A Busy Day

Had a great day today!

Started by talking up Victoria’s bid to host the FOSS4G conference in 2007, on an IRC meeting. Doing the budgeting and planning just to put together the bid has been very educational. I has been a good reminder of the value of working with professionals – the conference center staff and organizer I am working with pulled together the background information and base budget with magical ease. Everyone has their area of expertise, and it is sure nice to have experts on your side when entering a domain in which you know nothing at all!

Then I talked with Mark about pushing PostGIS 1.2.0 out the door, and we did! Curve support started, some performance hooks I’ve been wanting for a while, and function signatures to allow easy integration with other SQL/MM database software (this means you, ArcSDE!).

The performance stuff is fun, because I know there will be more – for every generic spatial predicate (Contains(), for example), there are lots of special cases that don’t have to be handled with full computation. If the bounding boxes of the inputs are disjoint, for example, you know Contains() is false without even starting anything involved. If both arguments are points – false! If one argument is a point and the other is a polygon, you can do a point-in-polygon test instead of a full graph calculation needed for two more complex types. And on and on and on.

Finally, I did a “Friday talk” about the history of the FME, my favourite non-open source GIS tool. Friday talks are something we try to do every week at Refractions – have someone talk about a topic of interest to them that hopefully has some relevance to other folks in the company. A programming technique, a project summary, a quirk of geography. Grist for the mill. Even in a company of less than 30, cross-polination of ideas needs to be promoted, it doesn’t happen on its own the way it does in a company of less than 10.