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Sunday, 17 August 2014

IMIA Asia Pacific Conference: Part 1

Map Hack Day


                  
                 
This is my third time attending the International Map Industry Association (IMIA) conference since 2010. Those who have been following the blog  would have noted I have written about the conference a year ago. The conference experience is getting better each time.

As an associate member of IMIA, I decided to attend the Strategic Planning Meeting of IMIA on 16th August. Here I got the chance to witness a comprehensive plan to extend the reach of IMIA in the Asia Pacific Region and increase member benefits. It was a short two hour session to cover many matters.

On 17th August, IMIA Conference officially opened up with MapHack Day - first of its kind for this conference. The aim of this session is to get students and professionals to utilize open source data and non-mainstream GIS (free one) to produce a story map. Roughly 30 people rocked up on early Sunday morning (10.00 a.m.) for the whole day session. It was hosted and coordinated by one of the leading GIS companies in Melbourne - Spatial Vision. From 10.00 a.m. to 11.00 a.m., we had briefing by Spatial Vision staff on how to use CartoDB (non-mainstream online GIS) and where to source free GIS datasets.

After splitting into groups, my group brainstorm the topic, sourced datasets and restructure the excel data. The youtube video above explains my group's project and the workflow from conception to completion.

Lessons:

  1. Being Flexible: Our group had intention to focus on creating two layers - one showing ethnicity and one showing linguistic distribution. However, we realized it can distract the user from the core of the map. We adjusted our goals to ensure we can finish the project within time frame. 
  2. Being Structured: Our key strength in our group is splitting in two groups. Two of us focused on GIS datasets and other two focused on Excel data of attributes. By splitting right from start, our workload was smoothly spread out and we progressed quickly. Me and my team mate also learned QGIS in the process to deliver the datasets in neat format. In Excel data, the whole team eventually got involved one way or another as number crunching got complicated
In other aspects, all of us successfully pooled our skills together to make the product successful: IT skills, Excel formulas, QGIS expertise and coordination skills. Map Hack Day was successful:
  1. Coordinated by successful Spatial Vision team who are familiar with CartoDB 
  2. Great platform for students to network and work with potential employers
  3. Build relationship between disparate conference delegates
  4. Opportunity to practice your presentation and marketing skills.

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