logoFed Geo Day is a conference held here in DC where basically everyone who works in geographical related fields meets up to learn what the Federal Government is currently using and wants to start implementing into their programs. This conference’s line up is set to cover open source GIS applications, web mapping, web publishing, cartography applications and more. The talks are coming from a range of departments including NASA, the National Park Service, and the Census Bureau. I believe there’s going to be 6 of us going from National Geographic with 3 from our division, one from the magazine, and Marshall is tagging along from education. Best part about it is that it’s professional development and the Society has graciously paid for my registration. Can’t thank them enough, this conference will open my eyes to not only the profession itself but the types of FREE mapping applications that I could potentially use on my own if things were to get rolling in the right direction.

Conference Recap:

Fed Geo day was a great success with tons of information on open source GIS and perfect venue. Hosted at the Wooly Mammoth Theatre down on 7th street Marshall and myself got there at 8:30 for some chatter and coffee. The day started out with an introduction from 4 different users of open source software. The most interesting was how the National Park Service is creating their own online map tiles with the goal of having a similar look and feel of their print maps. These are all fully free not only to the public but created using Mapbox, Tile Mill, and QGIS. The other presentation during the morning warm-up was that of how open source developement can drive policy for government. The gentleman went over the increasingly confusing codes, regulations, and other documents that the government usually pumps out with a focus on standardization. One, no one actually reads them and two if you can read them you’re not going to be able to understand them. By using open source graphic design and maps you can translate confusing information into understandable information that can actually help further the policies and further them at a quicker rate.

The rest of the day followed a two track system which consisted of tech talks and the other mostly on theory. I joined in on the tech talks for both Mapbox and cartoDB but the others such as Azenvo and Radiant Blue were well over my head and got into the real nitty gritty of coding. The theory track was great and aligned it’s talks towards what DC is all about, politics. One guy had used a variety of products to help win elections while another sounded awfully like this past summer in the Galapagos with the nitty gritty of postGIS, GRASS, and postgres.

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