Eclipse: Open Technology for Everything and Nothing in Particular

Eclipse is so much, much more than an IDE these days. For starters, there are many exciting technologies being developed by the Internet of Things, Science and LocationTech groups. We really need to showcase these to the wider world. This was the excuse to have an event in London bringing together these different technologies and communities for a night of tech and merriment.

The event Eclipse Converge: blending LocationTech, IoT & Science was very generously hosted by Geovation, the Innovation Hub from the Ordnance Survey. We were very grateful for all the team there for help with organising and ensuring this event went off without a hitch. They have a terrific space and laid out quite a spread of food and drink, which set the scene well for our six speakers. Here is the story of the evening, partly-told by the lovely tweets from the community.

GeoGig: A Git-Like Approach To Geospatial, Joe Allnut, Ordnance Survey

Representing the thriving Eclipse LocationTech group, Joe Allnut talked about GeoGig, an Eclipse project which is essentially git for geospatial data. A very handy tool considering the Ordnance Survey’s maps database has about 10k changes a day. It was great seeing the tool in action to help visualise the map changes during construction at London’s Olympics site.

Data Analysis and Visualisations with DawnSciJacob Filik, Diamond Light Source

Onto science, and the great work being done by Diamond Light Source, founding members of the Eclipse Science group. Jacob Filik gave us a great insight into the fascinating research carried out at the synchrotron and demonstrated the analytic and visualisation prowess of DawnSci, an Eclipse project which has also spun out the Eclipse January project.

A Brief Overview of Eclipse IoT: What’s There? What’s Still Needed?, Boris Adryan, ThingsLearn

Time for some IoT next with Boris Adryan. Boris set about breaking down the Eclipse IoT landscape for us, highlighting useful projects such as Paho and Mosquitto. What was great about this talk was the insight and feedback as to what just works and what is still rough around the edges, as well as the wishlist (documentation please!). Check out the entertaining slides here (really what font is that?).

Indoor Positioning with Bluetooth Low Energy and Espruino JavaScript,Gordon Williams, Espruino

This was an IoT meets LocationTech talk. For most, it was our first look at a BBC Micro:bit, running Javascript no less, talking to iBeacon hardware for an indoor positioning application! This is all achieved using the Espruino interpreter, with Gordon drawing stirring parallels with the BBC Micro and its BASIC interpreter. Next generation indeed, with all the fun and drama of a live demo!

The Oxford Flood Network, David Simpson, Nominet

The Internet of Things is nothing if it’s not solving real world problems. So enter the real-world problem of flooding rivers and the millions of pounds of damage they cause. David Simpson gave us a highly energetic overview of the technology behind the flood network, from sensors to cool data visualisations. Even better was the example of how the underlying technology was quickly adapted and repurposed for a car-park monitoring application, emphasising the reusability behind the technology.

Open Source and the Price of Butter, Andrea Ross, Eclipse Foundation

Wrapping things up under the open-source umbrella of the Eclipse Foundation, Andrea Ross gave her talk with its intriguing reference to butter. All was revealed as we learnt about the ‘Internet of Cows’ and the crucial role foundations like the Eclipse Foundation play not just in the governance of open source, but also bringing the community together and keeping the machinery, er, well buttered! Besides the great talk, Andrea was instrumental in making this event happen and getting us all talking to each other.

Wrap Up

The evening was wrapped up with a fun quiz with some lovely hip-flasks, donated by the Ordnance Survey, for the winners. Then it was off to the pub for some further debriefing.

Andrea also helped emphasise the variety of companies involved, further testament to the range of technologies being developed at Eclipse.

Once upon a time the Eclipse tagline was ‘An IDE for everything and nothing in particular’. Then, that evolved to ‘ A framework for everything and nothing in particular’.  It is long overdue an update to ‘Eclipse: Open technology for everything and nothing in particular’.

3 thoughts on “Eclipse: Open Technology for Everything and Nothing in Particular”

  1. Wonderful blog post about a fantastic event Tracy! I must insist that everyone know what a crucial role you played in planning, organizing, and making this event so much fun. You were also a truly excellent quiz-master. Thank you!

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