making archaeology work in open source

Once in a while, Oxford Archaeology get called upon to do some really big archaeological projects, like road schemes and airport expansion, that cover huge areas, go on for years, and generate loads of data. We love these, because it’s not very often that you get to look at whole landscapes- how multiple prehistoric villages interact, for example, rather than tantalising snapshots where you have to play “join the dots”.

the flexibility of open source

I’m helping to teach at a workshop on open source GIS at the University of Leicester in a couple of week’s time. As usual, this means running around trying to get all the software that we need installed on the university computers. As usual, what the course organisers think will be OK, and what the IT department think will be OK, are two different things! We’d rather not use a LiveDVD, as we want the students to work in the environment which they are used to- in this case windows.

ahoy me hearties we all be pirates

There’s a fantastic article in today’s Guardian (via Computer World Magazine) about the International Intellectual Property Alliance, who say that countries advocating the use of open source software should be put on a “Specialist 301 list” (ie a trading watch list) because open source “weakens the software industry” and “fails to build respect for intellectual property”. The IIPA is an umbrella group for organisations like the RIAA and the MPAA, who are of course well-known for their open-mindedness and forward thinking.

on getting considerably more than you pay for

This week I have actually been doing some real GIS work for a change, rather than going to meetings, writing bids, writing reports, fixing computer problems and showing other people how to do stuff. I think this is the first time in approx 2 years that I’ve done this, and I was pathetically excited about the prospect at the beginning of the week. It has also been an opportunity for me to really put my money where my mouth is, regarding using open source GIS, since last time I did some real analysis it was with the Redlands offerings.

call for papers for osgis 2010 uk

The Call for Papers for the second UK OSGIS conference is now open. This will take place at the University of Nottingham Centre for Geospatial Sciences on the 21st-22nd of June 2010. More information is available at the website. Last year’s conference was a great success, and this year it has been expanded to two days to make more space for workshops. Contributions are invited (but not limited to) the following topics:

out and about

I’ve been out at a couple of Association for Geographic Information (AGI) events over the last couple of weeks- organised by their Northern Group. Their main function is to organised events in the North of England (hence the name), but the outgoing chairman Rollo, has been really pushing for events with a national attendance and relevance. I spoke briefly at both events, and my talks can be found on slideshare and on my talks page here.

there might be singing and dancing

… or there again, there might not! This is just a heads up for a couple of events/workshops that I’m involved in over the next couple of weeks and months. Firstly, next Tuesday is the AGI Northern Group Where2.0Now one-day conference, at GeoPlan in Harrogate. If you want to know what this whole “neogeography” thing is, and what it means to you, then be there or be terribly antiquated. There are some great speakers lined up (and me, but beggars can’t be choosers), and it’s looking like a good day.

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 geo in 5 years time

I’m writing a short paper on what the open source geospatial space is going to be like in 5 years time. I’ve got some ideas of my own, but it seems apt (and would be mighty helpful) to seek advice/views/opinion from the community on this point. I’m particularly interested in the emerging trends that people see, and the impact that they will have on the acceptance and use of open source geospatial software in the more general geospatial “industry”.

in which archaeogeek checks the date in case its april fools

Thanks to the Linfiniti Geo Blog, we get what has to be the most unintentionally hilarious article ever, about Oracle Xe. It’s an open source blogger’s dream post (all quotations are direct from the article). We get fear-mongering about open source “maintenance, support, and security headaches”. We get limitations built in, ostensibly to make it “easy to install”. We get accidental admissions that “if you can reduce your EE license costs by even a single CPU, you’ve made your effort worthwhile”, and the crazy notion that we should “reduce the load on enterprise hardware” by installing databases on desktops instead.