Skip to main content

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 freely available online, so attendees can pick up from the module where we left off, and review the modules covered in their own time following the event. Attendees are expected to bring a laptop and must complete the workshop setup prior to attending. Work towards OL v6 which is focused on improvements to Vector Tile layers, how layers are rendered and overall performance is currently on-going. The workshop will use a beta release of OL v6.

Ant Scott on behalf of MapAction; Software Bilingualism: Running ESRI, QGIS and Keeping Everyone and Everything Happy

MapAction has traditionally relied on ESRI products for its emergency mission work, using licences provided by ESRI. This has to some extent been self-perpetuating, as volunteers were recruited for their ArcGIS skills (among other qualities), though QGIS has always been used for training and capacity building work.

More recently, a number of factors have moved the organisation towards a fully ‘bilingual’ software strategy i.e. the ability to perform all its activities in either Arc or QGIS. As well as providing flexibility to volunteers on deployment and allowing a change of focus in recruitment from specific software skills to more generic GIS capabilities, this also supports MapAction’s ability to work alongside, and in some cases hand over to, other NGOs who are using QGIS and other open source tools.

The presentation will set out MapAction’s progress towards reaching its goal of bilingualism, and identify blockages and areas where external help might be useful.

Dan Ormsby; QGIS in the Cloud - Desktop GIS in a Browser

QGIS in the Cloud is an innovative alternative to local QGIS installations, where users access a pre-configured QGIS platform hosted in the Amazon Web Services cloud via a web browser. Astun developed QGIS in the Cloud as a managed environment for delivering QGIS training courses and customer workshops, and now offer it as an enterprise platform to other organisations. 

This talk will explore the rationale behind its development, examine the pros and cons of hosting QGIS in the Cloud, and provide an overview of how the desktop virtualisation tools available in the Amazon Web Services environment have made QGIS in the Cloud a reality.

Jo Cook; Don't let metadata get you down

Do you find working with metadata complicated? Do you have information in legacy formats that you’re not sure what to do with? Is compiling a decent metadata catalogue something you know that you should do, but keep putting off?  If so, this talk is for you!

Geonetwork is a fantastic open source product for building and managing your metadata catalogue, but it can still be a pain to get started, or to understand how your data is being used. Throwing some additional open source packages into the mix can make it more powerful still, easier to import your metadata, and provide some real insights into how your data is used.

In this talk, Jo will highlight some of the work we’ve undertaken with the Environment Agency, DEFRA, Scottish Government, and numerous local authorities, the sorts of problems we’ve encountered with them, and the solutions we’ve developed to overcome them. Expect some Geonetwork, Python, SQL, AWS, some fine-looking dashboards, and some command-line geekery. Jo will also be updating everyone on current work to create a Geonetwork Plugin for the new Gemini 2.3 metadata standard.

Ian Turton; Using the OGC Web Processing Service (WPS) to move business logic to the server

In the past, desktop GIS were necessary to handle complex spatial business decisions. This lead to problems with data management, model updates and an increased cost to the organisation in hardware and (often) software maintenance. As organisations move to more cloud based solutions and provide staff with thinner client machines (chrome books etc.) it becomes harder for staff to manage more complex geospatial problems.

The Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC) developed the web processing service (WPS) standard in 2005. It provides rules for standardizing how inputs and outputs (requests and responses) for geospatial processing services are made. The standard also defines how a client can request the execution of a process, and how the output from the process is handled. It defines an interface that facilitates the publishing of geospatial processes and clients’ discovery of and binding to those processes.

This talk will present case studies of how Astun Technology has used the OGC WPS standard, as implemented by GeoServer, to allow users of web based mapping applications to carry out advanced spatial operations and allowed them to implement complex business logic with out the need for specialised hardware or software.

Look out for us at FOSS4G UK if you are attending, and stay in the loop by following us on Twitter @astuntech and by using the hashtag #FOSS4GUK2019


Popular posts from this blog

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…

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…

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 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…