FOSSGIS 2012 was held in Bauhaus Stadt Dessau last week, which made for a three-train trek from Ilmenau for me. The location of the conference was at the Hochschule Anhalt, which offers an Online Masters program in GIS, right beside the Dessau Hauptbahnhof (main train station). The organizers had many signs set up all over the train station, so that no matter what track you arrived on, you would find a sign pointing the way. Food was, I think, permanently laid out for the attendees, as was coffee and various other drinks. All of the talks that I attended were very well received, with many of them having more attendees than there were spaces in the rooms.

Many of the videos and presentations are already up here and here, although all content is in German. I ended up going to many of the OpenStreetMap talks, such as Jochen Topf’s ‘OpenStreetMap in Zahlen und Karten‘ (auf Englisch: ‘OpenStreetMap in Numbers and Maps’. He pointed out a few things of interest, particularly to those who want to work with OpenStreetMap’s planet data. A few things from it: OSM will soon not work with 32 bit integers as there is getting to be too many nodes. There are 28 million nodes for the coasts, the largest alone being 4 million nodes (Europe/Asia) and approximately 10% of the coastlines comes from GeoBase or NRCan’s CanVec data. I think Canada has a fair amount of coastline, so this does rather make sense.

Overpass API is likely something that would interest many of you. It is a routing engine, specifically for emergency vehicles. The idea being that people want their emergency vehicles to be able to reach them in 4 minutes, where should an additional station be placed? This is a fairly common question, but now very answerable with OpenStreetMap. More information, in English, can be found here.

I also learned about Imposm, which is a data importer for OpenStreetMap that is optimized for quicker rendering. Mapnik can also be used for rendering. MapProxy is a caching solution for OpenStreetMap, and there were many other sessions that I didn’t get to.

Overall, a lovely conference in Dessau, with tons of information, but not an overload. Between the videos, the pdfs of the presentations and the 180 page book that came with registration, even missing talks means that I didn’t necessarily miss the information. I am going to try and attend FOSS4G CEE in May in Prague as there looks to be even more good talks there.

Shall I see you there?

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