Open Source


Free is great but time is money

I’ve been thinking about this post for a while now and I finally wanted to write something about gaming freemium. What do I mean by “gaming freemium”? How much effort will you go to in order to avoid paying for something? Most free services place a limit on the usage that you can get for nothing, the clever ones give you enough to make the service really useful and make their money from a small […]


Podcasting as therapy in troubled times

At the end of last year Ed Freyfogle and I started talking about doing a Geomob podcast as a way of sharing Geomob with a bigger audience. Ed had done a couple of podcasts with another friend and had learnt the basics. It seemed like a fun idea, two friends who share a passion for geo chatting each week and interviewing past Geomob speakers. We recorded our first podcast at the end of January and […]


FOSS4G UK, a personal view

Last week James Milner and his organising committee staged a brilliant FOSS4G UK at the Geovation Hub. For the first time in ages I wasn’t organising a FOSS4G (well I did help with some financial bits and pieces), I wasn’t presenting (except for a lightning talk) so I could just hang out listen to interesting speakers and learn some cool stuff in the workshops. Here is what I enjoyed in roughly chronological order): Day 1 […]


Eating Humble Pie

  Last week I wrote a post about making a map of the locations of US steel plants and the electoral results in their local communities. I concluded with this brief summary “it’s a first draft and needs a good bit of work, but you can certainly see a pattern – most of the steel plants (and all of the large ones) are in Republican Districts – hardly a big surprise but there you go. I guess […]


Mapping US Steel while Arsenal lose (again!) 2

A couple of days ago a friend asked me if I could help a friend of his make a map showing the locations of US steel plants against US 115th Congressional Districts (2016). I tweeted out asking my American geogeek friends if they could help me find the data for this map. Within a few hours I had the Congessional District boundaries and the 2016 election results but the steel plant locations were a little […]


FAKEMAPS – the movie

Thanks to the enormous efforts of the FOSS4G 2017 organising team the videos of keynotes and presentations are now appearing on their site. There were a couple of technical glitches when I was giving my FAKEMAPS talk in Boston but fortunately the video finally appeared with sound, slides and me. Get your self a cup of coffee, a beer or even a single malt, sit back and hopefully enjoy, it’s worth making the video ‘full […]


Tales from Boston – the FOSS4G TGP

This is my last post on the 2018 FOSS4G Travel Grant Programme (but you can look forward to several more about the 2019 TGP). I wanted to share some of the feedback that I have received from the TGP recipients. In case you have forgotten, you can donate to the 2018 TGP now. My name is Mayra Zurbarán, I am from Colombia (not Columbia!) and a PhD Student at Universidad del Norte in Barranquilla, Colombia […]


FOSS4G – it’s getting better all the time

FOSS4G just gets better and better, perhaps it’s the delight of being on a geobusman’s holiday rather than being the conference chair? I’d been in conversation with Michael Terner and Guido Stein, the co-chairs of FOSS4G 2017, for over a year in my role as a past chair and member of the OSGeo Conference Committee. I know how much passion and effort they and their team put into bringing FOSS4G to Boston, their vision and […]


#FAKEMAPS standing room only 8

  Sometimes a glitch can work out. I had been worrying how I was going to get through over 60 slides in my FAKEMAPS presentation (plus builds) in 20 minutes, I cut and cut but still thought I might have to do a hard stop somewhere before the spectacular end. Stressful. The FOSS4G team had asked presenters to use their laptops that were hooked up for recording, they suggested PowerPoint format or PDF (no Keynote). […]


#FOSS4G give to the 2018 Travel Grant Programme NOW

I am sitting at FOSS4G with a little smile on my face. We have just handed out the last of ten travel grants to people who would not have been able to have make the trip to Boston without our support. When you meet these people and hear a little more of their stories you know how important it is that we enable more people to experience FOSS4G. This year we crowdfunded over $1,500 to […]


FOSS4G, from Nottingham to Uganda to Boston

I have recently been chatting by mail with Bernard Muhwezi who is the Manager of Geo-Information Services at the Uganda Bureau of Statistics. Bernard is attending FOSS4G in Boston this year, he told me about what had happened in his country since he returned from FOSS4G 2013 in Nottingham, (Bernard authorised me to share this mail) I attended FOSS4G Nottingham, and collected materials and CDs and trained in QGIS, when I came back I trained 54 mapping […]


Pay it forward

FOSS4G starts in Boston in just over 3 weeks time, there will be close on 1000 attendees (could go higher if you are one of the late registrations) learning, sharing, networking, having a bit of geofun, making new friends and building the Open Source Geo community. There will be hundreds of presentations, workshops, keynotes, lightning talks, birds of a feather, meet ups, loads of QGIS and lots of new stuff. So who wouldn’t want to […]