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Presentation: “Rebuilding a City through Community, Neogeography, and GIS”

Published in FOSS4G, Neogeography, Presentation

I just finished my presentation at FOSS4G in Cape Town, Rebuilding a City through Community Participation, Neogeography and GIS. It was part of the Disaster Response session and was a nice way to conclude the group of presentations that talked about disaster preparedness, response, reporting, and the importance of maintaining data across situations. The work in New Orleans is a model of the citizens actively involved in the data collection, analysis, and discussion that affects rebuilding their city.

I think overall it went very well – and lots of interest in the processes and successes and how it can be applied elsewhere.

View SlideShare presentation or Upload your own. (tags: us neworleans)

Many thanks to those involved in making the work a reality. Especially to Francine Stock, Alan Gutierrez, and Karen Gadbois who provided much of the material in the presentation.

FOSS4G Slides – Beyond GPS, Neogeography Data Collection

Published in FOSS4G, Presentation

For FOSS4G 2007 I got roped in to doing a lightning talk. It was a fun experience and I’m glad I did get to go up on stage (and early in the conference so my talk wasn’t subject to the effects of the many pubs/parties).

The slides are available on SlideShare, but it’s mostly just pictures of the various projects. It’s better to go directly to the bookmark list:

FOSS 4G – Day 1

Published in Conference, FOSS4G, GeoRSS, Maps, Technology

Really it’s day 3 of the Free and Open Source Software for Geoinformatics, but today is the first day of presentations. The previous days were workshops and meetings.


This morning, Pat Cappelaere demonstrated GeoBliki, an effort to aggregate and publish the EO-1 (Earth Orbserver) satellite imagery and sensor data using GeoRSS, Wiki pages, a Blog, Chat notifications, and a bunch of other cool tools. What is great is seeing all of this valuable, informative data coming from NASA satellites being easily accessible and disseminating to interested researchers and the public.

The GeoBliki publication system is a great use of a sensor web to publish location information connected to sensor data.

Abstract & Materials: EO1 GeoBliki – OGC Sensor Web Enabled Data Node


The next presentation was by Michael Leahy who is working at the University of Waterloo to develop MapChat. MapChat is an online, realtime chat tool for discussing maps, and geographic materials. Users can share map views, highlight and comment areas, and directly work through discussions and issues by working with the actual map data.

Abstract & Materials: Implementation of Synchronous, Spatially-Referenced Discussions Between Multiple Users with Open-Source Web GIS and Database Tools

Geospatial Server Appliance

Allan Doyle, from MIT and fellow GeoRSS blogger, presented some excellent work on creating a Mac-mini computer preloaded with Geospatial tools and data that can be given to NGO’s and groups to quickly get up and running without being Geo-experts. By prepackaging the software, and various sets of scripts, users can just plug in the ‘appliance’ into power and their network and get instant access to maps, geospatial wikis, and analysis tools.

KyngChaos is a full set of ported Geo-tools that one can use to quickly get up and running with geo on a Mac/Unix machine.

Abstract & Materials: How to fit 5 Kilos of Software into a 1.3 Kilo Box


Right now, I’m learning about how GRASS can be used in Sustainable development and analysis, specifically when applied to LEED certification (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design). Helena Mitasova is proposing means to get Open-Source Geospatial tools adopted into the upcoming LEED-ND for modeling and verification of sites meeting certificate requirements.

GRASS tools support Environmental Preservation, Resource Efficiency such as solar radiation modeling and photovoltaic potential of locations. Imagine using something like Univ. of Waterloo’s MapChat to gather environmentalists, planners, administrators, and possibly the public to discuss and present various environmental anayses.

Unfortunately, it appears that geospatial tools, especially open-source tools, are not properly introduced and taught to University students who could really use these tools to do effective research and analysis.

Abstract & Materials: GRASS4LEED: Building geospatial support for Leadership in Environmental and Energy Design

More updates soon…

Converting table-based Calendars to hCalendar

Published in FOSS4G, Programming, Ruby

FOSS4G Calendar in iCalI am looking over the FOSS4G Schedule of sessions. It’s all table based, and it’s somewhat difficult to find specific tracks, rooms, etc. So I took what was the table-based, non-semantic, calendar and converted it into a much more useful hCalendar output, which can be easily translated to iCal for your subscription fun using Brian Suda’s X2V.

You can get the hCalendar here and the iCal link here.

The Problem

Here is the current HTML of the schedule. As you can see, this is an absolute mess of DOM. This table is in fact already the 4th embedded table (tables-within-tables-within-tables oh my!)

In the middle there was some actual interesting bits, such as presentation title, author, times, etc. So what we need to do is walk through all this and build up a conference.

The Solution

Employing some slick Ruby scripting – and using the very useful scrAPI from Assaf we can define scrapers to walk over the multiple days, and then within those days grab each of the sessions. These are then output into proper hCalendar format like:

<span class="vevent">
 <a class="url" href=";sessionId=46&amp;confId=1">
  <span class="summary">Enabling Users to Produce personalized Geodata</span> 
  <span class="details"><span class="vcard"><span class="fn">Mr. Andrew TURNER</span><span class="org">HighEarthOrbit</span></span></span>
  <abbr class="dtstart" title="2006-09-15T10:30:00Z">Friday,  15 September 2006 from 10:30</abbr>-
  <abbr class="dtend" title="2006-09-15T11:00:00Z">11:00</abbr>, 
 at the <span class="location">Amphimax MAX 350</span>

The code below makes parsing the nightmare above fairly simple, but due to the lack of any proper classes or id’s (each presentation is id="entry" – eep!), we have to find the bits we want by their current markup attributes. Not suggested, but at least this is nicer than trying to figure out the 10-levels of DOM starting at the root.

You can see the parser here.

Going to FOSS4G and EuroOSCON

Published in Conference, FOSS4G, GeoRSS, Maps

I’ve been rather busy making last minute plans for going to the Free and Open Source Software for Geospatial Information Systems (FOSS4GIS) conference in Lausanne, Switzerland next week. This was long-time in thinking about going, and short-time in actually getting planning together

My talk is titled Enabling Users to Produce personalized Geodata, on Friday, September 15 at 10AM (Central European Time)

This paper will cover the implementation, features, and applications of GeoPress, and how it serves the larger purpose of allowing users to create their own geodata. GeoPress is being developed to demonstrate and promote the GeoRSS standard.

A common problem in the online cartography is that currently available tools do not provide an easy way for people to quickly and easily produce and consume geodata. Additionally, blogging is an incredibly increasing means for people to generate content and attach various metadata. This paper discusses the implementation and use of a tool that enables bloggers to quickly add geodata to their blog posts.

GeoPress is a WordPress plugin that provides address geocoding, GPX track upload, and a clickable map interface to allow a WordPress user to mark locations, tracks, and areas and add this information to a blog post. Using such a tool, users can quickly create geodata describing trips, tours, favorite locales, photos, and stories.

Furthermore, by then generating a standardized GeoRSS feed from their blog, users then enable other services such as Mapufacture or Yahoo!, to consume, map, and aggregate this geodata. GeoPress itself is also able to consume GeoRSS feeds, which can then be added to a users blog, or used to mark blog posts. Enabling tools such as GeoPress will fill the world with freely available geographic information.

So specifically I’ll be presenting GeoPress, a WordPress plugin that allows you to attach Geographic coordinates to blog entries, output GeoRSS in your feeds, and embed dynamic maps. It is just one example of how easy it is to produce (and consume) geographic data and release it into the public.

After that I’ll be jaunting up to O’Reilly’s EuroOSCON in Brussels, Belgium for a couple of days. Both conferences should be a, and I state firmly, ton of fun. I’ll post updates on the road (or airways/trainways)

Tuesday, 12 September 2006
07:00 Registration
(Amphipôle (niv. 3): 07:00 - 09:00)
[20] Getting Started with MapServer
by Mr. Jeff MCKENNA (DM Solutions Group)
paper paper