chambered cairns islands whiskey and no computers

Just a quick note to say that I’ve been away on holiday for a fortnight, in gorgeous Orkney in the far north of Scotland. A fortnight of absolutely no computers (apart from downloading digital photos), wandering around beautiful islands with sandy beaches (OK, mostly in the driving wind or pouring rain), visiting Chambered Cairns, drinking whiskey and generally chilling out. I have to say that I very much enjoyed disengaging from technology, information streams and general online interaction very much, so obviously needed the break!

open source at the british antarctic survey

I attended (and spoke at) the Association for Geographic Information (AGI) Technical Special Interest Group Open Source Event yesterday- down at the British Antarctic Survey headquarters in Cambridge (I want to work there, they have skiddoos parked in their carpark). The event was designed to kick off the newly invigorated Tech SIG, after a hiatus of several years. I can understand why there was a hiatus- the other SIGs have a more defined focus, such as the Environment, or Crime and Disorder and so on.

my talk from the agi 2008 conference

Here’s the google docs version of the talk I gave at the AGI Geocommunity 2008 conference. It’s more of a general discussion on the preconceptions and limiting factors in the uptake of open source GIS in the UK rather than a run down of what’s available. Note that I’m hoping to put up a page with pdfs of all of my GIS-related talks pretty soon, so pop back for the downloadable version with notes…

back from agi geocommunity 2008 part one

I’m just back from the AGi Geocommunity 2008 conference in Stratford-upon-Avon. A very enjoyable time was had by all I think! I would have posted from the conference itself, but the hotel wifi wasn’t keen on playing with my linux laptop. I’ll talk more in other posts about the actual presentations, but this is just some of my general thoughts about the conference. My overall thought was that the AGI got it right with this event.

back from agi geocommunity 2008 part three

OK, day two of the AGI conference. This started with three more excellent keynotes, from Charlie Pattinson of the Environment Agency, Charles Kenelly of ESRI and Stuart Haynes of the Defence Geographic Centre. Charlie’s post was about flood risk management in a changing world. This begs a question posed initially by Steve Feldman in his opening speech as conference chair- are we shaping the world or being shaped by it? This is highlighted by the fact that people used to talk about flood defence, now we talk about management.

back from agi geocommunity 2008 part two

Day one of the AGI Geocommunity 2008 conference began with the Keynote Speeches from Sean Phelan of Multimap, Vanessa Lawrence of the Ordnance Survey, and Geoff Zeiss of Autodesk. Sean Phelan had some really interesting insights based on his experience of founding multimap and surviving the dot-com boom, through to the recent acquisition by microsoft. He coined possibly the stand-out quote of the conference: “We are the last generation who will ever know what it means to be lost” , referring to the rising ubiquity of location-based technology and GPS.