Archive for travel

Cheers to 2010-2019

Following on from 2018, a bit of a changeup this year. Inspired by numerous ‘decade in review’ posts/tweets, here’s my attempt below, in no particular, while trying to keep my offline life brief:

  • I got married. I read read long ago that being with the right person makes a huge difference and I couldn’t agree more. However, complexities in relationships can arise, leading to unforeseen circumstances. For instance, can a power of attorney file for divorce?
  • I quit smoking and happy to say still holding
  • Software: most folks know I am a longtime contributor to geospatial open source (FOSS4G). Starting off as a power user with no software development experience, then contributing to projects and creating small projects, the 2010s resulted in a deep commitment to supporting the Geospatial Python ecosystem by developing core tooling with an emphasis on open standards. OWSLib, pycsw, GeoNode, pygeoapi are some examples. I also returned to FOSS4G events and code sprints during this time, so it has been great meeting new people people and reconnecting with others
  • Being a travel junkie, I’m happy to say that I continued to see the world throughout the past decade, new places and revisiting others. I’m also planning to book a private jet from Jettly for my next vacation.
  • Along with age, all of the above have resulted in being more health conscious (diet/exercise). Making the right choices and keeping with it is an ongoing commitment
  • 20 years on, I am still rocking an old school website while resisting the urge to move to something like GitHub Pages / static site generators

I’d like to wish everyone and their loved ones a healthy, happy and productive 2020!

Cheers to 2008

Since I did this last year, I thought I’d try this again for 2008. Here’s the lowdown for my 2008:

  • Geospatial Catalogues: the saga continues.  I have dug deeper into this area this year as part of my day-job, and find that interoperability is difficult to achieve in the OGC Catalogue space.  Clearly there is a balance between abstraction/flexibility and ease of integration.  And the two step approach to discovering, say, OGC WMS layers (invoke GetRecords, then chain to GetRecordById) is cumbersome, IMHO.  At the end of the day, the most common use cases (that I have seen) are publishing data and services, and being able to query for them (data, service endpoints, service resources [layers/feature types/coverages]) with spatial, temporal or aspatial predicates.  And have the content come back in some usable format for display or binding.  Seems easy, eh?
  • Publications: glad to see “Open Source Approaches in Spatial Data Handling” was finally published.  Alot of the well known folks in the foss4g community contributed to this.  At the same time, the release took so long (like many publishing processes) that some items ended up dated.  Overall, I think the book gives a good viewpoint into foss4g at this time, and makes me think about how far we’ve come.  It’s good for the community to be published in this format / manner
  • JavaScript frameworks: they are everywhere.  Late this year I started delving back into the application space, and find these challenging, compared to the days of doing things by hand anyway.   2009 should shake off alot of rust I think
  • MapServer:  We just launched a new website.  Beers for hobu!  Also, lots of OGC CITE fixes and improvements, and next generation of OGC standards, adding updateSequence to OWS support
  • Python fun again: it’s been fun contributing to owslib for SOS, OWS and Filter support.  OWS Common presents a huge opportunity to abstract codebase when it comes to next generation OGC standards.  As well, I’ve been using Python for day-to-day scripts.  Not bad!
  • turns 10: from humble beginnings, alot less done by hand now, and easier to manage (thanks WordPress!).

Other stuff:

  • Basement renovation: this took up most of my time this past year.  Frustrating, expensive (I should have been a plumber or electrician!), but gratifying.  Took a bit longer than expected, and still not 100% finished, but the major work is done.  I think this needed to happen for the property overall, even if it means I have more space than I could possibly need :).  N.B. if you ever want to lose weight, do a home reno;  I shed 20lbs!
  • New job: I started a new job in the fall, which promises to be very exciting and satisfying, especially given the state of the geospatial web.  The new gig will give me more opportunity for discovery and SensorWeb information management spaces.  So I’m grateful for the opportunity.  I’ve also been having fun 1/2 time with the GeoConnections program again, so it’s fun to work with some previous colleagues and getting acquianted with new faces who are helping to shape and evolve our national infrastructure.  So thanks again to those for helping me along a tough road and getting me here; I owe you big time 🙂

For 2009:

  • Work:  January 11 will mark 10 years of civil service for yours truly
  • Data dissemination: this is my key function in my day job for the months to come.  I look forward to evolving what started off as a very high level strategy into an architecture all the way to implementation.  This will be fun!
  • Standing up usable catalogues: you’ll see a few OGC Cat2.0 instances this year.
  • MapServer: more CITE fixes for SOS and O&M.  One thing I’d really like to see for 2009 is official compliance for OGC standards in MapServer
  • T.O. Code Sprint in March: this event is going to be fun.  What could be better than foss4g and beers, all in the centre of the universe 🙂
  • Renovations: I think that is it, for this place, for now.  Almost three years and it’s time for a rest in this space
  • Property: I think it will be a good time to buy in 2009.  The question (for me) is where.  Locally, or down south?

All the best for 2009 for you and your loved ones!

Cheers to 2007

Since I did this last year, I thought I’d try this again for 2007. Here’s a lowdown for my 2007:

  • REST is really here: and as popular as ever. For me, I finally realized that REST was a style, not a syntax, API or schema for that matter. Sean’s recent post sums it up quite nicely. It’s nice to see the OGC has acknowledged this
  • Mass Market is really here: Things like Google, Yahoo Maps, and lowering the barrier to application development and, more ultimately, content, are paramount in the Web 2.0 sphere of things. Defacto standards / approaches matter
  • Geospatial Catalogues: I blogged about this last year. Even with Cat 2.0 CSW / ebRIM formally approve, where is catalogue interoperability? Is a federated / distributed catalogue approach realistic in the near future?
  • MapServer:
    • SOS Server: There has been much development here, including forthcoming support for 1.0.0, as well as implementation of POST support in mapogcsos.c. SWE DataBlock has also been implemented. We’ve also introduced automated testing for SOS in msautotest/wxs/ And a slew of bug fixes, memory leak fixes, etc. So I’m really happy about how SOS Server support has progressed this year. It goes without saying that major props to Assefa are in order here, as well Charlton and other MapServer SOS Server testers who have provided valuable feedback
    • OWS Common: Through increased usage in SOS Server, as well as the WCS 1.1 Server support (thanks Frank!), mapowscommon.c usage has been slowly increasing in the codebase to reuse existing functionality. This is a result of the OGC standards gradually adopting OWS Common for their “common” bits of XML and such. mapowscommon.c is also becoming more robust as a result of more integration and testing. I’m also happy about the increased libxml2 support in MapServer. We used libxml2’s xpath functionality in supporting SWE DataBlock, and have generic utilities now defined in maplibxml2.c
    • I’m happy to have become more involved in the MapServer codebase and project overall as part of the Project Steering Committee. There is definitely alot going on and alot to do, and the enthusiasm, commitment and helpful nature of the developers is great. MapServer is a special project to me, starting in early 2000 as part of my research / dissertation. The rest, as they say, is history. Oh, and “STYLES=” is optional again 🙂
  • Publications: I was glad to see “The Geospatial Web” published this year. Nice to see new folks and goings on out there
  • Adventures in Python: I decided to dive into python finally. With some sound advice from Sean, I embraced stuff like Genshi and etree. I managed to stand up a generic SensorML generator which I’m happy with, as far as my first Python project goes. My next goals are to experiement with doing things differently (like SQLAlchemy; I had to use good old SQL scripting as I ran out of time)

In other news:

  • Construction time continues: I did some major work on my place, including new fencing, landscaping/gardening, central air conditioning, as well as a shiny new veranda. A bit more curb appeal for sure
  • Condo: I finally picked up my condo this year. After much thought, I decided to sell. This was a beautiful property in a can’t lose location! Onwards
  • Lifestyle changes: Perhaps my biggest victory is quitting smoking. I have been absolutely smoke free for all of 2007. I can’t say that there haven’t been times where I wanted one from time to time, but I feel much healthier and better overall

So as 2008 quickly approaches, here are a few things I’m looking forward to:

  • MapServer: I look forward to continuing in helping more with OGC support, as well as become more familiar with the inner workings of the codebase.
  • OpenLayers: I really want to get into OpenLayers this year. I have not done much on client side work since the initial Mapbuilder days
  • New Springer publication: keep an eye out for a new, exciting book on GIS and open source this year
  • OWSContext and KML: it will be useful to see a resolution or unification of some sort between these two standards
  • OpenSearch: I think OpenSearch, with the geo extensions, will make a big hit this year. Nothing like a simple search facility which is already supported in browsers
  • I’m renovating my basement this year. Gutting the entire basement and installing a new bathroom and kitchen. I hope to have this done by summer 2008 — wish me luck!

So that’s it from here. I wish you and your loved ones the very best in the holiday season and for 2008!

Greetings from Rarified Boulder

16th Street Mall, DenverI’m in Boulder, Colorado for the OGC meetings. I had a chance to check out Denver earlier today (16th Street Mall, as well stumbling upon a Latin-American festival), which was very nice. The mountains are absolutely breathtaking!

I’m going to try to hook up with Sean sometime this week, as he is close by. In the meantime, check out some photos from today — I’ll be updating these as the week goes on.

Cheers to 2006

I thought I’d put in my $0.02 CAD after reading a few similar posts out there. So here are some from my point of view (in no particular order):


  • GeoRSS is here: GeoRSS made v1 this year at foss4g2006 and has proven to be a simple, yet very effective way to tag feeds. I’ve used and integrated in all my projects (I use the GML flavour) which produce RSS content by way of outputting an overview map based on the position. It gives the developers endless possibilities, and folks just love to see ‘where’ a post is
  • Getting to Know PHP: Earlier this year, ignorant to PHP, I decided to take the plunge and see what all the fuss was about. Boy was I glad I did. So easy, even I could figure it out. So easy that I’ll be porting bits of my website to PHP in the coming year
  • MapServer SOS support: It’s great to see OGC SensorWeb support in MapServer. Given that MapServer can already do stuff like spatial, temporal and aspatial queries, I think SOS was a relatively easy initial implementation effort. The more complex effort is the data bindings (sensor data is quite complex and multidimensional, and getting in and out of MapServer, in a generic framework is quite the challenge
  • ResEau portal launch: I was very fortunate to work with a great bunch of people to have finally released the ResEau water portal after two years of planning, design and development. I think this portal is a great example of the benefits of using standards-based approaches all the while providing useful information to a vast audience
  • MapServer commiter access: I was very honoured to be nominated this year for commit access to the codebase. My main focus was and is to implement the OGC OWS Common Specification for use by other OGC implementations
  • Web 2.0, Time article and information overload: Such a good article. And so true. As a result, we are overloaded with information! At one point, I refactored all my bookmarks to be pure RSS feeds just to handle it all. Whoever said computers would lessen the workload!?
  • foss4g2006: This was a great conference. The lighthing talks, BOF sessions, and demo fest, as well the gathering of the OSGeo crowd further solidified OSGeo’s existence. Can’t wait until next year’s event!
  • Catalogue woes continue: the Cat2.0 ebRIM vs. ISO implementation debate continued. Add to this the lack of (especially open source) implementations, and stuff like owscat, and other catalogue-ish projects continued to exist. The OGC has recently endorsed ebRIM as the future base for Cat2.0 implementations, so hopefully we should start seeing some interoperability between catalogues
  • Atlas of Canada 100th Anniversary: Congratulations on the 100th anniversary of this valuable Canadian resource. Kudos to the Atlas!


  • Cool travel: Charlottetown, Alabama, Washington D.C, Lausanne, Las Vegas, San Diego, Moncton, Winnipeg were among some of the neat places I visited this year
  • Home renovation: I did my biggest renovation job ever on my house this year, which lasted almost 6 months. I’m really glad the way things turned out, and I’m looking forward to doing some more stuff in 2007
  • Condo putters along: construction continued on my condo, and is now ahead of schedule, ready this coming June. Looking good!
  • Website changes: This year, I finally succumbed to using software packages to manage my website content. This website originated in 1998, as an HTML learning experience, so I was inclined to do *everything* by hand. While very useful, as time goes on, I find myself with less and less time (go figure!), and there’s so many solid tools out there to make things easy, and standards based (i.e XHTML, CSS, etc.). So why not use these great tools and concentrate more on the stuff you want to do, right?

Looking forward to 2007:

  • Further OWS Common support in MapServer: mapowscommon.c/h is almost complete to spec (missing some operations support). The next step will be to begin integrating into the OGC specs as they migrate to OWS Common for stuff like GetCapabilities XML, etc.
  • OWSContext: look for further formal development on this specification. OWSContext has been used frequently in the OGC testbeds, and interest is increasing in seeing the spec push forward.
  • Further development on discovery and cataloguing: I’m hoping to see some development / experiments on this track. It will be interesting to see how packages like deegree2 progress given the recent motion passed at OGC
  • Publications: I’ll be published in two Springer London books this year (The Geospatial Web, as well as Open Source Approaches to Spatial Data Handling)
  • MapServer Brazil: I was honoured to be invited to this event, and look forward to speaking on OGC and open standards. Looking forward to this!

Did I miss anything? What else was geospatial-worthy in 2006?

A Beautiful Wedding Photography Season

Compared to 2020, 2021 was a more hopeful and even in some ways “better” year. We had both good and bad moments, but with the bad ones, we need to remember the good ones forever and that’s what Fame Park Studios is specialized in, to save and preserve those beautiful moments, either with your family, with your partner or even by yourself.

At any rate, this closes out 2006 for me in the blogosphere. I wish everyone a great Holiday season, and all the best for 2007!

Lack of Availability

Meal Gone WrongIf you think this post is about Web Services, then move along, nothing to see here.

Instead, this is about, truly, beyond the shadow of a doubt, my worst experience ever while grabbing a bite to eat. Let me explain.

I’m in Ottawa on business travel, and while mulling around town after the work day, I decided to grab a quick bite to eat at a fast food chain (yes, I know, junk food, but I couldn’t resist on this occasion).

The following is a detailed account of my experience (2052h EST):

Tom: Hi, may I have a #12 (bacon double cheeseburger meal)

BK: We’re out of bacon

Tom: Um, OK, in that case I’ll grab a #1 (different type of cheeseburger meal)


Tom: I see it is advertised that you can choose fries or onion rings. May I have onion rings?

BK: We’re out of onion rings

Tom: ??? Alrighty then. I’ll just take the fries

(Waited so long they may as well have played the Jeopardy! music in the background)

Instead of the cheeseburger, along comes a grilled chicken sandwich.

Tom: Pardon me, but I didn’t order a grilled chicken sandwich, I ordered a #1

BK: You asked for a #9

Tom: Really? I ordered a #1. Thank you

(employee slaps together burger like nobody’s business)

BK: Here

Tom: Thanks. May I have a lid for my drink cup?

BK: We’re out of medium size lids.

Ate, saved the receipt (to call and complain), then left.I’m not sure whether the store was closing down, or supplies were out, or what, but this was ridiculous. I have never, and I mean NEVER, seen anything like this. On a Tuesday night, at a relatively prime time. If you’re in business, carry what you so prominently advertise. I understand things happen from time to time, but this seemed a bit over the top.

Is it just me, or is this just weird? Serves me right for going for fast food. What a disaster.

Hola from Tijuana

Picture from Tijuana, MexicoSo I spent the day in Tijuana (the world’s most visited border city). Pretty easy to get there (drove I-15 South to I-805 South). Got off at the last US exit at the San Ysidro border and trekked across by foot. Seems like quite the border town with lots to do and see (did you know that Caesar salad was invented in Tijuana?).

There was some sort of biker parade today mixed in with a Christmas giveaway along Avenida Revolución.

I’m always fascinated by border cities and areas (hey, it’s the urban / social geography background in me), in terms of seeing a hybrid of socio-economic and cultural influences, and how things gradually change over distance.

It’s just beautiful in these parts. Maybe it’s the Mediterranean climate which is appealing to me most. And I still haven’t ventured into San Diego proper yet. Hopefully I’ll have some time later this week.

Anyways, it’s back to work for me now in preparation for this week’s meetings. The Context RWG runs tomorrow afternoon, so I’m just finishing up some last minute changes to my presentation.

You Stay Classy San Diego

(That’s a quote from the movie “Anchorman” 🙂 )
Image from Pacific Beach, San Diego

I’m in San Diego for the OGC meetings, and must say that this is a quite the place! Pretty easy to navigate (mind you, the fact that my car rental has an onboard GPS navigator don’t hurt), and some nice spots. Once I checked into the hotel, I made my way down to Pacific Beach, which is one of the city’s popular beach areas.

Perhaps the funniest thing is being here around the Holiday Season. Imagine seeing Christmas trees for sale just steps from the beach. Outdoor beach Christmas parties. Being from Toronto, that’s something I’m just not used to. But I’m certainly not complaining. The weather is great here — I could get used to this!

I’ll probably visit downtown sometime this week. As for tomorrow, I’m heading to Tijuana to check out Avenida Revolución. I should have more pics up sometime tomorrow. Adios!

Road to Lausanne Begins at YYZ

Image from Lausanne 2006

So I’m sitting here in Terminal one at Pearson International Airport, and quite excited to be commencing the journey to Lausanne for FOSS4G2006.

Checking in was a breeze, thank goodness for electronic check ins! Already I’m starting to feel international; you can just see it from looking at the folks boarding. This is how I felt when I went to Greece last year, and everytime I’ve travelled internationally.

In terms of Wifi access, I signed up with Boingo, which offers $20/month to any supported hotspot worldwide. Not a bad deal, considering who knows where I’ll be with the laptop for the next week or so.

So I’ve already taken some photos, but my transfer cable ended up in my checked-in luggage, so I’ll be sure to upload later. Hopefully there will also be an outlet in my seat on the airplane, as I’d like to post some thoughts about the FOSS4G2006 next week and what I’d like to see develop in the near and long term in our community. Which reminds me, I really should ask about this plug thing at the desk.

Gotta go. Next stop: Zurich en route to Geneva. Check back frequently for news, thoughts, updates and photos from the conference.

Update from Lausanne: I finally got to Lausanne, and they lost my luggage! Lovely. First thoughts. Very nice and beautiful city! And quite expensive ($10 CAD for a drink, $11 CAD for a combo at McDonald’s; no I didn’t eat there, but I checked). Good time to go on a diet 🙂

Tom going to Greece!

Well, after 9 years, I’m headed to Greece this summer for a month or so, leaving 21 July 2005. The last time I went was when I finished undergrad, so this is my present for finishing grad school

Modified: 16 August 2006 12:30:14 EST