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!

Cool Japanese Things #4

  • All you can eat/drink reception. You have two and a half hours…. go!
  • Fast trains. Because faster is better. Really.
  • Vending machine restaurants. No wait staff, you purchase your order from a vending machine, which gives you tickets you hand to the cooks. Order up!
  • Cheap food. If not cheap, at least not expensive, dinner out at Osaka pub with slightly more sake than I could handle and full up on (over-the-moon tasty) snack/tapas plates for about $40.

Cool Japanese Things #3

  • Umbrella lockers. In the art museum, there are standard left lockers for storing your bags and coats, but also little vertical lockers for locking up your umbrella while you tour the building! Is this a rainy city? I am thinking, yes.
  • Vertical gas station. Why waste space with gas pumps at ground level when you can just hang the filling hoses down from the ceiling? Hai!
  • Blogging from the car. Taichi has a mifi box, so the laptop works even while we are travelling underneath the triple-decker freeway, heading back to the guesthouse. Zoom zoom zoom.