Saturday 24 October 2009

Code Sprint Location

Just a reminder the code sprint is today (are you awake?) Information sheet is here.

University of Technology Sydney – Ultimo Campus, Level 3, Building 6
Please remember to bring your own water :-)

Friday 23 October 2009

FOSS4G Day n+2

A big thank you to all of those who attended the GeoTools tutorial today; it was a great success - with a few surprises for me! I would like to especially thank Michael Bedward for slanting the tutorials into being visual. I was happy to see the laptops already out when I arrived in the tutorial rooms; we had a little more Eclipse in the crowd then Netbeans (but a fairly even split) with a lone VI user to keep us all honest.

I managed to catch up with the JGrass presentations this afternoon and enjoyed the information. Often we focus on the technology; and I was happy to see results. I was hoping for a bit more on climate change out of the conference and glad to see these presentations playing to a busy room.

GeoMajas presentation is walking me through how Javascript development is hard. With a few scary examples to make your blood run cold; or you just relax and work a bit harder. At the ten minuet mark we are starting to get to GWT.

Thursday 22 October 2009

FOSS4G Day n+1

Okay I know we cannot all count; rounding up some of the other posts we have a classic off-by one error (and I think as usually I have introduced the bug).
- Mark is considering starting Day 1 and Day 2
- He is supported in this numbering by Cedric with Day 1 and Day 2

It seems I have started at zero with a post about Workshops and Installfest and the commenting on the first day people started speaking (rather then doing).

Doing was a big theme for me today; with a "A Friendly Hands-on Survey of Popular Geospatial Services". The Hands-on aspect of the tutorial was a bit startling; and when asked to bring out their laptops around 40% of the people left - later it was explained that the tutorial descriptions were not published in the program.

The tutorial was a great success; thanks to Mark, Andrea and Silvia for the assistance. I will publish the workbooks online when I sort out how the conference plans to handle this; and I hope they will offer a great complement to the LiveDVD.

Conference wise I really enjoyed the demonstration theatre (where I finally got to see the GeoServer extension publishing information into world wind). It is great to see the format extension mechanism used in such a creative manner.

Also in the demo theatre was blown away by the deegree teams accomplishments with the Climate Change Integration Plugfest. I am really happy to see such a strong open source response to an interesting Challenge.

I manned the OSGeo booth for the afternoon and had several interesting conversions in response to yesterday's strong Web Processing Service showing. Apparently my enthusiasm was noticed.

I managed to catch a little bit of the GeoServer Users Group; and was excited to hear about the real world experiences (and really wish we could get more case studies - both good and bad - for the GeoServer blog).

Wednesday 21 October 2009

FOSS4G Day 1

Opening session.

Nice introduction from Cameron; kudos to thanking the local indigenous community for managing the land. I could not write down interesting statistics fast enough.

Warwick Watkins for the intro to the local market let us see if we can learn something.
  • Government monopoly on content; which is fair enough since land is the substance of land. 2500 property dealings a day. Scary that British Columbia has out sourced this management :-(
  • Platforms and service delivery; mentions Google and Wester Australia SLIP. Spatial Data Infrastructure as a goal for open source; nods to INSPIRE. In Australia ANZLIC is focused on building first generation catalogues. Setting up SLIP, Open Street Maps and OpenLayers as the second generation. Reminder to focus on data quality; regardless of what software useful.
  • Licensing as a lead up to Australia generally moving to creative commons (which is very cool to hear this at a government level). Apparently ANZLIC will be talking in this direction in their next meeting.
Richard Marles; standing in for the Minister. Plenty of funding mentioned; interesting track on IP which has been adopted by GeoScience Australia.

Raj Singh; open standards and open source; long term relationship. And a canned video CCIP? I was hoping to hear him talk. The video just said extract three times in a row. And now we are looking at an ArcMap client as part of the intro to FOSS4G. Fun. Still nice to see the ties between OGC and OSGeo working out with WMTS being an offshoot of FOSS4G 2006

Paul Ramsey; fun. "What is that we do?". How do we make a living. Interesting Paul can get away with a video since he talked through it. And then Monty Python. Nice transition to the economy of programmer attention.

Tutorials - wow are tutorials full. The rooms are slated for 46 people; and there was standing room only. I also saw that Dr. Koch presentation on "Custom GIS Applications using Open Source Toolkits" had gone past standing room only and had people in the hallway looking in.

This afternoons demonstrations were great; I was very impressed with the TERENO sensor data work and how in touch that community is. ESRI's demonstration of OGC SWE using 52 North plugins was polished; and it was nice to see the Tasmania services getting used.

This afternoon I am in a session focused around Web Processing Services; and although I am fascinated by the applications of this technology I am suffering a bit from the gap between the abilities opened up here and the reality of what is available today.

It was refreshing to see actually deployed systems; thanks to SCENZ-Grid for showing working examples (and hitting almost every open source project along the way!).

Goa Ang provided a great visual query builder for distributed WPS work; looks to be built on NetBeans. I would love to see this group hooked with some scientific data in order to ground the work. Really fun photo of OSGeo China; and it looks like they have monthly lecture.

Zoo is up next and they are following the recipe for open-source success. They were formed last year at FOSS4G 2008 - and they have a diverse group of collaborating organisations. Looks to be GeoExt based...with python backend.

Tuesday 20 October 2009

Workshops and Installfest

Today was the 1st day of the conference; almost a prequel. I would like to thank Mark Leslie for doing an excellent job of organising the workshops this year. And remind any of those attending that feedback forms are online... somewhere.

A special thanks to today's instructors; a fascinating range applications and adventures in spatial wonderment were displayed.

The Installfest broke up into stations around individual software packages; but we never quite got a rotation going which I was looking forward to. Ended up acting a bit more like a bird of feather hands on session.

Thai Food 4 You and The Point Pub

Thai Food 4 You, at 55 Harris Street in Pyrmont, is run by the very friendly Amy. Mark certifies that most of the dishes are gluten-free, and reasonably priced. Tucked away in a courtyard behind The Point Pub, Thai 4 You is a 15 minute walk from the convention centre, but very close to the LISAsoft office. Amy knows several of our staff by name, and can usually prepare takeaway dishes in ten to fifteen minutes, so you can call ahead on 02 9518 7848 and then start walking over to pick up. Lunch starts at $8.90, and dinner around $12. Rice and noodles, curries and stir-fries, noodle soups and satay chicken. Cash only. (This is common in takeaway restaurants so be prepared.)

The Point Pub is a good spot to wind down and enjoy a drink or three in an evening, or even a leisurely lunch. The kitchen turns out tasty steaks, burgers and fish, and the daily specials are superior to typical pub food. Downstairs is split into a pub at the front and a sit-down restaurant at the back, and you'll find more of a lounge atmosphere upstairs. Outside picnic tables are perfect for an afternoon drink. For a local brew, try Coopers or Carlton - or there's Stella Artois on tap. The Point is on the corner of Harris St and John St.

Monday 19 October 2009


People have been landing with various tales of travel woe for a couple of days now; I caught up with some collaborators on the GeoServer project over the weekend.

A nice group hack session; with a couple very sleepy JGrass members propped up in the corner.

Remember travel tales are safe conversation starters :-)

Thanks to the volunteers who are getting the conference materials sorted this morning.

Saturday 17 October 2009

Cheap Eats

Turkish pide (pronounced pea-day) is a quick bite similar to a calzone. Pizza-like crust enfolds fillings such as spinach, olive and feta, or chicken, mushroom and cheese. Say yes to a slice of lemon with your pide - squeezing it over the slices brings out the flavours.
Kebabs are also a popular lunch or late-night meal, and are usually available in beef, lamb, or mixed fillings. Watch out for additions such as cheese, tahbouli, and garlic sauce - these are often an extra 50 cents each. Still, kebabs and pide are one of the cheaper options to fill you up, and don't require you to get a table and sit down for an hour.
You can find both in the food court at Harbourside along Darling Harbour, but if you have more than 10 minutes to spare I recommend a quick walk to Pyrmont Kebab at Pyrmont Bridge Road & Union Street. It's just past the Pyrmont Bridge Hotel pub, and it's open late.


Okay here are some ideas to for food and coffee.

View Yum in a larger map

The last requirement (internet) is a bit harder to come buy; I am currently entertaining a few earlier arrivals (Andrea and Andreas) with my local wifi. Apparently those using "3" from Europe can manage to continue service over here; internet dongles from Vodaphone have worked for previous visitors; but no good cheap solutions are available.

You can purchase internet at your hotel (but that is expensive - I paid $20 for 24 hours and went through the cap in 45 mins). Local "Macca's" (ie MacDonalds) and Starbucks sometimes offer free internet - but that is it.

The conference centre will be sorted as far as internet connections are concerned, but until then it will be difficult to check email etc. The good news is, everyone you want to send email to is here already (or delayed in the airport!).

Thursday 15 October 2009

Hunter Valley vs the Lone Star State

Last April I had an opportunity to explore the Hunter Valley. From Sydney this required an early morning train for about two hours; if there are more then three people it may be worth while to just rent a car (providing you have a designated driver). I recommend the train+tour approach which includes a designated driver.

In the case of the driver is literally named Tex. Tex fulfills your quotient for Australian language (something you may otherwise miss out on if you stay just in Sydney).

Tex picked us up from the train station in his little white bus/van and drove us around all day. We hit about five wineries, plus a cheese & gelato stop and strange fruity things such as quince paste (for cheese & crackers).

I believe the cost was around $60 per person plus train tickets, but it was worth it. Tex was hilarious, informative, and very accommodating.

Darling Harbour Eats

FOSS4G is happening next week! It seems like a long way away - and it is the other side of the world for a lot of people. Given that it is the other side of the street from LISAsoft offices I am going to try and give some pointers on where to eat.

I will start with where people will actually be:

Now this location is nothing fancy - but here is the deal. It is open 24 hours; and a lot of attendees will be jet lagged - and this place will be open.

And you know ... pancakes.