Book List of 2020

Books read during Covid-19 with short summary

  1. Pilgrimage to eternity: From Canterbury to Rome in Search of a Faith – Timothy Egan (Dec 2019 – Jan 2020) – Great travel log with self reflection during his journey from England to Rome, Via Francigena, 1200 miles medieval route Canterbury to Rome. Very moving self reflection with great facts on various Catholic church’s history in France and various Saints. Saint Francis  description was very moving so was many description of various others. He shared his feelings toward corrupted church with long history of abuse and corruption and yet felt the pull of something “greater”. He ends with the word “Pilgrim’s progress: There is no way. The way is made by walking” Which we are all in this pilgrimage travel of life that we walk on….
  2. Life After College, Jeffrey J Selingo – Book about what to do after college but author talked about 3 types of students, motivator (who know what they want and pursuing), explorer/wanderer (not sure of what to study and meandering type but arrives or focus on later), lost soul (who doesn’t know what to study and struggles through college). Author gives advices on what’s important in college and how they can help you pursue your career. Not just how to book but also give insights to how things have changed over the years w/ changing of the world.
  3. Gentleman in Moscow: A Novel – Amor Towles – A beautifully written book spanning 50 years long of a man in Russia. Very surprise ending and lots of wisdom shared in the book about the life.
  4. 21 Lessons for the 21st Century – Yuval Harari, another great book full of historical perspective as well as thought provoking argument author makes.  Par of 3 part series starting with Sapien book.
    • World is changing too fast for some
    • Past experiences could be that they might be wisdom to share OR just outdated bias
    • Four Cs
      • Critical thinking -> Communicate -> Creativity -> Collaborate 
    • Instead of identifying traits to group, look for common conflicts (or problems) to set up group identity. 
    • Will impact daily living and jobs – (AI/Big data algorithm/Bio-engineering)
    • What is Creative? – “finding a problem and then solving them”
  5. Post Corona – Scott Galloway: A short book composed and organized mostly from his personal blog post. Has very good insights on post covid-19 world.
    • Scarcity create value
    • College =  (Education x experience x credential)/ Tuition. 1400% increase since 1980’s. Increase in price without Value = Failure
    • Conflating Luck and Talent is dangerous
    • Conflating Freedom with NOT Civic duty is STUPID
    • Franchise model made Uber take 20%, pay 4-8%
    • Conflate Gov’t to an entertainment product
    • Protect people NOT jobs, Protect jobs, NOT Corporation, Protect Corporation, NOT Share Holders. 
      • People (give highest protection) -> Job -> Corporation -> Shareholders
    • Kurt Vonnegut “Step backward, after making a wrong turn, it is a step in the right direction”
    • Product Age NOT Brand Age
    • Disruption – Education & Health Care
  6. A.I. Super Powers – China/Silicon Valley – Kai-Fu Lee
    • AI needs: 1. Abundant data, 2) tenacious environment 3).well train AI scientist 4). favorite gov’t policy
    • Difference in political system – US combative political system aggressively punishing missteps OR waste funding technological upgrade/China – techno-utilitarian approach rewards proactive investment and adoption
    • Four capabilities – 1)internet AI, 2) Business AI  3) Perception AI  4) Autonomous AI – car/machine 2 industries. 
    • Two categories of replacement threatens the jobs 
      • 1-on-1 replacement
      • Ground up disruption
    • By 2030, reduce 20-25% of labor reduced, less employees need which translates up to ~ 30 to 40 million people. 

Book List of 2019

List of Books I read in 2019 and their short summary

  1. Skin in the Game Nassim Taleb (Jan 2019):  Book had very interesting idea that old ideas/laws that have propagated from olden days “Lindy effect”(name after cheesecake store in NY burrough famous for longevity) survived and for reason (effective). Decision makers without actual “skin in the game” (no direct consequences impacted ) are not trust worthy and view w/ suspicion. Book was very disjointed and written like some blog posts without simple explanation. There were lot of good points but mostly covered by poorly written explanation with lots of snarky personal comments. Very hard to read through and had to push through to finish it. 
  2. Foundation & Chaos – Greg Bear (Feb 2019)
  3. Foundation Trilogy Series – Issac Asmov (Feb 2019)
  4. Foundation’s Triumph series – David Brin (Feb 2019)
  5. Foundation’s Edge – Issac Asmov (March 2019)
  6. Everest: The West Ridge – Thomas Hornbein – Re-read this classic, how Dr Hornbein and Will Unsoeld climbed West Ridge side of Everest which has yet to be climbed since. Amazing story of luck, foritude, and focus to summitting Everest. They weren’t the first Americans to summit yet was the most difficult route to summit.
  7. Thanks a Thousand – AJ Jacob (March, 2019) : Very well written with lots of gentle personality coming through. While reading the book and more afterward, felt more appreciative of things and people around me. Not just to my immediate surroundings with family and friends but bigger circle of people and accomplishments of so many people past. After the book, I want to start my own Gratitude project by sending a copy of the book for close friends and hand written note explaining my appreciation and specifics of each individual’s things they’ve done for me over the years.
  8. Upheavel: Turning Points for Nations in Crisis – Jared Diamond (skim through) May 2019
  9. Rethink – re-reading May 2019
  10. The Subtle Art of Not Giving Fu#k: Mark Manson- June 2019
  11. Never Lost Again – Bill Kilday : June 2019 – Story of how Keyhold went to GoogleEarth and making GoogleMap to dominate location data and maps for mobile device
  12. Everything is F*cked: A book about hope : Mark Manson: – Aug 2019 – great story of author of The Subtle of Not Giving F*ck of giving hopeful view of the world’s future in spite of bad things happening. Very heart warming stories and optimistic view of the world.
  13. Master and Emissary – Ian McGilchrist – Scanned the book (very difficult to read and written for academic purpose) after listening to author from Hidden Brain podcast. Great podcast, author saying importance of having two hemisphere of brain, (left side sees the world in details, logic/reasons but right side gives purpose, give bigger picture). His podcast was excellent:
  14. Range: Why Generalists Triumph in a Specialized World – David Epstein 
    • Talks about how specialization sometimes blocks solution and not able to see outside of silo of knowledge. 
  15. Sapien – re-readed again. Yuval Hariai – great summary of human history and how it progress through

Book List of 2018

List of Books I’ve read in 2018 with summary and not

  1. The Undoing Project – Michael Lewis ( Jan, 2018) : Story of two very smart psychologist/mathematican/economistm Amos Tversky & Daniel Kahneman from Israeli academics and their friendship and their contribution to development of behavior economics and trying to better understand human nature through psychology/mathematics/economics.  Very entertaining and great back story to Daniel Kahneman’s book “Thinking Fast and Slow”
  2. Smartcuts – Shane Snow (June 2018)- . Tell stories amongst team members instead of facts to convince and persuade. Oxycotine produces more with story telling than fact telling. 
  3. Dream Team – Shane Snow (Aug 2018) – how to build an effective team and support to maintain it. meaning and result of being in a team where things be supported and able to grow as a person. Having intellectual humility which means having openness to experience and new ideas. When we trust someone’s intentions, it’s suddenly alright if they’re different. We can be free to dissent and disagree or correct each other, because we start from a place of “I know you don’t mean any harm to me”. 
  4. The Prophets and the Wizard – Charles Mann (Oct 2018):  Great book explainig modern environmental movement concepts but when it comes down to is this ancient ideas (from greeks and before antiquity of human history) that “Are we human part of nature with everything else or human being outside of it” Idea stem from these two contracting idea that has flown through out the history which impacted how people have organized and lived throughout the history with various results. The book talks about two figure, that have shaped modern environmental movement, WIlliam Vogt (representing Prophet) and Norman Borlaug (Wizard) who started Green revolution w/ agriculture by modified wheats with fertilizer for increase food production. Tales for these two people really shaped current environmental and policy discussion of how to move into future w/ 10 Billion population
  5. Reread : Nonsense – Jamie Holmes (Nov 2018): Great book of idea on how we don’t like to hold ambiguous ideas/situations.  It’s very difficult to hold any ambiguous idea and situations and this is due to our evolutionary situation. Like simple, black and white situations and ideas but all great problem solvers and creative thinkers all able to retain ambiguity and even embraced them.
  6. The Fifth Risk – Michael Lewis (Nov 2018) – “And so you might have good reason to pray for a tornado, whether it comes in the shape of swirling winds, or a politician. You can imagine the thing doing the damage that you would like to see done, and no more. It’s what you fail to image that kills you. “ “Kevin Concannon – I’ve always had enough. I’ve never felt the need to go over to the other side and make three times the amount of money. If you like what you do, you just keep doing it.”
  7. Life in Code – A personal history of technology by female programmer early 80’s and her journey.  – Ellen Ullman (Dec 2018)
  8. Scarcity: Why having too little means so much. Talks about how having little material resource and mental resource resulting detrimental decision making in economical and psychological situation. Complement and Helps understand behavioral economics book “Misbehaving” more.  – Sendhill Mullain athan, Eldar Shafir (Nov/Dec 2018)
  9. The Old Man and the Sea – Ernest Hemingway (Dec 2018)
  10. Bering Sea Strong – Laura Hartema (Dec 2018) Memoir. King County Co-worker who worked in Alaska bearing sea during 90’s as personal journey filled w/ funny, life reflecting situations which leads to growth and deeper understanding of human nature. 
  11. My Adventures with God – Stephen Tobolowsky (Jan, 2018) – One of the supporting character from “Ground Hog Days”, sharing his story as development of actor as well as spirituality through Judaism. Contains so many funny stories and moving story especially about a friend he met at his synagogue who survived Auschwitz death camp, powerful yet very poignant story.  

Book List of 2017

List of books I read in 2017 and their quick summary.

  1. Rethink: The Surprising History of New Ideas – Steven Poole: Author explains how old ideas(some ancient and some forgotten) how they have applied to modern world with new consequences.
  2. Rise of the Robot – Martin Ford. With advent of automation and machine thinking, world can expect abrupt changes in near future with disruptive economy for most of world’s population.
  3. How to fail at almost everything and still win big – Adam Scotts. His tale of success which fills with many failure and that he says is good thing. Opposite of success is not a failure is his main point of this funny book.
  4. Think like Freak – Steven Dubanar. Author of podcast of Freakonmoic gives practical approach to retrain your brain to break habit from forming bad decisions.
  5. The Power of Habit:Why we do what we do in life and business – Charles Duhigg. Great book explaining why habit is so important and how it works and how to help yourself in business and in life.
  6. But What if We’re Wrong? – Chuck Klosterman. Social commentary of various subject matter with great humor and thought provoking ideas.
  7. The Innovators – Water Issacson. Great stories of so many great people who have worked to make modern digital technology starting with Lovelace & Babbage computer to Google.
  8. Payoff: The Hidden logic that shapes our motivations – Dan Ariely. Great insight on our motivation and what drives us in our work and in our life.
  9. There is Life After the College – Jeffrery Selingo. A journalist who has explored current college situation and offers some solutions for current and incoming college students.
  10. Learning from the Octopus – Rafa Sagarin. Evolution biologist with insights to national security to navigating thorough world geo-politics.
  11. Life of Ignatious of Loyla – Philip Caraman, SJ. Detail life descritpion of founder of Jesuit Society during Reformation era in 1600s.
  12. Spiens – A brief history of humankind – Yuval Noah Harari. Summary of human history of past 100,000 to present with many insights.
  13. Misbehaving – behavioral economics – Richard Thaler. Summary description of how field of behavorial economic has grown in last 40 years.
  14. Why Buddhism is True – Robert Wright. Author’s journey of mediation and buddhism who shares his findings and insights.
  15. Thinking, Fast and Slow – Daniel Kahneman. Great insights on inner workings of human mind and exploring ones built in tendencies.

Book List of 2016

List of books I read in 2016 and their quick summary.

  1. Geography of GeniusAndrew Weir. Stories of great thinkers throughout the history of how their location played important role.
  2. Connectography : Mapping the Future of Global CivilizationParag Khanna – Looking at how geography will play out the current and future politics.
  3. John Adams – David McCullough. Great summary of John Adams’ life through letters between him and his wife, Abigaile and with others. Great insights to the world he lived in during transformative period of early American history. One can peer into John Adams’ insights to life and his philosophy and how it guided and shaped to lead young republic.
  4. The Wright Brothers – David McCullough
  5. The Great Bridge – David McCullough
  6. Race Against machine – Erik Brynjolfsson & Andrew McAfee. Discussion of how digital revolution is accelerating innovation and transforming employment and economy.
  7. The Second Machine Age – Erik Brynjoflosson: More in-depth with possible solutions and analysis of “Race against machine”
  8. The Men Who United the States of America – Simon Winchester. Using five elements (wood, water, wind, metal and fire) to narrate story of the US through infrastructure development and their success.
  9. Nonsense:The Power of Not Knowing – Jamie Holmes
  10. The Silo Effect – Gillian Tett. Anthropologist turned journalist who saw the dangers of our “silo information” practice in everyday lives. It can bring disaster and how to prevent them. When classification system becomes excessively rigid and silos dangerously entrenched, this can leave us blind to RISK and NEW EXCITING opportunity.
  11. Collaborative Intelligence:Thinking with People Who Think Differently – Dawna Markova. Workshop guidance with direction and insights on how different people think (auditory, visually and tactily) and process information and ways to create steps to share information and create collaborative environment between people.
  12. How We Got To Now: Six Innovations that made the modern world – Steven Johnson. Innovators who were not commonly known that played pivotal role in history.
  13. Thanks for being late – Thomas Friedman.
  14. Short History of Progress – Ronald Wright.
  15. Rejection Proof – Jin Jiang
  16. Choose Yourself – James Altucher

FOSS4G Conference, Boston 2017

Summary notes and highlights from the conference

Conference August 14 – 18, 2017 Boston, MA

Conference by number

1,100 attendees

250 talks/sessions

56 workshops – two days.

I attended 4 separate workshops for two days and attended 24 talk sessions for three days. Below are my summary notes. Highlight of the conference were keynotes from Paul Ramsey and Joe Cheng  

  • Workshop
  1. Browser-based Geoprocessing with Turf.js and leaflet
    • turf.js client-side geoprocessing using turf.js library and integrating with leaflet.js library to build webmap browser based simple geoprocessing application.  
  2. Classification of remote sensing images with the Orfeo ToolBox and QGIS
  3. From WebODM to QGIS
    • Open source Sfm software with web interface based on OpenCV algorithem. Software can take images taken from drone and process to develop cloud points and orthomoasic photos to 3D model. 
  4. Processing Lidar and UAV point cloud in GRASS GIS
    • Exploring capabilities of GRASS GIS 7.2 lidar point cloud data processing.

Conference Sessions:

Leveraging Open Source software to build data/mapping tools in local governmentChris Whong NYC Planing Lab

  • Talked about using various open source to build tool and applications
  • using AuthO, turf.js Cartoserver, mapbox-gl, React, Digital Ocean.
  • Lesson learned – use existing tools (no customized design/development) bootstrap, eliminate dependencies of large software 
  • build modular (example of Jane maps, name after Jane Jacobs) 

Why your map sucks and you don’t even know it – Will Cadell, 

  • Map analytic company that analyzed 15 million user session. 
  • Results: 25% of users don’t touch the map, once it’s loaded, user doesn’t move around
  • Double loaded (multiple times) caused by bad coding
  • 10% of activities happens at very first 1% of the duration
  • Need to tell the “INTENT” of the story very quickly
  • Most users do not click to explore the map but pan continously 

Let them expire! – One company’s experience with fewer proprietary software licenses – Paul Wickman GIS technology Director RESPEC

  • Using QGIS to them was NOT alternative to Arc but other option
  • Open Source option is not just free but means value
  • “Price is what you pay, Value is what you get”
  • Reasons for migrations
    • Per user scale model won’t work for current ESRI licensing model
    • It’s about business with value and felt that ArcGIS value has dimished in value
    • Look for value not ideology and need to thought out the plan.  “I don’t need the drill, just a hole”

An Introduction to containerizing geospatial apps with Docker – James Milner, 3D Repo

  • Docker container is encapulated environment which runs application.
  • Docker eliminate “It works FINE in my machine but NOT yours” issue. Get rid of dependency issue.
  • Docker Container vs VM (virtual machine)
    • VM isolates everything (no OS access) but Docker container use native OS. 
    • Docker container means running docker images.
  • By not having to load OS separately (not like VM), you don’t lose efficiency. 
  • One can use docker image to load Geoserver + Postgis i.e. from Docker Hub

Offline First Mapping – Calvin Metcalf, AppGeo

  • Using Web Service Worker, this can intercept http request and can save the map tile locally. 
  • It is browser based script that runs in the background, separate from a web page
  • Service workers can periodic background sync & push notifications that normally require native application but can do them through the browser. 
  • Service workers currently only support Chrome and Firefox browsers.
  • Here is a good introductory implementation of this technology in blog writeup 

Advanced geospatial technologies: The new powerful GRASS GIS 7.2 release – Helena Mitasova, NC State University.

  • Not your old GRSS (Geographic Resources Analysis Support System)  from Army Corps of Engineering days, Fascinating story of GRASS GIS told by William Shatner back in 1987.
  • Lot of new features and capabilities including raster/vector data analysis, cartographic tools, image processing, advance LIDAR processing tools and many more with latest version of GRASS GIS.

R-Studio:  Coding as first resort – Joe Cheng (CTO of RStudio)

  • Most folks use coding as last resort after using GUI but speaker showed why it should be other way around. 
  • GUI – developed design by developer/designer
  • CLI – task directed by user themselves
  • Use code to extend functionality of existing such as QGIS to repeat and to scale. 
  • Main benefit of using code 
    • Concise
    • Highly interactive ( inform, return results after each line of code)
    • Fast iteration
  • R – John Chamber originator  is to give user ability to interact and explore data. This programming language is heavily based on statistics and visualization. 
  • R Studio contains many tools, map + text + graphic/table + narrative to compose data to tell story. 
  • Shiny – can generate fully interactive web map using R studio.
  • R Markdown – framework to crate html, report/PDF and dashboard. 

DIY Mapping with drones and open source in a humanitarian context – Dan Joseph, American Red Cross

  • Many reasons for DIY drone instead of commercial, off-the-shelf product.
    • Fix your own machine out in the field
    • Ability to access parts locally
    • Lower cost
  • Workflow as following 

LiveDroneMap – an Automatic Real-time UAV mapping solution – Janwoo Cheon, Seoul University, South Korea.

  • Real-time drone imagery data being captured and process in real-time data to get result back instantly. 
  • Live data processing to get instant on-the ground event evaluation without long-lag data processing  time. 

Data Driven Style (DDS) for fast GL maps – Molly Lloyd, Mapbox

Mapbox GL: How vector maps work – Vladimir Agafonkin, Mapbox

  • Original creator of Leaflet talked about inner workings of vector tile. 
  • He said that the new era of cartography is here.
    • Raster tile era lasted about 30 years which talks to server to get the information
    • Vector map era is here that leverages client side, using web browser to display web map. 
    • Currently there are 94.8% coverage of WebGL/OpenGL in US and 91.5% for the world. 
    • OpenGL renders triangle (Earcut) to display various features 

Migrating to Vector Tiles -Lizzi Silvinski, NBT Solutions

  • Talked about integrating vector tile into existing raster tile system. 
  • Goals for the project 
    • Dynmaic styling
    • GIS functionality 
    • Editing tools
  •  Proof-of-Concept in github here
  • Using leaftlet draw to edit in vectortile 
  • Wrote own node.js to serve tiles. 

State of QGIS – Kurt Menke, Larry Shaffer

  • Various features coming up QGIS 3.0 
  • Major feature of having meta data catalog 
  • Improve digitizing 
  • Composer is completely rewritten and single layout with multiple pages
  • Summary from blog post 

Vector tiles from OpenStreetMap with OpenMapTiles and TileServer GLPetr Pridal, Klokan Technologies GmbH

Using open-source tools and high-resolution geospatial data to estimate landscapes’ visual attributes – Helena Mitasova, Anna Petrasova, NC State University.

  • Using Geomorphons  – model based using machine/computer vision to interpret topology. 

Coupling a geospatial Tangible User Interface (TUI) and an Immersive Virtual Environment (IVE) using open-source geospatial and 3D modeling tools – Helena Mitasova, Anna Petrasova, NC State University. 

  • System of software (GRASS GIS) and various hardware to do the analysis of natural environment planning and analysis. 
  • Background information here which was developed in NC State University OSGeo Research and Education laboratory.
  • Great tools/use case  to apply in environmental analysis and modeling. 

Welcome to

My very first post! I would like to fill my blogs with various open source geospatial tools and use cases.  The main reason I’m writing this blog is for my “future” self where I can go back re-read things that I usually forget after awhile. 
My posts will divide into four main categories. 

  1. All things open source geospatial things (GIS).
  2. Topics around small drone use, tools and techniques.
  3. Notes from Books and Podcasts
  4. Biking/Skiing/Hiking, not necessarily in that order.