Six members of the Astun team recently headed en mass to the Free and Open Source Software for Geo (FOSS4G) UK conference in Edinburgh – and we came back with a 7th!
|Spot the 7th member of our team|
|Spectacular views from the venue! – Dan|
Wow, what a great event! I go to these events with many “hats”- as the Chair of OSGeo:UK, often as a speaker, and as an Astun Representative, so they can be extremely busy for me. As usual, the first morning went by like a blur, but it was lovely to see so many new faces, and some that I haven’t seen for over a decade, including at least one other person who was at the very first OSGeo:UK meetup in 2016, before we were even officially a local chapter.
|Don’t let Metadata get you Down! – Jo Cook|
I ran the OpenLayers Workshop on day one. We had a full house and took everyone through the official OpenLayers Workshop material using OpenLayers v6. The workshop is available for independent study for delegates wanting to follow up on what they learned, or for those who were unable to attend.
National Library of Scotland Historical Maps
It was great to hear from Chris Fleet at NLS about the work he’s been doing making historical maps available online using OpenLayers. We’re currently working with the Ramblers on the Don’t Lose Your Way project which involves users identifying potential unregistered rights of way from various sources including the historic maps geo-referenced by NLS.
I did a lightning talk on pygeoapi a relatively new project which implements the recent OGC APIs including OGC API – Features. The recent OGC APIs are a significant improvement over WMS/ WFS in that they are RESTFUL, searchable and generally look to work with the web, hopefully making them easier to integrate into mainstream web projects.
There were lots of talks regarding doing geospatial work in the cloud. Of note were the talks by addresscloud on using AWS to provide serverless geospatial services and hosting OS Zoomstack as Vector Tiles on S3/ Cloudfront as well as Pascal Coulon’s talk on behalf of SCISYS / Defra on Cloud Optimised GeoTIFFs.
Coming so soon after the international FOSS4G in Bucharest this year I was already a little tired when I set out for Edinburgh but, the thrill of meeting so many old friends and new potential friends was quite energising. At times the size of the event was somewhat overwhelming so if I didn’t catch up to you to say hi, I’m sorry.
As an open source developer I don’t often get to see what people are doing with the programs I help write so it was great to see so many use cases and user stories, with several Scottish government departments reporting on novel uses of GeoServer. All the presentations I saw were of great quality and full of interesting (and often new) information – compared to the academic conferences I used to attend this makes it a joy to attend.
On Friday, I presented some Astun work I’ve recently completed for The Planning Inspectorate and our PSMA clients, where we added some GIS smarts to the simple web mapping engines to carry out complex business login using the Web Processing Standard (WPS) plugin in GeoServer.
Ant went straight from FOSS4G to a cycling holiday around northern Spain (lucky chap)! He will update this blog post when he returns!
|Here is Ant speaking on behalf of MapAction|
This was my first FOSS4GUK event, but not the first time I’d been to Dynamic Earth. AGI Scotland and ESRI (UK) had held many events there when I lived in Edinburgh and worked for ESRI. It was great to see so many old faces, including former clients from my ESRI days who have adopted Open Source alongside their existing platforms as a ‘hybrid’ solution – or who have moved over entirely!
|‘The tent’ at Dynamic Earth – Photo by Ant|
I felt really welcomed by the new faces, the organising committee were amazing and I learned so much about the Open Source technologies through the talks. Ant’s on MapAction using both ArcGIS and QGIS bilingually was an excellent example of how both can and do work together.
It was great to see our metadata catalogue for spatialdata.gov.scot showcased in the keynote from Shona alongside Scotland’s other portals. I love how Scotland is in the space-race!
I came away from the conference buzzing with ideas on how we can help our existing and potential customers and love how working for an SME gives us the flexibility to meet our clients needs quickly and (most of the time) easily!
This was a very different FOSS4GUK for me as not only was I on the local organising committee but it was also my very first outing as an Astun employee. The Astun team were there in force as usual, the sun was shining, there was a host of great talks and workshops and the venue was just fantastic. What more could you ask for!
Being part of the LOC meant I had to help out a little with the overall running of the event but I managed to squeeze in time to help Matt and Jo run the Open Layers (OL) workshop on day one. I’ve been to workshops at FOSS4G events before and I know how they can quickly descend into chaos but Matt ran this one really well at a good pace. It was not only great to see people being able to get up and running with OL so quickly but also help out in a workshop, having benefited so much from them in the past.
I didn’t get to see many talks due to my duties but I did catch much of the cloud and serverless stream. This included a talk from our very own Dan on QGIS in the cloud. This was interesting for me as I had not seen it and Dan was brave enough to do a live demo. The other two talks were from the serverless functions on AWS to cut down the overheads. This is something I knew Astun are already using and I’m keen to find out more about.
This was a great FOSS4GUK conference, the feedback online has been incredible, and it’s always good to meet up with faces old and new. I hope it inspires others to have a go at future events.
|Lunch with a view – Matt Travis|
Talks mentioned in this blog post
Main Room / Biosphere Green – DAY 1
Biosphere Blue – DAY 1
Main Room / Biosphere Green – DAY 2
Biosphere Blue – DAY 2