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FOSS4G UK Edinburgh 2019

This year, Astun staff are giving 4 presentations and 1 workshop at FOSS4G UK Edinburgh to share with the community what we are passionate about as individuals, and as an organisation. At Astun we believe that we are the 'Experts in Place', but to live up to this claim we must do everything but stay 'in place' by constantly evolving what works, and revolutionising what doesn't. With that in mind, here's a preview of the presentations we're giving next month:
Matt Walker; OpenLayers Workshop The OpenLayers (OL) Workshop will guide attendees through the official Workshop material, providing a comprehensive overview of OL as a web mapping solution. The workshop format follows a series of modules covering everything from the basics of creating an OL map, through to specific functionality such as handling vector data, and building content for consumption on mobile devices.

We will work through as many of these modules as we have time for! The workshop material is…
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G-Cloud 11 Update

Astun Technology have been a Crown Commercial Service (CCS) Approved Supplier for a number of years now, with our solutions and services available via their Digital Marketplace.

Our customers have acquired our solutions via both the G-Cloud and Local Authority Software Applications (LASA) frameworks.

G-Cloud 10 was replaced by G-Cloud 11 on 2 July 2019 and I am delighted to say that all of our solutions and services are now available for purchase under this new framework. This framework makes buying cloud solutions and services faster and cheaper than entering into individual procurement contracts, so switching to Cloud based GIS has just got easier.

Our solutions are available under the Cloud Software and Cloud Support lots as follows:

Cloud Software
iShare In the CloudQGIS in the CloudAstun Data ServicesGet INSPIREdGet INSPIREd and Enterprise Metadata for iShareGet INSPIREd Enterprise
Cloud Support Geospatial Cloud Consultancy ServicesGeospatial Open Source Support PackagesGeospatial O…

Wychavon District, Malvern Hills District, and Worcester City councils sponsor improvements to the Gemini metadata plugin for Geonetwork

Astun have been working with Wychavon District, Malvern Hills District and Worcester City councils on some improvements to the Gemini 2.2 Metadata Plugin for Geonetwork.

The councils approached us at one of our User Group events in 2018 for some assistance with their joint data and metadata publishing workflow. In this workflow, data is published as WMS and WFS using Geoserver. Metadata in the WMS and WFS responses are harvested by Geonetwork to create metadata records, which are then published to data.gov.uk. The goal was to create fully valid Gemini 2.2 metadata directly from Geoserver, without the need for editing the records in Geonetwork. We worked with the councils to establish that the Geoserver INSPIRE plugin and built-in metadata tools met most of that requirement, but that some elements were either incorrectly added or missing entirely when the metadata was harvested into Geonetwork.

Astun have enhanced the Gemini 2.2 metadata plugin for Geonetwork to improve it's WMS an…

GeoCom 2018 in London

IntroductionOn the 8th November the Association for Geographic Information held their 2018 conference at the Royal Geographical Society in London. Their focus was on productivity - how Location Intelligence can deliver a more productive economy. There was a wide range of speakers in attendance and they provided a diverse take on productivity with some hitting the mark more than others. If there was a common takeaway from the conference it would be about the growing size and availability of data. More on that later.
Presenters’ highlightsHelen Bartlett, Data Manager at the MET Office spoke of their new climate change dataset - UKCP18. The raw data has already been released but November sees the launch of the full service. The UKCP09 service will cease at the end of 2018. The 2009 data will be archived at the Centre for Environmental Data Analysis catalogue. The maps & reports for the 2018 key findings are available as PDFs. Raw data should be available this month.
William Priest, Ch…

Making home working work!

I was chatting to a personal acquaintance recently about work and we got on to the subject of home working. The organisation she worked for was going through a period of change and they were planning on moving some of their office staff to home working on a permanent basis. She was after my views on how we manage to make that work effectively at Astun. This blog, which is very much a manager's perspective, is what I told her!

Before we get on to to the two key themes of this blog - the Technical and Cultural - a quick bit about Astun first! 1. Astun's circumstances We employ around 21 people, of which 6 or so work from an office in Epsom, and the rest work from home on a permanent basis. From my home in Bristol, I line manage 13 of those people, 3 of which are office based, the rest primarily work in the UK, as far north as Tyneside & Lancaster and as far south as Southampton. I have one member of the team who is based in Seville in Spain.
2. Technical Use of technology is k…

Astun Conference 2018

In late September and October Astun hosted two regional conferences in Bristol and Leeds. In the current environment it isn’t easy to persuade people in Local and Central Government to take a day out of their schedules and travel to to a conference, so getting over 70 delegates over the two days was a strong indication of the value that Astun brings to its clients. After a brief welcome from Steven Feldman (Bristol) or Dan Ormsby (Leeds) Mike Saunt, Astun’s founder and MD, gave a keynote entitled “Much ado about Mapping” Mike talked about Astun as a passionate company, passionate about geo, passionate about open, passionate about the cloud and fanatical about support. He ran through the way Astun’s offer had evolved in the last year with new features, an improved user experience, simplified administration, more automation of cloud deployment and most importantly major investments in testing, quality enhancement and reducing technical debt. Then Mike moved on to the direction of travel for…

FOSS4G 2018 in Dar Es Salaam

Last month I spent a week in Dar Es Salaam at FOSS4G 2018, incorporating the HOT (Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team) Summit. It was one of an increasing number of occasions where I find my Astun Technology and MapAction roles overlapping, and made more enjoyable by being able to spend some of the time with colleagues from both organisations.

This was my fourth FOSS4G, and was a very different experience to the first three. Tanzania is the second African country to have hosted FOSS4G after South Africa, and so nationals of African countries made up a significant proportion of the delegates, most of whom, judging from those I spoke to, were attending for the first time. Their travel experiences were also a little different to mine - one delegate told me she had travelled for two days on a bus from northern Tanzania with no overnight stop, putting into perspective gripes from those of us flying in about stopovers and connections. The age and gender demographic was also significantly differ…