Published on 24 November 2020

Auckland FOSS4G 2020 conference

This year's FOSS4G SoTM Oceania conference was a mix of online and physical events scattered all over the continent. In Auckland we were lucky enough to have our own hub which I had the opportunity to join - and I was lucky enough to give a short talk.

The Auckland conference was hosted by the NZ Defence Force at their Devonport naval base, which is in a fantastic location, right across the harbour from Auckland's CBD.

Good morning #FOSS4G_SotM_Oceania from Auckland! We're looking forward to a day of amazing content!

— Auckland Hub - FOSS4G-SotM Oceania 2020 (@foss4g_akl) November 19, 2020

After all the restrictions and cancellations that COVID-19 has caused during this year, it was good to have an event where GIS and open-source folks were able to gather and enjoy a whole day of talks, discussions and networking.

I was impressed by the array of local speakers and I also enjoyed the 2 hour-long online session shared between the rest of the hubs; Melbourne, Apia, Christchurch, Suva and many more. It was great to see so many people getting together and sharing their enthusiasm for GIS, open-source and cartography in these uncertain times.

My highlight of the day was probably AUT's senior lecturer Dr. Barbara Bollard. She shared some of her past and current field work carried in Antarctica and showed how she and her team are using unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs or drones) to map areas of significance; particularly those with a high presence of mosses and other rare plant species. Antarctica is a place where most of the people will never visit (probably for the best) so it was great to enjoy the excellent visuals and materials provided by Dr. Bollard and her team.

Anyone who loves maps would have also enjoyed James Ford's talk on visualising bathymetry data using open-source tools (except one tiny feature which he confessed to using Adobe's Lightroom if I remember correctly). Very slick and lovely presentation, very well done.

A belated post for Day 16 - Islands

This is a poster of the bathymetry surrounding the island of Nomuka in the Kingdom of Tonga. Hopefully it'll be up for display on Friday @foss4g_akl😉

Data from @LINZLDS

— James Ford (@JamesFiord) November 17, 2020

My colleague at Koordinates Hamish Campbell presented Sno, a data version control tool built on top of Git. Sno solves some of the traditional challenges encountered when editing and sharing geo-spatial data. Sno looks very promising and is a multi-platform open-source project.

As for me, I did a short talk titled "Mapping citizen science data to boost conservation efforts in Auckland's west coast". The talk describes how pulling data from the iNaturalist API and visualising it in a very simple and sensible way can help volunteers and managers achieve great conservation outcomes.

The talk is based on iNaturalist observations of Northern New Zealand dotterel at Piha beach, Auckland. The code I used to generate the maps can be found at

I have the slides in PDF and I'm happy to share them if anyone wants them. Just get in touch. And by the way, thanks to the Auckland Council Biodiversity team for supporting the volunteers at Piha.

 Thanks to Koordinates for sponsoring the event - it was great. Kudos to all the organisers and volunteers that managed to put together a fantastic day under very challenging circumstances. Bravo!

All the participants of the FOSS4G Oceania 2020 Auckland Hub

All the participants of the FOSS4G Oceania 2020 Auckland Hub. Image courtesy of FOSS4G SotM Oceania 2020