We interrupt this geeky spring...

To do something completely different. British Columbia, my fair home, is in the midst of an odd period where both major parties are having leadership races. The race for my party of choice (the NDP) has just gotten started, and I believe that pitching in early for what you believe in is a way to have maximum effect. So I’m spending my spring working as much as possible for John Horgan. John’s someone who reflects my belief nobody has all the right answers, and he’s someone with the personal skills (that I envy) to both listen for the answers and bring folks together around a common direction. And he’s fun to be around, which is a nice bonus.

Unfortunately for PostGIS, time doing campaign work takes from time spent on PostGIS 2.0, so unless another PSC member has an equal and opposite infusion of time to mine, things will slow down a bit for the next couple months. I’ll still be going to the Montreal code sprint though: some things are sacrosanct.

Victoria GeoGeeks!

The Victoria geo-geeks are meeting again next week, on Thursday, January 6, at 6pm at the offices of Latitude Geographics. We’ll be hearing from four speakers, on the topics of Google Fusion Tables and Open (Geo) Data in Government.

  • Google Fusion Tables, Intro and Demo - Josh Livni, Google Outreach Engineer (30m)
  • Open (Geo) Data in BC - Herb Lainchbury and Greg Lawrence (25m)
  • Open (Geo) Data Rebuttal - Mark Sondheim (5m)

Hope to see all you Victoria geo-geeks there!

Removing Complexities

My co-worker Alyssa Wright just asked me an interesting question: Vancouver Island is a pretty crinkley island, how would we simplify it to remove the crinkley bits?

Original Island

Notice the big fjords and other fine work by Slartibartfast. ST_Simplify will not do what we need, since it removes redundant vertices within a tolerance. So the fjords will have fewer vertices, but they’ll still be there.

However, it turns out there is a solution, and I didn’t even need a long walk in the snow to figure it out. If we buffer by a large amount, then reverse the buffer by the same amount, we’ll get something that has a similar shape to the original, but without the crinkly bits.

Buffered by 4km

Buffer out, and the crinkley bits get melted away. But now the island is too big. So buffer inwards.

Negative Buffer by 4km

And now we have something we can use. We could now even run ST_Simplify on this result to drop some unneeded vertices and make it smaller yet.

Simple Island

Looking closer, you can see how we have melted away all the crinkley bits while still following the original (mostly). Note that the new shape is still a strict superset of the original.

Saanich Peninsula

FOI @ OpenGov BC

This is what I did last Wednesday while recovering from my Japanese jet-lag: panel wrangling at OpenGovWest BC. Probably the easiest moderating session I’ll ever get, four FOI superstars, just wind them up and let them go.

Freedom of Information (FOI) panel from opengovwestbc.

Victoria GeoGeeks Meetup

Update: Twelve people RSVP’ed so far for this month’s meet!

If you live in Victoria, BC, and you love geotechnology, I hope you’ll join the monthly geogeekery meetup we are starting. The first Thursday of every month, at the Sticky Wicket pub. Our first gathering will be December 2, see you there!