Thursday, September 23, 2010

Short plug for

I've gotten active in the last couple of weeks in discussions on, and it's turning into a great little community.

For any who haven't paid it a visit yet, please come over and contribute!

GIS profile for Dan S.

Monday, June 21, 2010

More open source: PyRtree!

This has been percolating for a while -- it just took a while to extract it from the guts of the larger project from whence it springs.

So I'm happy to announce the first public release of PyRtree, a pure python spatial index. It is quite bare bones, and alpha quality, at the moment, but has proven very useful to me nonetheless.

It isn't as speedy as the Rtree library, which links to a C library, but it has the benefits of simplicity, code flexibility, and ease of use: no compilation or library version headaches!

For those who haven't worked with this corner of computer science before, expect a post in the next week (or three) explaining what an R-Tree is and how to use it.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Context-free art in JavaScript

This was a fun little weekend side project -- an interpreter for context-free design grammars, which is a simple programming language for creating complicated and beautiful images.

Check it out and please let me know here what you think! You'll need a fairly recent web browser for it work.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Productivity tweak: mailing list email -> RSS

It's spring cleaning time, and my inbox was starting to really show the clutter. The biggest culprit: the many mailing lists I subscribe to in order to keep a finger on the latest happenings in various GIS & developer communities.

I do the same thing via RSS, using Google Reader, and it works much better than email. Unfortunately, most of the mailing lists I'm interested in don't have RSS-ified archives. So I wrote a short script that downloads email messages directly into an RSS feed; this is just a quick post to share it with the world:

Here's the short rundown on how I've set things up:
  • I set up a filter in gmail that automatically labels mailing list traffic and has it get archived immediately.
  • The email-to-rss script downloads new messages from that gmail label, converts them to HTML, and builds an RSS index. I have it save the results into a public dropbox folder to save me the step of uploading them to a server somewhere.
  • Then, I just give the public address of the final rss file to Google Reader, and schedule the script to run automatically.
Nothing too complicated; so far it's working nicely (although weekend traffic has been too light to be sure it's 100% there). Hopefully it's useful to someone besides just me; bug reports and patches are more than welcome!