My name is Seth Fitzsimmons and I'm a freelance systems architect. I build tech solutions that enable people to do cool new things with geographic data. I focus on open-source solutions, open data, and cross-organizational collaborations.
Before going freelance, I was the Director of Technology at the award-winning Stamen Design and previously worked at Microsoft, SimpleGeo, Yahoo (Flickr and Fire Eagle) and the Public Radio Exchange (PRX). I've also been involved in the OAuth and XMPP standards processes.
Most of my current work fits into three "buckets": OpenStreetMap data infrastructure, raster handling, and humanitarian mapping tools. Here's what I'm up to:
I create pipelines so that anyone can use OSM data in large-scale analysis tools, such as Amazon Athena - recently featured in AWS's "Ten Big Open Data Stories from 2017". I'm currently building off this work so that users can query OSM's entire data history in minutes - enabling them to search through 7.3 billion records, returning full geometries and all metadata. Beyond just building technology, I'm a member of the OSM-US Board of Directors, which supports local mapping communities, liaises with corporations and institutions, and promotes the use of OpenStreetMap in the US.
I created Marblecutter, a tool that renders imagery and terrain data for anywhere in the world; it searches cloud-based repositories, combines them together, and returns just the imagery that you need. This means that you don't need a local copy of an entire imagery library or always-on servers - saving time and money. Here's more about how this works. Marblecutter was used by Mapzen to produce Terrain Tiles, which is part of Earth on AWS. It's also a foundational component of OpenAerialMap. I also created Tessera, a tile server that works with the large library of tilelive modules.
I developed POSM, an offline server (ie small box) that lets you take cloud-based tools into remote and disconnected environments. POSM currently supports the offline use of OpenStreetMap editing, OpenMapKit, OpenDataKit (with encryption), FieldPapers, OpenDroneMap. POSM was initiated by the American Red Cross to enable local volunteers to use offline cell phones to map 7,000 villages in the remote border regions of West Africa. It's also been used as part of a vaccination campaign in Malawi. Along the way, I've contributed to maintenance and improvements for several of these data collection tools. I also contribute to remote mapping tools; I've worked on the Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team's OSM export tool, improved the stats workflow that powers the Missing Maps project leaderboards and migrated the stack to Azure.
Curious? You can find out more at the links below, or shoot me an email.