Archive for September, 2008

FOSS4G Starts

Posted in Django, FOSS4G 2008 on September 29th, 2008 at 07:55:41

After climbing Table Mountain yesterday, I’m somewhat beat, but was able to make it up at 0730 to give a GeoDjango workshop with Josh. After spending the first hour running around attempting to get power for everyone and get DVDs copied, we got started.

Overall, the workshop went well. We had a variety of users — including two people who were relatively successful with running GeoDjango from their own (mac) laptops. I’ve learned a few things about using VMWare — for example, I was reminded that there is no real VMWare option for PPC Macs, and that installing VMWare on Mandriva is not as trivial as it maybe should be.

I was able to get two of my machines working with the VMWare DVD we had and distributed (link later once I talk to Josh and we fix some of the missing things), and gave them out to people. With our 25 people, we had about 15 laptops running, with others sharing.

Learned a few key points: For one, our documentation on the workshop was insufficiently explanatory of how to do things like “edit files”, “open a terminal”, etc. A number of people were facing significant problems towards the start because of that. (Also, not installing vim on the VMWare image was problematic for me, and Erik had the same problem with emacs.) Due to the somewhat staggered start, we got a little bit lost in the weeds pretty quickly, and didn’t get a chance to really explain what GeoDjango was about to start, which I think was a lack in the workshop.

Overall, we got through setting up the VMWare image (though not installation from scratch), starting a project, creating a model, setting up the admin (with this being one of the more difficult parts, specifically because almost no one had internet access within the VM), generating KML, viewing the KML on an OpenLayers map, and using the GDAL tools (LayerMapping) to import polygon data from a shapefile and view/edit that. A couple people got ahead through creating a Ward view as well, which was nice.

There are a number of aspects of the workshop that need more polish, but overall, I think people who were interested got to see GeoDjango in admin, and see why it’s pretty cool. Hopefully we can clean up our workshop docs to make it smoother for the next person to walk through it, and get more people interested in GeoDjango and learning about Django in general through that.

Arrival, FOSS4G2008

Posted in FOSS4G 2008, Locality and Space on September 28th, 2008 at 01:00:55

Have arrived in Cape Town in preparation for FOSS4G. And the most important part of the trip — the drinking of the beers — is already in full force.

Tim, Fountains Hotel

I’m staying in the Fountains Hotel; apparently a good choice, given the number of random FOSS4G passerby we’ve had so far.

18 hours of flying is a long time, but didn’t go poorly, though I am lacking any clothes until Monday afternoon (so I’ll be kind of stinky for my workshop with Josh on GeoDjango on Monday). Made it to the hotel, then headed out to Dinner at Cape To Cuba. Was good environment and tasty, for not a bad price. We then went back to the Fountains Hotel and had a couple drinks at the hotel bar.

I’ve uploaded pictures — they’re tagged by day and foss4g2008, so you should be able to see daily shots as I continue to upload them. (I’ve also got a FOSS4G 2008 set.) Today we’re doing a trip up Table Mountain — taking the cable car — leaving from Fountains Hotel around 10AM (breakfast at 9:15).

PSA: If you’re at all interested in GeoDjango, and have more than a passing knowledge of Python, I highly recommend coming to our GeoDjango workshop (and bringing a laptop). It’s gonna be great.

PSA2: If you’re staying at Fountains, and don’t want to go down to the desk to get an internet voucher, you can still ssh. Just join the wireless network, and ‘ssh $ipaddress’. (If you don’t know your IP address, you can look it up by using ‘dig @’.) If you need to get to the web, you can add “-D 4000” to your ssh command — ‘ssh -D 4000’ — to set up a SOCKS proxy. Then, in Firefox Preferences -> Advanced -> Network -> Connection, do manual Proxy configuration, and enter ‘localhost’, ‘4000’ as a “SOCKS Host”.

FOSS4G 2008

Posted in FOSS4G 2008, Locality and Space on September 26th, 2008 at 06:37:08

About to head out to FOSS4G 2008. Leaving from Boston this morning, New York this afternoon, arriving at Cape Town around 4pm with a refuel-only stop in Dakar.

I’m staying at the Fountains Hotel, and will try to spend most of my time in the lobby. (If you see a guy with a Macbook sitting around there, there’s a fair chance he’s me.)

I’m presenting Collaborative Mapmaking with GeoDjango, which should be great for anyone who has worked with Django but not GeoDjango, and even people who haven’t used Django can probably play along.

OpenLayers users should be interested in Tim’s excellent summary of the OpenLayers-related sessions; as he mentions though, there are *36* sessions that mention OL, so it seems likely that no matter what track you follow, you’ll see *some* OpenLayers mentioned.

After the conference, a couple of OL developers are doing a trip around the Cape; on Monday morning, I fly out to Kruger National Park for a 3 day whirlwind tour. I’ve rented the car, but I’m still keeping an eye out for anyone who wants to room with me: I can take at least one more person (and if we get two more, we can rent a bigger car :)). If you’re interested and fly out Friday or later, let me know!

I’ll be trying to keep Twitter updated with my whereabouts; if you’re interested in tracking me, you can follow me, though I expect I’ll be less prolific than usual, since I won’t have cheap text messaging access.

If you’re at FOSS4G, look me up!