily involved in the organisation of FOSS4G 2013 had taken a back seat this year, and with FOSS4G 2014 imminent in Portland, it was clearly going to be a smaller scale get together. I have to say that overall, my impression is that small is good!

portable gis update

It’s taken slightly longer than I’d like, but I’ve updated Portable GIS to include QGIS 2.2. You can find a copy of this new version on the portable gis page. I’ve included a zip file of the qgis2 folder for those that don’t want to install a full new version. You should be able to simply copy this over the existing apps/qgis2 folder, but you will lose any personalisations, such as new plugins etc that you’ve installed, so you have been warned!

complexity vs quality

Recently I had need to evaluate a Proprietary Desktop GIS (PDG for short) to document the procedure for doing a Thing for a client. To avoid any mud-slinging and name calling , I’m naming neither the PDG or the Thing, I’ll just say that the Thing is something that the PDG claims to be able to do. This is not a blog post excoriating PDGs by the way, it’s a reflection on the virtues of simplicity, good documentation, and being honest and open.

portable gis v4

Here’s a quick and overdue announcement to say that I’m making a new version of Portable GIS available today, including QGIS 2. Consider this one a beta release, since I really want to upgrade PostGIS and GDAL when I get time. Additional upgrades in this version: Astun Technology’s Loader has been upgraded to the latest version, and Psycopg2 is now included. Before you click on the link, please take time to read the main Portable GIS page, and also do me the favour of reporting any problems that you find at the portable GIS google group, or via Twitter.

its all about the language

There’s a lot more discussion about Open Source GIS these days, which is great (even if it took a global financial meltdown for some people to try it). However, one thing that has bothered me for a while is the language that gets used when discussing it. The short version- this is not about arguing that open source is “better” than proprietary, as some twitter debates I’ve participated in recently have assumed!

getting into github

Yesterday I did a couple of talks at the AGI Northern Group Showcase in York, one of which was titled “A Beginners Guide to GitHub for Geospatial Folk”. Given that, for various reasons, I was managing on 3 hours sleep and fuelled by caffeine and jammy dodger biscuits, it seemed quite well-received, so I thought I’d expand on it a bit here. There are definitely some major hurdles for “beginners” to overcome when faced with going public on GitHub.

company hackathons

A couple of weeks ago we had an Astun “Company Hackathon” for the first time, after the success of the MapAction Hackathon that we hosted a couple of months ago. I think it was a big success, and something that we will continue with in future. You might ask what the big deal is about a hackathon- we’re a technology company, what’s the difference between a hackathon and our normal work?