We aren't in Kansas anymore, Toto

No, we aren’t, because I got home last night.

But, the last couple days, I was in Kansas – Lawrence, Kansas, to be precise – a little piece of Massachusetts, cunningly hidden on the eastern edge of the Great Plains. Easy parlor game: find Douglas County, the home of Lawrence, in this map of county-by-county 2008 election results.

The organizers of Kansas University GIS Day were kind enough to invite me out to keynote their event. The talk I delivered, on disruptive technology and open source, was well-received. I also got to meet up with Howard Butler and Steve Lime, two members of the Mapserver community who live in fly-over country and who drove down to Lawrence. Steve came to present on Mapserver at KU GIS Day, and Howard just came for the beer and camaraderie.

Here’s the wordle of my keynote.

The folks at the KU Natural History Museum invited me and Howard over to talk about open source and their plans for open sourcing their collections-management software, Specify. They were also kind enough to give us a short tour of their holdings, which are incredible – four floors of climate controlled racks of bottles of specimens, and that was just the fish and frogs! We also got to see a coelacanth, the “fossil fish”, unchanged over 40M years.

Thanks to Josh Campbell, Xan Wedell and all the other GIS Day organizers who showed me and the other presenters such hospitality.

All in all, a great trip, but click click there’s no place like home, there’s no place like home…