It was a crazy week.
I’m right at one year when I moved back to Chattanooga. I’m bad about anniversary dates – as in the small things will stick with me at times bigger than the big dates. Something will be bothering me and if I think long enough – there’s a small bookmark in my life I’m approaching. Anyway – one year ago I moved into this crazy neighborhood much to the dismay of my family. Change is good. Life is Change.
A year ago I decided I was going to make some much needed business changes – and that started and overall it’s been a pretty decent change. The changes made me a bit more hopeful for the future and I don’t feel like I’m in this strictly for the money – BUT – money did move up a few notches on the list thanks to a lot of advice.
Anyway – Monday started out with me learning more on PostGIS/PostgreSQL. A job with a client is going well – we just couldn’t get one thing to work. Figured it out. I took that victory to then decide to go talk at the North East Tennessee GIS Meeting. What was I going to talk about? This move out of ESRI for a utility client into QGIS/PostGIS/Fulcrum. So I started writing…
My presentations tend to take 2 forms: They are terrible or pretty decent. I’ve done terrible ones. I’ve done awesome ones. I’ve learned more from the bad ones than the good ones. I had 20 minutes so I made 10 slides. No graphics. Decided to do more demos than presentations. Which is awesome I think – as long as you have internet……
I dove back into Geohipster on Monday and got one interview done with Regina Obe – the fastest interview I’ve ever done by the way. That was a fun email exchange. Anyway – look for that on geohipster.com on Monday.
Things started getting weird on Wednesday – a new potential client popped up and they are neck deep in ESRI – server, mobile, etc. Which is fine – they need help so we started the discussion. With the changes in business my decision to either help them or not is easier – there are things I like doing and things I don’t. I’m in the middle of researching their problems. I can give them a yes or no and be happy with decision.
NetGIS meets in Kingsport TN – it’s a nice drive 90% of the time. The area is beautiful. I had decided to leave early and goof off. I didn’t leave early. The time for the meeting also bumped back just a hair. I made it though…..45 minutes before the meeting started and in I walked. I also spent the time in the car listening to Pandora. What do I listen to?
On the drive up I received word a GIS Peer had passed away. I knew Leonard Slote well enough to go have a beer with him and talk smack about software. He was out riding his bike and was hit by a careless driver. Probably dead at the scene but he was declared dead after they arrived at the hospital. Life is so short. I went canoeing on Wednesday and with one careless goof I dropped my paddle and just about tipped over in some unfriendly water. I served with Leonard on a GIS Conference Committee. Which also made me think about how many Boards and Committees I’m on now.
None. That’s how many. It’s incredibly nice. How can you be a guy who is contributing and shaping the Geo World if you aren’t on any boards? I think the Geo world is getting along quite well without me being anywhere in the mix. I left all the boards and obligations a while back. I do a few things for fun currently – but they are insignificant in the greater scheme of things. I might start integrating myself back in slowly. Maybe. I haven’t quite decided if it’s worth the effort.
Live Demo’s are awesome as long as you have internet. Which I didn’t have. Well…….Scrub the Fulcrum one because I didn’t plan for anything but a live demo. Which is fine I’ve got another 11 or so slides and I can show a few things on Fulcrum to make it more interesting.
My slide show started out with a brief intro and going “I’m not on any boards” – but then I realized 2 or 3 people at the meeting had been with me on a board and – eh – I probably shouldn’t point out I left the board I was with them on so – no worry I’ve got 10 or so slides. I started second guessing my presentation and went down to 9 slides. For the final slide I actually went so far as to mock up a budget on the Full ESRI deployment vs a Hybrid Open Source/ESRI deployment. The problem with that is when you show someone two numbers (60k vs 5k) that are so wildly different people immediately start questioning WHY….the explanation when you’re in room full of ESRI software users and people who worry with budgets is interesting. I glossed over that one – It’s a good slide – it’s just a hard pill to swallow. I’m going to rework it and present it differently. The numbers stand on their own – it’s just hard for a lot of people to see the numbers. Overall my presentation was sorta Meh. It will get better.
So the big deal – there were 4 presentations at the meeting. 3 of which inadvertently mentioned QGIS. One from a vendor (our data can be pulled into QGIS), one from a student (I did my entire project in QGIS), and mine (I’m rolling out a full QGIS PostGIS Deployment for a water utility). A few years ago that wouldn’t have happened. The other presentation covered LIDAR in the state of Tennessee and I had the chance to reference this discussion in front of a guy who can help in the process. Right now I’m building a brief tutorial of processing LIDAR in GRASS.
A Meeting with no plan on a theme in heavy ESRI territory had 4 mentions on FOSS4G. FOSS4G is making a dent in the world of GIS. You could go so far as to say “I’m in the middle of nowhere TN and we had 4 mentions of Free and Open Source Software for GIS”. On the drive back I received a conference announcement where their entire workshop offerings are ESRI based. If you’re planning a conference – seriously PUT SOME FOSS4G IN IT. It’s 2016. You do your conference and yourselves a dis-service if you don’t. Period. Change is good.
Friday I was just sitting here going “It’s been a weird week and I’m tired” and my email beeped “Can you come talk at our meeting?”. Yes – what do you want me to talk about? “Anything you want”. Heh. Will I have internet access?