FOSS4G NA 2015 is going on this week in the Bay Area, and so far, it has been a great conference.
Monday had a great line-up of tutorials (including mine on PySAL and Rasterio), and yesterday was full of inspiring talks. Highlights of my day: PostGIS Feature Frenzy, a new geoprocessing Python package called PyGeoprocessing, just released last Thurs(!) from our colleagues down at Stanford who work on the Natural Capital Project, and a very interesting talk about AppGeo's history and future of integrating open source geospatial solutions into their business applications.
The talk by Michael Terner from AppGeo echoed my own ideas about tool development (one that is also shared by many others including ESRI) that open source, closed source and commercial ventures are not mutually exclusive and can often be leveraged in one project to maximize the benefits that each brings. No one tool will satisfy all needs.
In fact, at the end of my talk yesterday on Spatial Data Analysis in Python, someone had a great comment related to this: "Everytime I start a project, I always wonder if this is going to be the one where I stay in Python all the way through..." He encouraged me to be honest about that reality and also about how Python is not always the easiest or best option.
Similarly, in his talk about the history and future of PostGIS features, Paul Ramsey from CartoDB also reflected on how PostGIS is really great for geoprocessing because it leverages the benefits of database functionality (SQL, spatial querying, indexing) but that it is not so strong at spatial data analysis that requires mathematical operations like interpolation, spatial auto-correleation, etc. He ended by saying that he is interested in expanding those capabilities but the reality is that there are so many other tools that already do that. PostGIS may never be as good at mathematical functions as those other options, and why should we expect one tool to be great at everything? I completely agree.