FOSS4G 2014 Recap

If you’ve never been to FOSS4G, you’ve really missed out. I’m going to go out on a limb, but I suspect that most of you who are likely to read this blog post are both a bit on the techy side as well as having a passion for GIS (Geographic Information Systems). Mix in a lot of open source software and a crowd of really great like-minded people for a few days and you’ve got FOSS4G.

Back in September I had the opportunity to attend FOSS4G in Portland, Oregon thanks to generous support provided by the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy  and the Sonoran Institute. There is a lot of really amazing work going on and it was spectacular to see some of it showcased. In particular, the neat stuff people are doing with map visualization and interactive mapping applications on the web bodes incredibly well for the work that the Open Planning Tools Group is involved with. The future is bright folks, and it’s a great time to be doing this. I highly recommend browsing through the list of sessions, all recorded and available for viewing at:

The Saturday following the formal conclusion of FOSS4G found many of the developers congregating at a Hack-a-thon. As part of my service to the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy and the Sonoran Institute, I volunteered to lead a session targeting some interests of the OPTG. During the lead up to the session we got only a modest response from the community. Regardless, on September 13th, Critter Thompson ( and I attended the hack-a-thon and put together an operational, though still early-stage, web application to make the origin-destination data developed by the US EPA’s Office of Sustainable Communities as part of their Smart Location Database accessible to the developer community as well as the public. The products from the hack-a-thon are all available at:

As I noted, what we’ve got is a start and is not yet a finished product. If anyone would like to work on taking this further, please get in touch with me at

I’d like to thank the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy and Sonoran Institute again for their generous support, Critter Thompson from PlaceMatters, and the folks that ran FOSS4G 2014. This was one of the best run conferences I’ve ever attended and its contributions to the greater FOSS4G community continue through the recordings of all of the presentation sessions.

For those of you that haven’t seen it, here’s an extra treat that was shown during the FOSS4G closing plenary:

Nathaniel (Nate) Roth, Information Center for the Environment, University of California, Davis


Critter Thompson

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