Continuing our OS Developer content and adding to our series of blogs introducing the individuals that make up OS, we’ve taken the opportunity to ask our newly appointed Developer Advocate John Hoopes some questions…
Why did the role come about?
With the signing of the Public Sector Geospatial Agreement, OS is undergoing a major shift in the data it has on offer and how that data is delivered to the user. Notably, several OS data products including open and premium raster and vector spatial datasets can now be accessed via APIs.
The purpose of my role is to support the UK government’s commitment to unlocking the full economic value from the detailed location information OS collects about Great Britain.
The role of Developer Advocate
My job is to serve as a bridge between OS and the UK’s developer community. I am here to help you learn about the datasets OS is making available and how they might be useful to you. I am helping OS better understand the needs of the amazing community of developers, data scientists and analysts when it comes to using OS data.
What does this mean for you?
For some existing OS data user, it may mean accessing OS data in new ways and that the licensing and royalties’ processes will be simplified. If you are a web developer, data scientist or GIS analyst who wants to make maps or analyse spatial data of Great Britain, a new suite of APIs is launching to serve up-to-date, high resolution vector and raster data from OS.I am incredibly fortunate to be the one tasked with helping the spatial data community here in the UK get up and running with these new APIs. I’ve been working with the team of OS cartographers and engineers to create developer-friendly content to help you get up and running with the OS Data Hub APIs. Specifically, we’re adding more and more to our Examples page and publishing new Tutorials every few weeks.
Whether you’ve been using our data for years or you’re exploring our new APIs, we’d love to hear from you. Let me know what you’re up to – I’m on Twitter and Github under @johnx25bd or my email is firstname.lastname@example.org.
What else are we doing to support the developer community? Find out by visiting our Developer site.
A bit more about my job
Beyond this technical content, I’ve been working with the team to interview OS data users from across sectors and industries. We’ve met with some amazing companies and learned about incredible projects like CoronaFriend, which helps neighbours support each other through the pandemic, and Alasdair Rae’s stunning 3D renderings of Scotland. My job is to speak with innovative, intelligent people about how they use spatial data to improve decision-making and efficiency for people working in the public sector, for firms and for non-profits.
A bit more about me
I’ve been working with location data in one form or another for over a decade and, if you count my youth poring over maps and exploring the mountains and coastlines of America, much longer. A windscreen tour:
1987 – 2006: Grew up in Colorado, served as a volunteer ski patroller, earned my Eagle Scout, and was lucky to do lots of hiking and adventuring all over America.
2006 – 2010: Earned a BSc Biology and Environmental Studies at Tufts University. Here, I first learned the difference between vector and raster data in my courses in GIS and Remote Sensing.
2010 – 2012: My first tech start-up experience as co-founder of Junctions, a platform to build a location-based social graph. We shut down after two years – a great learning experience.
2012 – 2015: Three years exploring the world non-stop as a travel journalist, guide, alpine patroller, cycle tourist and sailor.
2015 – 2016: Various jobs with SMEs in Denver including the role of a project manager for a PropTech start-up, an events coordinator for a techy community space and an apprentice in a sailboat workshop. This is when I started exploring Python.
2018 – 2019: Attended UCL to study for an MSc in Spatial Data Science and Visualisation at the Bartlett’s Centre for Advanced Spatial Analysis. I wrote my dissertation on decentralized and privacy-preserving data governance, consensus networks and trusted IoT. I held the position of Technical Director at London Blockchain Labs.
2020: Was granted a Tier 1 Exceptional Talent visa by the UK government and joined OS as Developer Advocate.