A week of (un)conferences… – part 1

This year has started well for me. At the end of January I was at RewiredState’s SocTV Hackday (Education-themed) and my team won the Switch-over award. Hardly a month later, I come across a whole week of relevant events in London that I really want to go to. I decided to bite the bullet and get an eyewateringly-priced 7-day Travelcard, just to get the accomodation issue out of the way.

The only reason I even knew about the Dev8D un-conference was from the events page on the OSM wiki. It’s for developers working in education and the idea is to have a core skills session in the morning, a lunchtime meetup and then a more specialised module in the afternoon, followed by an ‘open session’. If you wanted to be involved in a particular challenge such as Jorum, you could hang out in Basecamp (conveniently equipped with a perpetual buffet of the usual geek delicacies such as chocolate bars, biscuits, crisps and cola). As before, I’m just going to write up a selection of the most interesting sessions I attended:

Continue reading

Advertisements

Second Open Source GIS conference, Nottingham

Open Source GIS (OSGIS) was something I’ve always been intrigued by from an early stage in my GIS degree. Not only because of its significance for developing countries and non-profit organisations, but also for its participatory development (and to find out whether this actually works well).

The second UK OSGIS conference, 21-22 June 2010, was different from most of the academic-centred conferences I usually go to as most of its participants seemed to be drawn from the industry/public sector. The first day had a range of full-day training courses to choose from and true to my vocation, I went for web mapping workshop. Using a Linux live CD to trick the university’s Windows workstations, Jo Cook from oaDigital gave us a crash course in how to get spatial data onto a website. We started off by loading data into a PostgreSQL database and then displaying it in QuantumGIS, a desktop GIS. where we where able to perform some spatial queries. Moving on to MapServer, we learned how to visualise layers of map data in a browser by using the correct map file syntax. Once this was mastered, we could use php to create our own web maps with the OpenLayers library – not only to display various layers but also elements such as zoom controls and custom viewboxes.

Continue reading