2015 Goals: Getting Real

2015 Goals: Getting Real

Rene Rubalcava | December 28, 2014

I had a jam-packed 2014. Reviewing my 2014 goals I met some and not others.


I have like three jobs, including my day job, which at times can stretch my sanity, but I've been managing.

SmartGeotech: Business is progressing here. I've had the opportunity to work on a couple of projects that really try to simplify some complex workflows. This has been the biggest challenge, and not just simplifying these complex workflows, but developing them in such a manner that makes them maintainable and also configurable. I'm talking down to dynamic form generation. I'm working on some cool stuff when it comes to this app configuration that I'm hoping to talk about next year, stay tuned.

Consulting: Yes, I still do consulting. This work has been mainly focused on some API development, which has taught me a lot about how other client-side developers expect data to work. I've basically turbo-charged the ArcGIS REST API to do some interesting queries and parse those results.

ArcGIS Web Development

I finished writing ArcGIS Web Development and it was released recently. This was an awesome experience and I really enjoyed it. I've gotten some really great feedback from readers and I'm so grateful to Manning Publications for releasing it, along with some other geodev books you can pick up from them.


Even with all the different projects I am doing and the crazy hours, I focused on making more time for my family. Making sure I can spend quality time with my wife and kids has really kept me grounded and sane. I will typically wake up on the weekends and knock out 4-5 hours before anyone wakes up, spend the whole day with family and knock out another 4-5 hours late afternoon or at night.

I've been using the Pomodoro Technique, which I was inspired by John Sonmez to start using and help increase my productivity and keep me focused on tasks. During the week I can knock out 12-13 Pomodoros and 8-10 on the weekends.

Things I missed

One of the things I really wanted to do this year was attend more conferences. I did attend the Esri User Conference and the Esri Developer Summit, but I couldn't make it to ClojureWest or FOSS4G, which I'talk about why in a moment. I did get to attend my first Esri Partner Conference. The EPC was pretty interesting and I'm probably not allowed to say much more than it was really great to meet other partners and see what everyone is doing with Esri products as part of their business.

One of the reasons I didn't get to attend as many conferences as I wanted to was that I had to travel for business. I took my first plane trip since I was maybe 17 years old. I survived, not a fan, but I recognize it's probably something I'll need to do more of, so I buckled down and just did it. I did go first class though and learned they won't serve you alcohol until you are actually in the air.

I also took a week long break with family and friends in a cabin up near Yellowstone National Park. It was completely and totally refreshing. We spent a day at the park, but really just relaxed, hit up a local lake and soaked in the scenery. I loved it and I'm really hoping to do it again in 2015.

Things to come

There are already some projects for business lined up in 2015 that will have me working on some very cool things like 3D mapping that I am really looking forward to. I can't say much at the moment, but maybe I'll be able to do a presentation at an upcoming UC or DevSummit when it is complete. I've also been working on more projects that use Leaflet and Mapbox. I even had some requests to start doing some Google Maps stuff. I'm definitely getting my fill of open-source geo goodness.

Blogging: I am blogging more regularly here and at GeoNet. My goal is one blog post a week at each location. I'm going to try and keep the blog posts here more about things I have been experimenting with or some advanced topics. The GeoNet blog posts will try to focus more on the kinds of topics and questions that pop up in the forum.

Writing: I have a goal to write short ebooks this year. I really enjoyed writing the ArcGIS book and now I have an itch that needs to be scratched. I'm looking at putting out some more focused ebooks on a singular topic or geo development. I'm still working on this, but I'll probably release a couple of free ebooks and then a more advanced paid one. I have plenty of ideas on these, I just need to execute them.

Screencasts: Yes, I am going to be doing screencasts. I have a youtube channel with one test video up. This is new to me, so I expect it's going to take me some practice with these.

Health: On a personal note, I used to workout and lift regularly until a series of minor injuries and work got me off track and I just felt like I didn't have time. Those were just excuses, I let myself get lazy, so I'll be putting my home gym back together this year as well. Not stuff I'll cover in this blog, but still a goal nonetheless.

These might some pretty lofty goals, but I still have some gas left in the tank, even with a day job. Idle hands drive me stir crazy. The only thing I am not taking on this year is a podcast, but I think drunken geographer is getting one going, so I'll be listening to that one. Keep an eye out as I release more updates on new projects.

Have a great 2015 everyone!