The Regional conferences for TNGIC are picking up steam. Here’s the abbreviated description:
East Tennessee: After a few missteps this one is back on the schedule. It will be held in Knoxville this year on the UTK Campus (specifically the Carolyn P. Brown University Center). The Date is October 8th.
Middle Tennessee: November 3rd and 4th at the Rutherford County Agriculture Center in Murfreesboro Tennessee. The first day will be presentations and the second will be workshops. I’m planning on hosting a workshop the second day.
Magic (West Tennessee): November 18th and 19th in Germantown Tennessee. The theme will be “GIS Miracles in the Workplace”. I’m guessing a robe clad Jack Dangermond is going to rise from Graceland and heal your personal geodatabase. Hehe. Excuse my joking – this is an excellent conference to attend. I’m going to try to make this one.
Since I know the guy doing the web page for TNGIC – please look there for more announcements.
Every state for the most part has a GIS users group. Some have more than one. Tennessee has in essence one with a bunch of smaller subchapters. They might have two soon – but that’s a different story for another time.
A few posts ago I went on a rant about websites. I really don’t like doing them. I do but I don’t. I ran for the TNGIC board a few months back and became the head of the web and data committee. I have a chance to lay my hands on the web part (not so much the data…yet).
Does every organization need a website? It was the first thing I did when I started my business. TNGIC had one that was bit messy. So I consolidated everything under a joomla framework and have what I consider to be a a fairly decent base with which to work. If you haven’t seen it check it out – I’m open for suggestions. The slideshow on the front page is gong to have to go – it’s too unstable. So I need to find something usable (and free) with which to replace it.
If you also notice when you go to TNGIC.org and you get redirected to tngic.dreamhosters.com. I haven’t said much about the hosting company. I will now. I rotated around to a couple of different companies – I settled on Dreamhost. For a non-profit group they host your site for free. YES FREE. Plus their support is really really really good. They have helped me out more times than I care to mention and do so in a way that would make you think they don’t work with servers/websites/computers all day. I wish I was as cool as they are…… Anyway – if you’re looking for hosting – I highly recommend them. I don’t recommend things often – so take that as a good thing.
If you missed it – you just missed it.
On August the 14th – a little over two weeks ago – the US State of the Map conference was held in Atlanta. It was excellent – I think it will be one of those events where I will say “I was there” 5 years from now.
OpenStreetMap has been one of those things I’ve had a hard time wrapping my head around. It took me months to get comfortable editing. Once I did I found it hard to stop. I’ve made more mistakes than I care to admit. I’m trying to decide now how to fix some attribution mistakes I made in adding data. I think I’ll have to take the “eat the elephant approach” to fix them – but they will get fixed.
The big thing that struck me about this conference was….well two things.
The first was how these guys (non-gis people) were doing in essence GIS work. They had the luxury of not being bothered by all the stuff I worry about – and because of that they made an excellent map. I’ll toss data if I think it is bad. I would rather have no data than bad data. It actually got me to think that maybe bad data isn’t really all that bad – no data is the problem. If you have nothing – you truly have nothing. Anything is better than nothing (in most cases). I really began to understand the term “Crowd Sourcing”.
Second – OpenStreetMap is changing. The idea behind GIS data is changing. I watched Learon Dalby stand up in front of a group of maybe 100 people and offer all the roads in Arkansas to OSM. Free. No License. No Nothing. Take them please. There was dead silence in the room. It was beautiful. In reality – what good does it do a state/county to collect data and then do nothing with it…except sell it…oh yeah and serve it out in a map over the internet. Give it away – give it to Google, give it to OSM……Make it available to the people. Learon’s reasoning…the New Madrid Fault. When it lets loose what will we use for the rescue? The data he has given away. Look at Haiti and what happened. There was no data for rescuers. The New Madrid earthquake will make Katrina look like it never happened.
I watched as a representative of the US Census made a case for using the map and the data and contributing back to the map. I watched as representatives from local US Gov’t made cases for using the map and the data and contributing back to it. I found it interesting that both talks centered around this approach. Use the data – contribute back. Not get the data and share it out from an overpriced server with a flex front end.
I found it to be more interesting to watch the people in the audience. People I thought would be really overjoyed at this – didn’t seem to be. It was interesting….possibly a bit telling as to the internal state of OpenStreetMap. I like the politics of mapping – it’s always been a guilty little pleasure. How do people react…how do they not react…..how good is your poker face. Mine is terrible. I guess that’s why I try to watch everyone else in the room.
So OSM is starting to serve whether it likes it or not as a…a National Map of sorts. A data repository. A place that data can be stored and shared. It wasn’t built for this and the concern was evident at the conference. What do you do? My gut feeling is the recent deal with MapQuest is going to result in a better backend for OSM. I really think Google should take notice. Google should help. After all – The opposite of “Do no Evil” is “Do all Good”…correct…maybe. This would be a good thing to do.
Anyway – I’m rambling a bit. It was an excellent conference. Oh yeah – the price for admission. $35 dollars.Yes. $35 dollars.
I watched OSM grow just a bit in the US. Actually I think it grew a lot in two days.
It’s been a while since I blogged about much of anything. I’ve been busy. It’s a good thing. Mostly.
Owning a business can be a bit of a hassle. It’s fun – but it can be a bit overwhelming if you’re not organized as I discovered over the last month. If you notice – and you might have and might not have – the blog address changed from www.wordpress.northrivergeographic.com to blog.northrivergeographic.com. You might might have noticed the website has changed just a bit at https://www.northrivergeographic.com . I’ve been simplifying things. The website is less wordy – and a little less confusing. Simple is better. I’ve been preaching simple to my clients – Keep it simple and effective. I wasn’t practicing it. It’s going to change still (both blog and business site) – but it’s going to build off small and effective.
Changes are afoot. Good changes. I had a plan. The plan got me to right about here. Actually the plan will take me just a hair bit farther down the road. So it’s time to start up a new one.
For those of you whose have watched over the last year an a half you watched quite the roller coaster. Works pick up – work drops off. Things happen. Life happens. The unexpected things I’ve experienced has made for quite the spectacle. Misery has been high – so has the joy…or euphoria….or whatever you call it. I’ll call it “Not Misery”.
The problem that is starting to present itself and this will sound crazy for the few followers: to grow or not to grow. That’s kinda where I’m stuck at this point. Get bigger or stay the same. Do more or Do the same. It’s a good problem. No – I’m not rolling in cash. I would argue that’s the trade off for doing what you love – you don’t have to make a lot to be happy.
I’ve been terribly distracted over the last little bit. I’ve disappeared. I’ve not gotten things done that I said I would get done. The end of my original plan has been in sight since mid summer. I’ve started sketching out plan #2. This plan is going to be bolder than the last. Hence the changes. I will argue I’ve gotten more focused. Focus is something I have not had the luxury of affording till now. As a business you take risks and start feeling out for whatever niche you can occupy. I’ve tried a lot and hacked off some competitors and made friends of others. I’ve found a niche I believe – or at least something that feels right. I think. Like I said – Plan #2 is being written now.
Anyway – I know this wasn’t the best post in a while – consider this one a transition from old to new. Expect more personal posts – expect more technical posts – expect a little bit of everything from here on out.