We’re excited to kick off 2017 with a brand new spectacular GeoRabble!
Join us in the ‘rabblin fray to ponder, muse & debate all things spatial (and maybe even meander into the not-so-spatial!). Leading us to the fringes of the spatial spectacular, we are excited to announce the following line-up of titillating talks:
- Dhan Prabu – Maps with a Twist
- Suzanne Brown – Drainage and Liveable Communities
- More to be announced soon!
Date: Wednesday 22nd February 2017
Time: Doors open 5:30pm, Presentations from 6:00 pm
Location: Universal Bar, 221 William St, Northbridge
Format: A handful speakers, 10 minutes each, a room full of ‘rabblers, and the usual rules
Registration: Attendance is free, but for catering purposes we need you to register!
We can’t hold these events without the help of the greater Geocommunity! Please contact us if you’d like to be a part of sponsoring a future event or get involved in helping organise an event.
Starting us off for the night was Tracy Jin Cui, with a fast-moving slide deck (47 slides!) on spatial in China; and one thing was astonishingly clear -not only is the spatial industry growing – it’s booming; and is now worth about 42 billion (US) dollars. Demand for location products and services continues to grow at a fast pace, and predominantly the platform of demand/use is mobile.
Bringing us back to more local extents, Marcia Schneider walked us through the ‘Historical Panoramas: Perth and Fremantle’ project which was borne out of a collaboration between Curtin University’s HIVE and the State Library of Western Australia. The project sourced historical images dating as far back as 1860, and stitched these into seamless panoramas. A sample set was then selected and georeferenced; and a task then set to capture modern-day panoramas of the same locations. Challenges faced included trying to access locations that were no longer accessible (but luckily drone technology was on hand). The resulting product was a beautiful virtual tour of the selected locations with the ability to fade/time-slide the panoramas. The tour can be accessed online here; and more locations are in the pipeline.
Next up, we had Voon Li Chung speaking to the keen georabblers about a possible method to optimise database queries involving GPS coordinates. The kernel of the issue is when performing a proximity search for coordinates stored as part of a larger database/dataset, there generally is no spatial relationship or index component to speed up the search. Either you go row-by-row or store all coordinates in memory…. Not particularly desirable when your computational device is a smartphone (and a cheap one at that). The aim was to devise a solution that could use the at-hand, off-the-shelf smartphone database technology (sqlite3), which already had desirable features – it’s fast, simple and taps into inherent database qualities – such as integer searches. The solution proposed would allow one to set a point of reference (of a certain distance from an interest point) and pre-calculate distances of other points from this reference point; and then perform search for those points falling within a certain (pre-calculated) distance range. This concept was further refined upon by introducing bearing values between a point and the reference point. These combined heuristics reduced a sample search set of coordinates from 133354 points to just 98 points! Impressive stuff!
Carrying on from Voon Li, we had Onno Benschop talking to us about his experiences participating in this year’s GovHack; and he walked us through his team’s hack on public housing in WA. They attempted to answer the ‘flipside’ of the more commonly known/asked question of ‘where should we not build public housing’ in order to address the ‘where should we build public housing?’ question. To do this, they tried to ascertain housing demand and accessibility to key services (in areas such as health & education) in order to rank areas by their desirability for public housing; and then produced visualisation of this in a geographical format – a map. Onno also spoke to us about experiences in the hackerspace environment and what it’s like to be a part of such an event. The link to their project page is here.
To conclude the evening, we had John Bryant speaking to us about a wonderful local initiative called ‘GeoGeeks’ which is an open-source based geospatial hack group that brings together an inspiring bunch of people fortnightly to tackle geospatial projects. John talked us through a couple of projects on the go: the ‘Maps for Lost Towns’, a venture aiming to bring 6000 historical map images to keen georeferencers through crowdsourcing technology; and the ‘WA Media Statements’ project which seeks to geocode all existing media statements to enable location-based searching/viewing. And many more projects are on the books – such as spatially tracking food trucks through tweets, or solar panel crowdsourcing. John also touched on the reasons to become involved as geospatial professional, regardless of your level of experience. You can learn new geo skills and improve problem solving abilities; it’s also an opportunity to give yourself the time/space to actually work on your own ideas, network and build meaningful connections with other industry professionals. And, because people from all industry-walks of life are welcome, you might even have the opportunity to open your mind to new ways of tackling age-old geospatial problems. To find out more, head this way.
A huge thanks also to our sponsor – Survey Results. Cheers! We couldn’t run events like this without the generous support of organisations in our industry.
We’re also making a call-out for some new organisers to join the local Georabble team. If you have ideas for topics, even if that means dobbing someone else in, or can help us with some drinks and nibbles for next time, we’d love to hear from you via firstname.lastname@example.org.
Stay tuned via #georabbleper for news about our next event coming up soon.
With a roll of the dice, the evening kicked off to an exciting start with speaker Kate Raynes-Goldie who brought the world of community game design to the GeoRabble stage. GeoRabblers got a glimpse into how location plays an important role in the construct of community games where play involves people gathering in locations or moving across them. Examples were given of “Gentrification” and Paparazzi; the latter of which was a GPS driven cat-and-mouse game of ambushes, paranoia and scandalous photos; drawing a link with the (perhaps) more familiar ‘game’ of geocaching. A “Community Games” workshop will be held at SpaceCubed in July, for those interested in learning about game design.
Next up on the GeoRabble mic was Erwin Vos, who delighted GeoRabble crowd with pretty pictures and anecdotes of jobs gone-past (including a stint as a sous-chef at the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics); with, of course, more onus on the pretty pictures! Passionate about imagery, Erwin describe the multitude of opportunities that exist for interpreting, analysing and using imagery; from detecting houses with poor insulation through to detecting land use change. The possibilities are limited only by the imagination (and knowledge of imagery components and techniques)!
The night’s mystery speaker was then (in dramatic drum rolling excitement) unveiled: Andy Waddington! Well, perhaps not in such dramatic fashion, but you get the idea. An experienced FIG/IHO Cat A Hydrographer (not sure what all those letters mean, but I’m sure they’re awe-inspiring!), Andy spoke about the charting of marine areas and sailed us through the methodologies carried out in the past (“There be dragons” was, once upon a time, a sufficient enough map indicator), those at present and those potentially used in the future. Andy also spoke about how charting now involves less dangerous voyages into areas to be charted (thanks to the power of spatial technologies such as lidar) but that in turn curtailing decisions had to made on aspects such how much area to survey or how much detail to capture. In the context of this, Andy stressed the importance of being able to know when to reuse data and gather as much information as possible from what was available.
Back on dry land, Liz Marjot was the next speaker of the night and spoke about a WA program called Spatial Technology in Schools (STIS). Liz described how the program came into being and the importance of spatial education for youth today. In particular, Liz spoke about how the interaction with spatial technology can spark interest and passion in geography and mapping, which oftentimes is lacking in a traditional classroom setting. Giving examples of some student projects, Liz described how powerful GIS can be in an applied setting in engaging students and encouraged us all to participate in bringing geospatial technology to the youth of today.
Leading on, Shane French spoke to GeoRabblers about the transition of a corporate GIS from a commercial software environment to an open source one; and gave an insightful and honest comparison of the similarities and differences, and the ups and downs encountered along the way (and did a great job of sticking to GeoRabble manifesto by not mentioning any product names!). It was a great overview for those pondering the change and implications it could have.
Last, but not, least GeoRabblers were treated to unique presentation by Hai Tran who spoke about drones and use of them to capture spatial data in a variety of contexts; from constructing aerial panoramic views of landmarks, to monitoring agricultural land, to capturing imagery to assist in the search for a missing Canadian bushwalker. Hai also spoke about the benefits of using drones: the low cost, the ease of deployment and processing; but also the diversity of use – how the drone’s payload can accommodate all sorts of devices for data capture. Though, for those enthusiasts out there, Hai did mention that being able to fly drones of this calibre did require a license (and permission from airport(s) to fly in certain areas).
Many thanks to GeoRabble team for organising the event, to the speakers of the night, to the great MC David Brady and to the event sponsors: AAM.
GeoRabble http://www.georabble.org happens in various locations around Australia, is free and open to anyone, but frequently sells out. If you would like to talk at a future Perth GeoRabble event, please send an email with the title and a short description to email@example.com.