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Day of DH: Only a Week Later

April 2, 2012 in All Day, Learning, Meeting, Office, Programming, Research, Uncategorized

I wanted to give a brief overview of what happened on March 27, sometime before Day of DH 2013, anyway.


My part of the Neatline project has been the NeatlineFeatures plugin. This provides a graphical interface for adding geographic metadata to the Dublin Core coverage field on Omeka items.

First I closed a couple of issues that were open on the project. Neither were a big deal. One involved merging the changes on the dev branch into master. I haven’t tagged a release yet, but everything appears to be very stable.

The other issue was slightly more complex. I added the Stamen map base layers to the list of options. (@wayne_graham was nice enough to tweet screenshot to the right.)

This was slightly more complicated because when editing the page, I wanted to title the new layers “Stamen title,” where title was Watercolor, Toner, etc. But Stamen’s default OpenLayers plugin would only work if I used just the title, in lower-case. So I downloaded Stamen’s library and included it in the plugin, just so I could make a small change to allow me to specify the layer to use separately from the title. It’s a messy, messy hack, and I don’t like it, but it got the job done.

Software Inspection

Next, we had our every-other-week discussion of code. We spend this time digging into the code that we’ve been working on for a project or two. There’s not time to do in-depth code reviews, but it gets us thinking in that direction. Wayne’s written more about this here.


Another major project I’ve been working on—or constellation of projects, really—involves our GIS infrastructure. We’re at the beginning stages (and have been for a while, unfortunately) for moving PostGIS, Geoserver, and all the data on the Geospatial Data Portal to new servers with up-to-date versions of everything. I’ve been trying to figure out what will break when this happens, and how to fix it. However, I haven’t been focusing on this lately. But I need to get back into it, so I spent some time spinning up a new virtual machine with GeoServer and PostGIS and the data. That way I could experiment and play without breaking our current server.

I’ve also been working this school year with Wing Kuang, a fourth-year undergraduate CS student. He’s been trying to stream-line the process for pulling data from ArcGIS into PostGIS and Geoserver. The process itself isn’t that difficult, but there are a lot of steps and a lot of fiddly things to remember, so it’s perfect for automating. He’d run into a snag, though, so I started looking at the latest version of his code to see if I could help him work through it. I’m happy to report that we did figure it out, and he’s back to making good progress on that.


The other major project around here is the Praxis program.  Annie Swafford’s been making great advances on the code, so I took a few minutes to look over her code, which looks pretty good, overall. It’s certainly better than I was doing when I had her experience. (I don’t want to forget Alex Gil’s also been rocking i18n.)

Bethany Nowviskie also talked to the Praxisers in our weekly meeting about grants, budgets, and such. She’s written about that here.


March 27 was pretty interesting, if for no other reason than I managed to work some on all of the major projects I’ve been involved with lately. That’s a little unusual. Typically I work better by focusing on one thing a day, and I try to allow myself to do that.

This also illustrates that a lot of my time is spent mentoring and helping (such as with Praxis and some of what I did with Geoserver). That’s a great thing, and hopefully I’ll be able to keep that up too.