Skip to main content

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 Saunt's keynote address
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.
The future of iShare Maps
Then Mike moved on to the direction of travel for Astun, Matt Walker gave a brief demo of the next generation of iShare Maps in the Cloud which will have a new user interface and simpler administration. Mike also talked about QGIS in the Cloud, a new service from Astun that leverages the capabilities of Amazon’s platform to deliver a high performance QGIS instance via a web browser avoiding the need for any local installation or hardware upgrades.
Mike then took us on a journey from command line interfaces, through GUI’s and mobile to what he sees as the next stage VUI’s (Voice User Interfaces) although I’m not sure that acronym will catch on! He concluded with a short video featuring Dan Ormsby talking to Alexa to find out about local recycling services and to get an update on a planning application.
Then the delegates heard from three Astun Customers:
Nick Brenchley of the Environment Agency shared their journey from metadata chaos to a pan DEFRA solution based on GeoNetwork 3.4 implemented by Astun. Nick stressed how essential metadata was to data sharing across the DEFRA network and how the initiative from former Secretary of State Liz Truss to publish 8,000 datasets within a year had been one of the key drivers behind their roll out.
Metadata - the labels on the tins of food!
David Renn of Stockton talked about “Transforming local government services with iShare in the Cloud” and had the audience in chuckles thanks to some imaginative slide graphics. Stockton have moved from a file based system to a cloud hosted spatial data warehouse accessed through web services and applications. David explained that “GIS isn’t the solution to transforming local government services but it can provide the missing piece in the jigsaw”.
Some entertaining slide graphics!

Mark Wilcox
of Exactrak talked about his experience of working on a bespoke project with Astun to develop a routing tool for winter gritting vehicles. Mark spoke very positively about the agile and collaborative working model that Exactrak had with Astun which delivered a releasable solution against challenging time lines. The Map-a-Route solution is now being implemented “in cab” within gritting vehicles delivering cost savings and improved safety for road users in the aftermath of a snowfall.
Mapping winter gritting routes
The morning session concluded with a demonstration  by Andrew Bailey of some of the new features in iShare GIS including feature editing, snapping and combining, metadata search, creating iShare print templates in QGIS and high definition printing (300dpi) in the cloud.
Complex geometry capture using iShare 5.8 Feature Builder


Afternoon

In the afternoon session the delegates got a chance to go “hands on” with iShare GIS and QGIS in the cloud: digitising a historic site boundary, creating a print template in QGIS in the Cloud complete with images and historical data, uploading it to iShare GIS and then generating a high resolution pdf output. The results were very impressive and Michael Brutsch and Gillian Hobbs of Rhondda Cynon Taff and Matt Fisher from North Lincolnshire council were awarded prizes for the best results on each day.
Workshop delegates hard at work

Andrew Bailey (right) and Matt Fisher (left) who won the Leeds workshop chocs ...

... for digitising Kenilworth castle using the iShare Feature Builder and pulling together an impressive print template! 




Comments

Popular posts from this blog

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…

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…

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…