GIS, Training, Spatial Problem Solving 

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Maptime in Chattanooga – July 22 2014

I’m so old…with the kids and their githubbing and .io web addresses and their code for america……

I just figured out this is a thing:

From that I discovered there is a chapter in Chattanooga. I’ve added their events to the calendar and I’m going to try to make it to one at some point. Tomorrow nights event (july 22 2014) is editing the Enterprise South Nature Park in OpenStreetMap.  They will be at the Chattanooga Downtown Public Library on the 4th floor at 5:30pm.



QGIS Part II: Editing and Data

It’s truly an odd thing announcing this because I’ve probably said it like 3 or 4 times up here…well – hinted it was coming. Now it’s here. I announce QGIS Part II: Editing and Data.

Now for some explanation. This class picks up where part I leaves off….or explores the software even further.

  • Editing
  • Topology
  • Widgets
  • Symbology
  • Data Conversion
  • Databases (spatialite).

I spent way more time than planned on Spatialite. I also spent more time comparing and contrasting with ArcGIS. It’s important that these classes take the stance of best tool for the job. Which is the back bone of the spatial connect process. Process over software. Make your software less of a center point. Worry about your data.

Price – $325 and it runs one day. I say that and if I can get Intro I and II backed up against each other I’m probably going to do two days for a combined price of $575. It’s not much of a discount but it’s still pretty affordable and I give you a lot of information for the price. Plus you have the option of calling me up whenever.

Next thing – Online classes. I’ve been asked. I’ve had offers made. I’m still going to go no (for now). It’s important (to me) you get the best use of your time and I still argue an online class isn’t going to do that. Yes it opens up the training to more people and I might change my mind at some point. For now I’m still going with “in person” for training. I guess that’s still the old ESRI Authorized trainer coming out in me. Yes I was one of those also.

Scheduling – the last two classes have taken a more organic approach. My best class was in Kingsport TN and was brought about by the SE Tennessee Development District and the local NETGIS users group. As the rest of the year moves on I’m probably going to try to take that approach – As I continue folding this more into the spatial connect process I will push to do training for groups (clients) with a vested interest in expanding their GIS setup…and the occasional conferences. So contact me if you are interested in bringing the class to your organization – the only thing that might change the price is if I have to drive longer than 3 or 4 hours (or fly).



Georgia URISA Coastal meeting – July 2014

Date: July 22, 2014

Time: 11:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.

Location:  Coastal Electric Cooperative

1265 S Coastal Hwy

Midway, GA 31320


Putting your Stormwater GIS to Work

“Putting your Stormwater GIS to Work” discusses the different needs placed on GIS stormwater and introduces how to meet those needs. Whether developing a capital program; managing grants or user fees, system failures, general maintenance, NPDES, EDP or Cleanouts, GIS data is often utilized for multi-purpose business processes once developed. While focusing on stormwater, the process of putting your GIS to work can help you apply these steps to additional community projects.


Ed DiTommaso

Ed DiTommaso is a principal at Ecological Planning Group, a Georgia based consulting firm that provides planning and GIS solutions to local governments. Ed received his Masters in Urban Planning from the University of Buffalo in 2002, and a Bachelor’s of Science from the College of Environmental Science and Forestry at Syracuse University.

As a consultant, Ed has experience working with cities and counties all over the state of Georgia. This experience ranges from land use planning to stormwater inventories to GIS database development. Ed has worked closely with both Phase I and Phase II communities on all tasks related to their NDPES Stormwater Management Programs. This experience ranges from the initial field collection and mapping of the stormwater conveyance system, development of maintenance programs for routine and capital project, and the identification of potential funding sources.

Questions? Contact Hunter Key, –


Georgia Geospatial Conference 2014 – Student Day

Yes – if you are a student – show up.


October 8, 2014, 8:30am-3:00pm
Classic Center-Athena Room J
200 North Thomas St, Athens, GA 30601

If you are currently an enrolled college student in Georgia, Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Florida, South Carolina, Tennessee, or Kentucky and have applied geospatial solutions to your coursework, you may be eligible to win $$$ by presenting your hard work in front of our select judges of Past Presidents and GIS and Remote Sensing Professionals!!! Submit abstracts to compete for prize money in separate undergraduate and graduate competitions. We are also hosting a map gallery at the conference, please submit your maps to enter to win under the student category!


  • 8:30-10:00       Undergraduate Student Presentations
  • 10:30 -12:00   Graduate Student Presentations
  • 12:00-1:00       Lunch/networking
  • 1:00-3:30         Mapping Your Way Into a GIS Career (see description below)
  • 4:00-4:30        Closing Remarks and Awards

Awards and Benefits

  • Graduate and Undergraduate divisions with cash rewards for each division $500 for 1st, $250 for 2nd, and $125 for 3rd.
  • Award Certificate and recognition on the Georgia URISA and Midsouth ASPRS Website
  • All awards come with a free year membership to GAURISA and Midsouth ASPRS
  • Presentations will be featured in the URISA Journal “The GIS Profesional” and the GAURISA newsletter
  • Earn Points towards your GISP certification
  • Presenters will be showing research projects in front of potential employers


  • Submission Requirements:
  • Must be the original work of the Student
  • Only one submission per Student
  • Presentations must relate to Geography, Remote Sensing, Photogrammetry, GIS or a related field as applied to a professional field
  • Presenter must be registered as an attendee at conference


Conference Registration Instructions

To register for this event click here and complete the registration form. Please complete your Registration by September 15th. You will be notified of your selection status by September 24th. If you have questions on the registration process, please contact: Wendy Peloquin, Georgia URISA Events Chair, or contact John Hudler, Georgia URISA Education Chair.

Map Gallery Submit

Showcase a map, poster, or plat at the Map Gallery for another opportunity to demonstrate your cartographic abilities in front of potential employers, earn points towards professional certification and possibly win Best Map/Poster Cartographic Design in the Student Category.

Mapping Your Way Into a GIS Career – A Panel for Students/Young Professionals

This session will introduce students to the Geospatial Industry. Several career paths will be highlighted, including the skills required for entry- and mid-level positions. It will also give advice on creating effective resumes and portfolios, as well as proper etiquette and tips for a successful interview.

Topics include:

  • Introduction to the Geospatial Industry
  • Skills Required for Entry and Mid-Level Positions within these Industries
  • Building a Resume and Portfolio
  • Etiquette and Tips for a Successful Interview

Potential Highlighted Geospatial Industries:

  • GIS Consulting Firm / Private Industry
  • State/Local/Federal Government
  • Aerial Photography/Remote Sensing
  • Software Sales and Marketing
  • Non-Profit

Social Media Connections: Look for us on Facebook and LinkedIn at ‘Georgia URISA’ …We’ll be posting updates and presentation tips to help you out!


GIS Certification Survey

Published on July 12, 2014, by in GIS, GISCI, GISP, URISA.

First off – I have 0 personal interest in this survey whether anyone fills this out or not…but I think it does serve some good.

I’ve had this back and forth with being a GISP. I was a huge proponent at one point…now I’ve gotten to the point where I think it’s past it’s prime. When GIS was a niche thing and you had to spell out to everyone why, who, and what…..I could understand having one. Now that GIS is mainstream….mostly everyone has one or knows about it, I question the relevance of this certification. Even with the upcoming test…I still that is a bit too little too late to pull this back into a useful state. Everyone is in a rush to beat the test……and I think that speaks volumes to the state of the certification. For my part – make it retroactive (HA).

Anyway – enough of my grouchiness.

Take the Survey:

Results will probably be posted online and will be shown at GISPro.


August 9th 2014 – OSM Mapping Event with UGA ASPRS Chapter

So the 10th anniversary of OSM is coming up. Contact me if you want to show up for the one in Athens Georgia.  It will run from 9:30ish to 3:30ish.



TNGIC Announces Upcoming Conferences

TNGIC (Tennessee Geographic Information Council) has announced their next round of conferences in Tennessee. Out of these three I plan on hitting the East Tennessee meeting in Knoxville.

  • West TNGIC GIS Forum, Jackson – Oct. 7-8, West TN UT Center – training on the 7th
  • East TNGIC GIS Forum, Knoxville – Oct. 16-17, 2014 – UT Knoxville
  • MAGIC, Memphis – Nov. 6-7, 2014  - at the The Salvation Army Kroc Center
  • Middle TNGIC GIS Forum, Murfreesboro – Nov. 19-20, 2014
  • April 2015 TNGIC Conferenc – Montgomery Bell State Park

The one I’m  not going to hit is theMain Conference in Montgomery Bell since it’s too far out for me to visit. The regional ones are great – they are small, localized, and it’s people solving problems. Of course being that TN is heavily invested in ESRI there’s also all of that.

Anyway – come look for me. I’ll be the guy giving the oddball presentation that will be *hopefully* completely different than all the rest.


Managing Data from a Different Angle.

I wonder how many people read this blog and go “You’re nuts”. Well – yes.

I do a number of things here. One of the things is managing a database for a forestry client. This year has been rough on the data end of life. I had everything stored in a file based geodatabase. I wasn’t particularly happy with that setup as the data was growing more than I could keep up with it (not the fault of the data format at all). I ended up moving back to shapefiles with gave more ability with other software (QGIS). Still wasn’t happy with that as I was now having to do a ton of post processing with model builder to straighten out mistakes.

Databases are one of those things we don’t deal with well in GIS (or at least I never have). I’ve had this ever increasing fascination with PostGIS. I’ve always shied away from databases just because I’m visual. I want to look at data vs text. Except this client is slowly killing me with data.

So I started the trek into postgis. Granted my setup isn’t elegant but it’s working. I’m actually managing data and instead of repeating columns and fields at every corner I’ve now built in foreign keys and triggers Plus I’m now keeping up with dates of edits. It’s not a full audit (yet) but I’m getting there.

postgres_connectA big amount of heartburn has been ArcGIS. Not for any other reason except it’s slowly getting morphed into a cartography tool. Except I’ve stored all my data in postgis/postgres and for the uninitiated – the two don’t blend well. Let me back up – Didn’t. Over the last year or more there has been more of a push from ESRI to support in some shape or fashion Postgresql. You can use it as a backend with SDE to edit. Except my clients can’t afford that route. If you haven’t notived the minute you go past ArcView…or ArcGIS for Desktop Basic it’s pretty much a cluster of ArcGISOnline, ArcServer, ArcEditor and “OMG JUST BUY SOMETHING”. Hah. I’m kidding (not really).

Anyway – I’m running postgresql 9.3 on ubuntu 14.04. I’ve got ArcGIS 10.2.2 running over on a virtual machine (because I’m weird that way). So the ESRI customer site has downloads for library support for Postgresql. Download the Postgresql 9.2.2 libraries. Install them and copy the libraries (32 bit) into the ESRI bin directory. Then – connect. There’s a bit more magic that happens with definition layers….but it works. I can view postgresql/postgis (but not edit) tables.

There was a whole issue a few months back with maps. I opened the MXD’s and reconnected the data source to be Postgresql. I started pumping out more maps.

So what did we learn.

As you guys are going to hear me say more and more. Process trumps software. I’ve now moved a client that sits and wonders every year should they pay the $500 dollars worth of software maintenance into an better environment. PostGIS to store their data. QGIS for Editing which now enables their three employees three copies of desktop software. ArcGIS for map production. Total cost: $500 (if you ignore my time in moving and cleaning up the data which was actually ignored – I did this to prove it would work and to get the first client into what I’m calling the “Spatial Connect” Product). All that is left is some more data cleaning and training on using QGIS to maintain their data.

The big question – Should I toss ArcGIS? My answer is no. No reason as it still plays a role. If they were just starting out now would I tell them to purchase it? That’s a whole different discussion considering their industry.



QGIS Meetup at Georgia Geospatial Conference – October 6th 2014

I know this is a bit distant time wise – but I’ve scheduled a QGIS Users group meeting at the Georgia Geospatial Conference.

Right now I’m debating Terrapin Brewery or Trapeze Downtown. Whatever the case – if you are in the area make plans to stop in. We will be covering all sorts of Open Source GIS goodness that night…and day…and well the whole conference.

This has nothing to do with the conference so you don’t need to be an attendee to join in…but if you don’t attend you are missing out. It’s Georgia’s largest collection of GIS professionals.

Be there or Be somewhere else!

For the record this should end up being QGIS Meetup #2 as #1 shoudl happen in Atlanta

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