Mapping the Census with PostGIS, Python, and a whole lot of stubbornness: A Vector Tiles Story

The Australian Census is the ultimate open dataset. It tells us so much about where we've come from, how we live, and where we're heading – from your local neighbourhood all the way up to a national level. And it’s all sitting there just waiting to be used – as a collection of several thousand unfathomable CSV files! So how do you make all that data discoverable and accessible to a wider audience?

This session will tell the story of how we developed EALGIS, an open source data visualisation and exploration tool for the Census. There will be (frightening) tales of data wrangling, you'll find out how two seasoned hackers learned to stop worrying and love React+Redux and modern web dev, and how PostGIS and Vector Tiles made the whole thing possible.

This is an intermediate-level talk aimed at web and geospatial developers of all stripes, as well as anyone with an interest in making the nation’s biggest open dataset usable. There will be some discussion of code and technical concepts (but we'll keep them accessible), as well as demos of EALGIS itself.

It is assumed you have some knowledge of how the web works and have seen a CSV file before.

Presentation type: Full length
Session: Tiles Tiles Tiles


Keith Moss

I’m a data geek, occasional software engineer, and a bit of geospatial tragic. I’ve built more web mapping applications than I care to remember - for everything from delivering satellite data in support of bushfires and floods to mapping sausage sizzles and orangutans. For a living, I work for the Western Australian government where I run the state’s open data team and work to convince public servants of the benefits of making data open, machine-readable, and API-enabled. I’m passionate about applying the user experience principles from our digital world to the broader work of government – building better public services by understanding needs through user research, data-driven insights, and co-design of services. But most of all, I love helping people to learn, understand, and use data and technology and seeing those “Ah-ha!” moments when they get it.