Tuesday, November 24, 2009


The new job is different from my former one in the kind of work so far, the organization, and the environment. The responsibility for other systems - customer service, outage management, geographic information - is not on "some other team" in some other department in the company, but your responsibility.

There is only one technical team, and while other departments have personnel that are technically competent, ultimately your team is charged with making everything run on a day to day basis.

A good example here is on a rush job today - pulling data out of what we'll call a relational spatial database (CertaLogic) and putting it into an industry standard XML format (Multispeak). I am not familiar enough with CertaLogic to do an extensive complaint, but it is sufficient to say that whatever flavor we have is not easily mapped to said industry standard.

In my previous job, I would have seen this requirement coming. The confusion over whether or not it was a task I was responsible for comes from the fact that at a smaller firm, more work appears to be contracted out to 3rd parties, and one of them was charged with doing the "migration". Much of my department was surprised that this didn't include some specific parts of our GIS.

As with all unexpected requirements, there was some pressure to get it done fast.

Short answer for those that in the same situation, you have three options. Roll your own solution using a standard xml library (lxml for Python, System.Xml for .NET, etc.), XmlSpy/MapForce, or use SQL's built in XML functionality.

(Edit: hat tip Scott Hanselman for XmlSpy)

Monday, November 2, 2009

New State, New Faces

So, there has been a little change of scenery since I last posted. I got a job in Washington and didn't have to be in too much of a rush to move (unlike when we moved down to Arizona). It went something like this:
Northern Arizona
Hoover Dam Some part of California Some other part of California (you'll never guess). We traveled up the Oregon coast. I would heartily recommend this. Nearly as pretty as that girl. Now we are living in Port Orchard. It is rather nice.
Still settling in, so I will leave more details for another post. The summary: doing GIS work for Peninsula Light Co, a nonprofit coop power utility, enjoying the temperate climate, and taking the ferry to west Seattle on the weekends to see friends. I've been rather terrible about updating this blog recently due to the effort required in the move, but I intend to talk more about the area and the new job in more frequent posts.