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Showing posts from October, 2018

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 …

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…