The Tableau Conference 2014 (#DATA14) was held this week, featuring some outstanding speakers: Hans Rosling, Neil deGrasse Tyson, and Michael Lewis, to name a few. Alberto Cairo, @albertocairo, also gave a talk but contributed a tremendous amount by live tweeting for those of us who couldn’t be there in person. In particular, his tweeted pictures of Rosling holding a giant arrow pointer, with an actual arrow at the end, were both amusing and informative. It’s nice to learn facts about the world while also learning how best to chart and display data.
That assertion applies equally well to a very common problem we have in both paper and digital mapping, one that has been with us for decades: the boss or client who wants 10 data layers on a single map when it would be best to separate the layers into individual maps.
The FOSS4G (Free and Open Source Software for Geospatial) conference is still going on, finishing with a code sprint on Saturday and Sunday. You can view the live stream of the talks for the rest of today and the recordings will be available sometime in the near future according to @foss4g.
Ian Schneider, who has been at Boundless a lot longer than I have, gave a great introduction to MapStory. I liked his talk because it focused on how four power-users of MapStory use the product. This makes it personal, interesting, and at the same time introduces us to the concepts behind the site. It’s a good presentation technique.
Our colleague, Benjamin Trigona-Harany, gave the QGIS for Analysts workshop for the first time at FOSS4G. I had a very small part in producing the workshop materials and it was a lot of fun to put together. To try and come up with a “typical” GIS analysis workflow while using interesting data that would yield interesting results and show off the capabilities of QGIS was a much harder thing to do than I had realized! But in the end we settled on showing off the processing capabilities of QGIS (it has an interface that allows you to link multiple processes together and run it like a program, similar to other products) via a Wyoming antelope habitat analysis. Essentially, we figured out what types of habitat the antelope favored based on their ranges overlayed with raster data like elevation and landuse.
URISA’s GIS-Pro Annual Conference finished up yesterday. The tweets revealed that there was a good mixture of professionals at the conference and a good turnout. I wish I hadn’t missed NOAA’s talk on sea level rise and coastal flooding. Now that would have made a very interesting QGIS analysis too. I’m very impressed that part of the conference program included a half-day community project involving property condition field data collection. Hey, that would have been another good case study for a QGIS analysis workshop. One’s work is never done.