Accessing metadata using ArcPy, Python, and now hermes!

Two weeks ago, a colleague asked me to write a script to extract some metadata values from dozens of feature classes in a gdb, and write it out to a spreadsheet along with some other descriptive properties. I fiddled around with the metadata using Python’s xml package, and managed to come up with a script for her.

So it was to my immense delight that this post popped up in my feedly on Friday. I immediately starred hermes on GitHub, and maybe this will be the first project I can actually contribute to, and not only because of the Futurama reference.

Web Application Architectures: Final Recap

This MOOC ended almost 3 months ago, and it took them super long to grade it, but they did.

Web Application Architectures

I got 97.8%, mostly because just by following the videos and retyping the code in the correct files, one could get 100% for the assignments, and the quizzes were not particularly hard either. The lack of an exam also made this a bit easier for me.

I do see why Coursera is now phasing out free certificates. On the other hand, it’s not like the MOOC would have been harder if I had paid for a Verified Certificate. I still did the work.

While I doubt that I will carry on with Ruby on Rails (not really my scene), the other concepts I learned while trying to do this MOOC is far more valuable to me. These include:

  1. Learning to use version control correctly (Github, BitBucket)
  2. Using PaaS (Heroku,, Google App Engine)
  3. The difference between developing a local application vs web application
  4. Security concepts, like when to use SSH etc

As part of a team that provides enterprise GIS solutions, I’m very eager to learn more about networking and the enterprise part, so this MOOC kickstarted me into a series of MOOCs around networking. First up is Princeton’s offering.

GitHub: Deciding what to do with it

I decided a while ago that it would be a good idea to share more of my code with others, besides copying and pasting it into this blog. I have linked to a few scripts stored on my OneDrive, especially since I don’t know what to do with all that space, but it doesn’t feel right to keep it there either.

This brought me back to an idea that has been swirling around in my mind over the last few years: GitHub. Since I code alone, I never saw the need for source control and versioning. My workspace is stored on my OneDrive, so my code is always in sync.

I know that this approach is incorrect. I know that if the team were to expand, or if I switched to programming full-time instead of the mish-mash of stuff I do now, I would need to know how to use it.

I logged back into my GitHub account, installed the Windows app, and then stared at it for a bit. How am I supposed to convert my workspace structure into here? After some Googling, reddit gave me the answer.

I’m going to replicate my project folder structure using repositories, and use the local clone of that as my Visual Studio workspace. I will reproduce the scripts in my General folder as Gists, as they are general purpose snippets that don’t need to be grouped together anyway.