Monday, March 30, 2009

FOSS4G Workshops and Tutorials

Months ago when I volunteered to chair the workshop committee for FOSS4G 2009 I was convinced it wouldn't be too much work. There are only ten workshops after all. For the most part I was right, but not for the reasons I expected. There was some writing involved; producing calls for submissions and templates for prospective instructors to fill in, but there were examples for me to draw from.. There was some thinking and research to put into the rating system I used to select workshops, but others were free with their advice and experience.

Where things started to bog down was once the ratings came in. We went through two iterations of ratings before arriving at our final selection. I made the decision early on to involve as many people in the selection as possible, in part because I had submitted a workshop of my own and wanted enough transparency to avoid awkward questions. I got more of a response than I had expected considering how far off the conference is, and the fact that I insisted on people justifying their opinions made for an interesting conversation indeed. In the end my role was mostly an administrative one. I collected the ranking and comments and spat out results so we could go through it all again. With the final recommendations approved by the local organising committee, I sat down tonight and churned out 33 emails to 40 potential instructors sharing the excitement and the disappointment with each.

I've discovered that being the unpleasantness of being the chair of the committee is not the work involved. It's watching your favourite fail. I did manage to get my workshop in, but it should come as no surprise that it's not my favourite. I already know most of the material, so it will be largely review for me anyway. But there were a few submissions that I was eyeing, wondering if I could slip away from my responsibilities to do the unthinkable and crash a workshop.

But enough of my ramblings. The interesting bit here is who was selected!


A Friendly Hands-on Survey of Popular Geospaital Services
-- Jody Garnett, Mark Leslie, and Andrea Antonello

Delivering data using published application schemas
-- Rob Atkinson, Ben Caradoc-Davies

Getting Started with MapWindow: An easy-to-install, easy-to-use free GIS for Windows
-- Dan Ames and Ted Dunsford

How to Cope with GeoSpatial - Intro to GeoTools for the Java Developer
-- Jody Garnett and Michael Bedward

Introduction to deegree iGeoDesktop
-- Hanko Rubach

Leveraging OGC Services with GeoExt
-- Andreas Hocevar

Making Maps Fast - Performance tuning and Tile Caching
-- Arne Kepp and Jim Groffen

Making Maps Pretty with Style Layer Descriptor
-- Andrea Aime and Jim Groffen

Protecting OGC Web Services with the 52°North Security System
-- Jan Drewnak

Sensor Web Enablement - Bringing Sensors into SDIs
-- Arne Broering, Simon Jirka, Christoph Stasch, and Thomas Everding

Using ILWIS with its PostGIS plug-in for raster-vector applications
-- Rob Lemmens

Working with GRASS-GIS Vectors and Databases
-- Richard Chirgwin


Getting Started with MapServer
-- Jeff McKenna, Tyler Mitchell, and Pericles Nacionales

Geospatial BI with FOSS: an introduction to GeoMondrian and Spatialytics
-- Thierry Badard and Etienne Dubé

Introduction to PostGIS
-- Mark Leslie and Paul Ramsey

Introduction to the Open Geo-Stack: PostGIS, GeoServer, GeoWebCache, and OpenLayers
-- Justin Deoliveira, Andrea Aime, Paul Ramsey, and Tim Schaub

Making Maps Fast - Performance tuning and Tile Caching
-- Arne Kepp and Jim Groffen

OpenLayers - Your Foundation for Browser Based Mapping
-- Tim Schaub and Roald de Wit

Organising your geospatial data and services using GeoNetwork opensource
-- Jeroen Ticheler and François Prunayre

Practical Introduction to GRASS and related software for beginners
-- Paolo Zatelli, Marco Ciolli, and Clara Tattoni

Practical introduction to MapFish, the web 2.0 mapping application
-- Claude Philipona, Cédric Moullet, Frédéric Junod, and Eric Lemoine

Working with GeoServer
-- Justin Deoliveira and Andrea Aime

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Toronto Code Sprint in absentia

While I was prevented from attending the recent code sprint in Toronto due to a large rock, Jody and I decided to use the excuse to sprint along in our time zone.

I had spent some time working on issues with PostGIS' support for curved geometries and was able to commit the fixes prior to the sprint. I had focused on the well known text (wkt) representations and parsing, simply because it's easier to fake up some data in a text format. This meant that the SQL-MM defined well known binary (wkb) was still unsupported. I spent much of my time sorting this out. It is in need of further test cases, but most of the heavy lifting is now done.

Jody took on a much more satisfying challenge, which was to connect uDig to my development PostGIS instance and actually render out a curved geometry. With time short, we took the approach of parsing the wkt and converting it into a linear approximation of the geometry using the segmentisation code I wrote for PostGIS back in the day. We had a great time porting the C code into Java, with Jody taking every opportunity to expound on the virtues of garbage collection and slagging C. For my part, I was happy to have another set of eyes on my code and once again rediscovered the virtues of clear comments, if only they would be read.

The end result, after two evenings work, is the following image. On the left is the geometry I drew using OpenJump to provide sensible points from which to derive a curved geometry. On the right is the uDig representation. It's curvy!

While this is not the end of the work required, it's a good start and paints a pretty picture.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Moving Target

It seems that no sooner have I finished blogging than the world shifts around me. At the time I was not sowing lies, but due to a slow response from presenters the deadline for submissions of workshops and tutorials for FOSS4G has been extended by one week to March 9th. So finally, score one for the procrastinators.
procrastinating kitteh