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Where is here? Am I at a latitude, longitude? Or am I 10 feet from the door? GPS has only been around for a generation and only affordable for a decade, do you know how maps were built before then? How do you know where here is? Here is a synthesis, a web of interlaced measurements that generate a fabric of location, with fluctuating levels of accuracy through the fabric. The push-pin you place on a map is relative to a road line, which was digitized on a 5-years-ago satellite image, which was ground referenced to an existing road intersection, which was captured 35 years ago from an aerial photo, which was ground referenced to a control point, which was optically sighted relative to mountain-top control points, which were first occupied 150 years ago. That’s right folks, it’s turtles, all the way down.
Paul has been a developer and promoter of open source geospatial software for 10 years, as a founder of the PostGIS spatial database project, leader of an open source geospatial company, as a Director of the Open Source Geospatial Foundation, and currently as a Senior Consultant for OpenGeo.org. Paul speaks regularly at geospatial conferences, teaches workshops on open source databases, and consults on the use and development of spatial databases.