Author: florenceandtheai

Back In The Swing

The last two weeks haven’t been particularly conducive to self-directed learning of any kind.  I made several short road trips for work and we’re making final preparations for a total building move.  I’m hoping to regain my footing in this upcoming week.  I did complete ESRI’s Do-It-Yourself Geo Apps MOOC.  The session I attended is over but it looks like they’ll be offering it again this year.  There was a lot of good information.

Segueing into that my department is working with another to make some of our relevant information publicly available, using some of the platforms and data covered in the MOOC.  We’ve never done something like this before and it’s been a really positive learning experience.  I do want to learn other GIS platforms-knowing multiple ways to solve a problem is better than only knowing one-but it’s hard to beat ESRI’s tools for a quick, comprehensive way to deploy data that is also simple for non-GIS folks.  I had my first techie meetup.  Great group.

Not As Bad As I Thought

I’m just over halfway through Learn Python the Hard Way and I’m somewhat heartened.  I already use a lot of this stuff, especially Boolean logic, in GIS.  I haven’t blown up my computer using command line so I can at least follow directions.  I’m trying to decide what I should do next:  dive into Leaflet and QGIS or get a better understanding of JavaScript.  I’ll probably start one way, realize about halfway through I should’ve started the other way, then do it right from the beginning.  I’ll keep banging the rocks together.

The Hard Way

I’m about a third of the way Learn Python the Hard Way.  Progress has been uneven but generally forward.  I’m in a frustrating position.  I’ve learned a fair bit of actual programming in web environments (Code Academy, Khan Academy, whatever) but no command line whatsoever.  Hard Way jumps immediately into command line.  I’m glad for that but the book is more self-directed than I expected.  Programmers need to be independent, but it could be more balanced between “baby steps” and “here, go look this up”.  Okay, that’s enough whining.  On to module review.


I’ve worked in GIS for a while and I’ve made a lot of pretty maps.  I’ve enjoyed it but I want to stay relevant in a field that keeps moving forward exponentially.  I’ve learned basic Python (Code Academy) and JavaScript (Khan Academy).  I gave myself a crash course in web GIS by using TileMill (evolved into Mapbox Studio) to create a traffic volume map – it was simpler than trying to explain vehicle counts over the phone.  I didn’t take any coding classes in college and the need for it was never really made clear.  I’m off to a late start but I’m making up for lost time and there are so many good resources out there that I’m spoiled for choice.  I see this as a place where I can record what happens, good or bad.  Trying to outlogic a computer tends to end in infinite loops for both the machine and the user.  Here goes nothing!