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PHXGeo

I started the PHXGeo Meetup group way back in March 2013. It actually wasn’t the first version of PHXGeo, that was started in November 2010, and that group actually put on the first and only WhereCampPHX. You can see what it looked like back, then. When I left WeoGeo in 2013, I decided to move from that WordPress site to Meetup to better help run the group. Eventually, I turned over management of PHXGeo to Ryan Arp sometime in 2016 and set off to the land of CAD and BIM. He’s done a great job keeping it running along with the help of some great volunteers which warms my heart.

There was a meetup last week, but alas with my foot I was going no where. But I am excited to engage the local geography group again and hopefully help them continue to grow it. If you live in the Phoenix metro area, make sure you join the meetup group so you can learn more about what they are up to and when the next meetup will be. Don’t forget, State of the Map US 2020 is in Tucson this year so there is more reason to get excited about Geo in Phoenix.

I still control the PHXGeo twitter account and domain, so if you aren’t a meetup kind of person, look at those and they’ll be updated with the meetups.

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Walking Boot

So the good news is I’m walking after my surgery. The doctor said things are looking good but I’m still very sore. He bent my Achilles forward to see strength and it hurt so bad I almost passed out. I remembered my g-force training and… Well I didn’t remember anything because whatever he told me to do I forgot by the time I got home and had to call him back.

Anyway, I’m klunking around in a boot. And I finally got to take a real shower. Small victories I suppose. Maybe this was perfect timing for my surgery, I’m like in my own quarantine since I can’t drive and I can’t walk more than 100 yards without getting sore.

Spring training continues without me…

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The Esri 2020 Dev Summit Has Gone Virtual

Let’s be honest, there is a bit of love for the Dev Summit. Those who attended the first one, we look each other in the eye and do that subtle nod knowing we were part of something amazing.

Now the funny thing about the Dev Summit. I don’t think I’ve been back since 2009. I ended up going a different direction with my career after WeoGeo and while I don’t miss the Web ADF, I do miss the Dev Summit. Well the 2020 Dev Summit has been canceled.

Due to the continuously evolving circumstances surrounding the coronavirus, the Developer Summit will be a virtual event and not a live, in-person conference this year. This was a difficult decision, made after careful consideration for all registered attendees and Esri staff.

Makes total sense. The Business Partner Conference is still going to happen and they are going to take into consideration things:

The events team is working directly with all of our venues to provide readily available hand-sanitizing stations. Alcohol wipes will also be distributed at various locations throughout the event. The custodial personnel will be regularly disinfecting all common surfaces. Information regarding basic health practices will be displayed on signage that recommends how to avoid the flu and other illnesses.

Boy I can’t imagine going given the BPC is going to be such a small thing but maybe that is what makes it manageable. I know a couple people who have told me they aren’t going to attend the BPC this year, even before the cancelation of the Dev Summit because of COVID-19.

But let’s not focus on the bad, let’s focus on the great outcome of this. They are still going to do a livestream of the plenary as usual and make the sessions virtual. I’m still waiting to see what this looks like but it really could be useful. I’m not saying that conferences don’t have a part in today’s workplace, but having the virtual option helps immensely for those who just can’t break away to learn the latest technology from Esri.

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Microsoft Geo

I still see projects now and them that are spatial. I think of the US Building Footprints project and how they had to give away the data and couldn’t monetize such a project. Bing Maps went through so many name changes that we can’t even recall them all. Heck Microsoft bought Nokia but only the phones. They didn’t buy HERE (Navteq) which could have been a great coup for them.

Visual Studio Code… Someone needs to check some files into Git.

I have to admit, I’ve been a user of BBEdit since about 1994, but I’ve found myself using Visual Studio Code much more. If I search my blog posts over the years, there are posts littered with Visual Studio hate. But now I find VS Code to be my go to code editor and not only for programming but also editing GeoJSON files.

But this really has me thinking. Microsoft and Geo really has died. I’m not saying that SQL Server isn’t used for spatial queries. Or that occasionally I see Bing Maps used in apps. But really they have become such an also ran that I really couldn’t even recall the last time I used Bing Maps API, let along SQL Server (I actually do recall and it was SQL Azure back in 2016). For a company that really has reinvented itself, they have fumbled what little they had in spatial away.

I’m sure I have a screenshot of Bing Maps, but I didn’t search for very long.

While at Cityzenith, we dealt with CityNext, which had much sway in the Smart City space, but so like depth. I think it was just an excuse to get their name on Smart City conferences.

I have to tip my hat to Microsoft for many things, but in our space, they really have become at best a follower, at worst an also ran.

At least old Gil is trying…
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The Newsletter is Back

As I announced on SpatialTau, the newsletter is back. Before I go on, click and subscribe.

So as I mentioned on that first edition (well I guess it is the 3rd first edition of the newsletter), I’m going to do my long form writing on the newsletter. It will come out every week on Wednesday. The blog isn’t going away. As you’ve seen, I’ve started blogging again. Think of Spatially Adjusted as my relief valve. The place where I let go the thoughts without spell check or figuring out if the Simpsons GIF makes any sense. I’ve been blogging daily, but I suspect it will devolve into couple times a week.

The newsletter is where I want to talk about the industry more. Getting at the why. I look at it as the book I never will write. I hope to get more into the why rather than the how. I figure there are so many more people these days who do the how better than I, I’ll leave that for them. I know that’s not always what you see here on this blog, but that’s what I want to write. Maybe someone will print some PDFS and throw it in a 3-ring binder one day.

I won’t be linking to the newsletter much here so if you want to follow along, please subscribe. I’ll be cleaning up the format a little bit this month and hope to settle into a nice rhythm. So I think I’ve got my bases covered, this blog, a podcast and a newsletter. I’m just a Renaissance man….

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Toolkits

Bill and I have a podcast that we do almost once a month. Podcasts are a lot of fun because you can talk about things easier than writing about them. There is a free flow of ideas (or maybe garbage) out of your head and on to a mp3. One topic we talked about months ago was GIS clients. We talked about tools we use but I just happened to be listening to it last night and I realized maybe I wasn’t as honest with myself as I should have been.

GIS users, if you need a friend, get a dog.

I’m not a GIS user…

Fair point though, what is a GIS user? I think of it as someone who uses GIS software. But even that it is somewhat of a mess because one person’s GIS software is another person’s toolkit. Ignoring that issue for a second, what do I use for GIS?

  1. GDAL/OGR
  2. Turf.js
  3. Elastic
  4. PostGIS

I think that pretty much covers it. I mean there is some Shapely and some other libraries, but that short list is all I use anymore. That of course has a lot to do with my job, if I was GIS Manager at the City of Townsville I might need other tools, but that list above is pretty much it. I can’t help but think of these things as Toolkits rather than GIS software. They are all part of a deeper workflow that I use when I need to use it. The end result is never QGIS, ArcGIS, uDIG or whatever madness you use in your daily life. It is either GeoJSON or “database” (where database could mean a lot of things).

God made men. Men made proprietary software systems

This blog is about to have it’s 15th year anniversary and I can’t think of a better example of how things have changed since that moment. I also think GIS lends itself for this workflow orientated environment anyway. Ignoring the crazy ArcGIS Desktop years with wizard based GIS, mostly GIS has been scripting workflows to accomplish your needs. Fortran, AML, Python, you name it. We use these methods to not only get results but document them. In the end I think all the tools we use for GIS are Toolkits and not software. Yes, one must put a name on something, but GIS has always been about toolkits, even in proprietary workflows, and will always be this. Maybe when we check in right before I retire in 2035 we can see how we are doing with this.

My guess? Still using toolkits.

Toolkits are a “real genius” move…
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A Calendar is the Last Great Frontier

Workflow wise, I’m pretty set on many things. I love the Studio Neat Panobook and Totebook for note taking. Both are amazing and I can’t see myself ever leaving them. Task management wise, I used to live in Things and then Todoist and then Things again. But that process taught me one thing about todo lists. They are the worst way to measure your life. They create anxiety and unrealistic goals because they are islands on to themselves. The fix for me was creating a daily goal list the night before and put that in my Panobook. Then I can check those off with a pen and life feels wonderful. For those reminders that need a little reminding, I just use Apple’s Reminders app which does all I need.

Email is awful, but there is no help in sight (maybe Hey will solve this). I suppose Slack owns the chat space. But Calendar is what just fails me every time. I’ve tried all the products. Fantastical, Google Calendar, Timepage, you name it. The simple fact that I can’t list more than a couple here really shows what the problem is. There is nothing to innovate.

I feel like I use a calendar in a couple ways; I put events up such as “Meeting with Bill” or “Connor’s Lacrosse Game”. I put up blocks of time, “Work on proposal for the Queen”. I put up out of office notifications, “Vacation in Hawaii”. The problem with calendars as they are used today, is they all treat those three ways of measuring something the same. Start time, end time, notification. Then we throw up some blocks like a Kanban board and try and find time to get it all done.

I feel like an optimal calendar would be the opposite. Rather than have a blank board to put things on, you should be carving out time to work on things that matter to you. My best work is done in the white space of a calendar and rarely gets recorded (unless I’m charging time to a client).

I probably don’t need a new app to do this. I could obviously start putting time in the calendar to capture these moments of focus. I wonder if the dynamic of thinking of a digital calendar as an old fashioned paper calendar is where we should be. As I said, shame this space hasn’t been explored as well as todo and email apps.

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Spring Cleaning During Spring Training

GeoJSON-Ballparks is my favorite data project I’ve been part of. Probably because not only is it the best sport ever, but it is great keeping track of all the changes at ballparks through the years. MLB teams have mostly stopped building new ball parks so the changes are generally just updates to their names. This year the only new name was Truist Park. Oakland Coliseum reverted back from RingCentral which it never was able to become because of shenanigans. We do bring on a new ballpark in Arlington which is named almost the same as the old ballpark (Globe Life Field vs the old Globe Life Park in Arlington). Apparently the old stadium has been renovated to XFL standards so we should probably not call it a ballpark anymore. I just removed the old one since it is no longer a baseball stadium. I did the same thing with Turner Field.

I plan to review all the Spring Training Facilities of the Cactus League and the Grapefruit League and then review the AAA stadiums. We’ll have to see what happens with the MLB/MiLB negotiations. While it doesn’t affect the actual stadium points (at least in the short term, some of the fields could go away because of lack of support), the alignment of teams in leagues could be changed. So stay tuned and if you want to help out with the AAA stadiums, just create a pull request, would be greatly appreciated!

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Where I Have my First Surgery…

So Friday I had my first operation ever. I had never even had an IV put in me. But eventually life catches up with you. I’m going to be 48 this year which is still young but of that age when things start breaking. All those years spraining my ankles playing sports resulted in bone spurs in my ankle that caused me to not only not be able to do may daily running, but stop bowling and even walking without pain. The lucky part was that this was caught early enough that they were able to try some less invasive surgery called Right Gastrocnemius Recession. My non-doctoral explanation is that elongate the tendons on the back of my calf which in turn lesson pressure on my Achilles which should stop rubbing against the bone which would then mean I can run again.

My foot in a cast
At least I can “step” outside and enjoy the weather.

We’ll have to see if this is actually going to happen, I really hope so because the other surgery (the one what removes the bone) is very intensive and recovery is long. I’m just hopeful that I can start running again, and get back into shape. There are many reasons in 2020 that I need to get back on track.