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FOSS4G 2017 Report

FOSS4G 2017 Boston

Conference Report: Lex Berman

Conference Proceedings (forthcoming):

The international conference on Free and Open Source Software for Geospatial was held at Harvard CGA and the Seaport Hotel, from August 14th to August 19th. Attended by 1,200 GIS users, developers, educators, and contractors, the gathering was full of energy and enthusiasm for the wide-spread adoption of Open Source GIS software.

Sponsors of the event included dozens of companies, from IBM (Diamond Sponsor) and Digital Globe (Platinum Sponsor), to major service providers in the field (Boundless, Google, Fulcrum…), and many other players in the fast-changing field of GIS, web-mapping and location based services.

The first two days of the conference featured a series of 54 hands-on technical workshops, held at the Harvard Center for Geographic Analysis. The workshops were fully subscribed, covering topics from the use of LIDAR point cloud data, to geospatial statistics, Solr spatial search, back-end databases, front-end javascript clients, etc. Workshop descriptions are available here:

The main conference event, held at the Boston Seaport Hotel and World Trade Center, featured hundreds of parallel sessions, on every conceivable geospatial topic. Keynote presentations included Paul Ramsay (of PostGIS fame), who gave a great talk on “why we code” in the open source economy.

Joe Cheng (R Studio and Shiny) spoke about “Coding as a First Resort,” and how R Studio and Shiny enable analysts to interact directly with their data, without going through long and complex development cycles, and in ways that are reproducible and shareable from the outset.

A major highlight of the conference for CGA was the announcement of a new collaboration effort between MapD Technologies and Harvard CGA. The new partnership will take place through the NSF-funded I/UCRC Spatiotemporal Innovation Center, focusing on research into big data analytics, and testing the potential for GPU computation of large graph databases.

An excellent overview of the main themes of this year’s FOSS4G is provided by Chris Morabito here:

Adding to Chris’ excellent recap, here are some of my favorite leads discovered at the conference:

1. Tina Cormier’s R for Geo Workshop

2. Geodan Research Amsterdam (translation between pgsql and js data types, and simplification of geojson to topojson)
Example of simplification method:

3. Boundless SDK (based React, Redux, and OpenLayers)

Boundless Spatial Connect SDK (allows for offline mobile maps using compact tile cache)

4. Mapbox Vector Tile spec (presented by Jaak Laineste)

5. GeoWave spatio-temporal indexing

6. Open Air Quality (presented by Christa Hasenkopf)

7. Fukushima Radiation Monitoring (presented by Kyoung-sook Kim)
Webmap of airborne radiation exposure data:

8. European Union Copernicus Emergency Mapping Service (presented by Simone Dalmasso)

9. GeoMesa streaming data analytics (presented by Anthony Fox)

Tags  open source