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Keynote Speaker:

Regina Obe

Regina Obe

Paragon Corporation, PostGIS PSC

Regina Obe is President and co-founder of Paragon Corporation, a Boston-based PostgreSQL/PostGIS consulting company. She is a member of the PostGIS, pgRouting, and GEOS project steering committees, as well as a development team member of several geospatial projects and Open Source Geospatial Foundation (OSGeo) System Administration team.

She is the maintainer of the PostGIS application stackbuilder Windows Bundle.

Regina has also co-authored several popular books on PostGIS, pgRouting, and PostgreSQL with her husband, Leo Hsu. Most recent editions are PostGIS In Action 3rd Edition, SQL in a Nutshell 4th edtion, pgRouting: a practical guide (2nd edition in development), PostgreSQL: Up and Running 3rd edition.

POSETTE 2024 Talk

KEYNOTE: The Open Source Geospatial Community, PostGIS, & Postgres

(Livestream 2)

PostGIS, introduced in 2001, is one of the oldest Postgres extensions around. But PostGIS is not just built on Postgres. PostGIS is a love child, born of the Postgres community and the vibrant open source geospatial community.

Today many geospatial applications house their data in Postgres, because of PostGIS.

And PostGIS is usually one of the first data sources to be supported by new geospatial tools, whether open source or proprietary. More importantly, folks who know little about spatial can get up to speed with PostGIS quickly and build geospatial applications—with nothing but an application layer that understands how to work with SQL.

In this talk you’ll learn how (and why) PostGIS came about, and how the open source geospatial community has huge bodies of data that will continue to place demands on PostGIS and Postgres into the future.

Speaker Interview

About the Speaker

  • Tell us about yourself: career, family, passions

    I’m a child of Peace Corps volunteers Nigerian father and American mother. Born in Lagos, Nigeria and came to the US when I was 7.

    Before that I thought Americans feasted on chocolate covered ants. I was very disappointed to find out that was not the case.

    I live in Boston, Massachusetts now but spent most of my child and teen years in New York City. I sadly lost my Nigerian British accent, but my older brother still has his.

    As far as passions go, I like tinkering with new things, mostly open source software these days and exploring its limits, which makes me a good crasher of software.

  • What is your icebreaker for PostgreSQL events?

    How did you find out about PostgreSQL?

  • How do you prepare for an online presentation?

    I record myself many times (works for in person too). I find though that I am terrible at memorizing lines, so whatever talk I give, the words are never what I rehearsed, but still hits the point. I’ve decided, to just let the slides or the code guide me and try not to memorize anything cause memorizing things is very stressful.

  • Which book are you reading right now?

    I don’t read books. I only write them. 😊

  • What is your favorite hobby?

    Don’t have any that one would consider hobbies.

About the Talk

  • What will your talk be about, exactly? Why this topic?

    Talk is about community around PostGIS, Postgres, and Open Source Geospatial. In short it’s a story of a project being in the right place at the right time and uplifted by its parental projects.

    This topic because well extensions are the heart of Postgres, and yet each lives in its own mini universe. I think its important to talk about how Postgres has made it possible for other projects to thrive and in kind how other projects have allowed Postgres to spread its wings.

  • What is the audience for your talk?

    I think it will appeal to anyone interested in extensions, computer history around Postgres, and how we got here from there and what possibilities the future holds.

  • What existing knowledge should the attendee have?

    None, perhaps just an idea of what Postgres and PostGIS are but even that is probably not necessary.

  • Which other talk at this year’s conference would you like to watch?

    2 at the moment peak my interest: “State of the Postgres Extension ecosystem” and “What Enterprises like about Azure Database for PostgreSQL – Flexible Server”

  • How do you balance technical depth with engaging storytelling in your conference presentations?

    I do very badly I think. Something I’d like to do better at.

About PostgreSQL

  • What inspired you to work with PostgreSQL?

    PostGIS of course. I learned about PostgreSQL thru using PostGIS.

  • What is your favorite PostgreSQL feature?

    If I were to pick just two, I’d say arrays and that every row can be compartmentalized into one value. When I work with any other relational database, I realize how badly I need arrays and this idea that a row is an object too. The whole array_agg compounded with treating a whole row like a column etc, makes so many things so easy that would require tons of code to do in most other databases.

  • What is the single thing that you think differentiates PostgreSQL most from other databases?

    The immense ease with which you can make it your own without getting too deep. I think it’s the only database I’ve ever seen where you can do crazy things like define your own data type and then define operators specifically for your data type.

  • What is your favorite PostgreSQL extension or tool? And why?

    ogr_fdw (the spatial foreign data wrapper than is way more than spatial) – You’d think I’d say PostGIS, but no, even when dealing with non-spatial data, ogr_fdw has saved me more times than I can count dealing with spreadsheets and messy CSV files. PostGIS is spatial but ogr_fdw is uber time-saving.

  • What advice would you give to someone starting their journey with PostgreSQL?

    Remember, it’s not just a database, it’s a tool chest. The more you use it the more you’ll wonder how you ever got by without it.

  • What are your favorite resources for learning about PostgreSQL?

    The manual and believe it or not, I still find my book pretty handy (it’s old PostgreSQL Up and Running 3rd edition) but I still copy and paste code from the PDF version like dealing with full text, jsonb, defining a foreign data wrapper, etc.

  • Could you share a memorable experience or challenge you faced while working with PostgreSQL?

    I think studying the code, my very first review of the code was when they introduced IMPORT FOREIGN SCHEMA to foreign data wrappers, and I thought ogr_fdw really needs this feature, it was the most focused I’ve ever been reading any code, to figure out how to do this in ogr_fdw extension and so I revised ogr_fdw to hook into this new nifty feature that saved me even more time.

    Next was my first and (only patch) at the moment to PostgreSQL 16 is in extensions to support schema qualifying other extensions that your extension depends on. I learned the whole email list patch workflow. Very interesting but very different from what I’m used to.

    I’m hoping to put this new feature in place for PostGIS 3.5+ cause it’s become a bit of a serious issue with some of the extensions we have postgis_topology and postgis_tiger_geocoder, that they can’t schema qualify their postgis dependency.

  • In your opinion, what are the most common pitfalls or mistakes developers make when working with PostgreSQL?

    It isn’t so much PostgreSQL as just mistakes with working with relational databases. People just learn how to program and dump everything on the ORM wrapper, so they code against relational databases very inefficiently, pulling out all they need and doing work locally in the programming language of choice.

  • Which skills are a must have for a PostgreSQL user/developer?


  • What is the most overlooked thing about PostgreSQL?

    I’ll briefly cover that in the talk.

  • PostgreSQL is open-source, did that ever help you in anyway and how?

    Originally it didn’t cause I was thinking that just means it’s cheap, but as I used it more and appreciated all that I could do with it I couldn’t do with any other databases, the open-source ness made me realize how magical it is to be able to peak at the code that is running your data and that you can change it and that you can install it pretty much anywhere. Licensing is annoying not just because of the cost, but because of the nuisance of license management software. Have none of those issues with PostgreSQL.

  • If you had a magic wand, what single thing would you change in PostgreSQL as it is today?

    The ALTERING of VIEWS and MATERIALIZED VIEWS still annoys me, that I have to drop and recreate everything. That is my biggest pain these days with it.

About POSETTE & Events

  • Have you enjoyed previous POSETTE (formerly Citus Con) conferences, either as an attendee or as a speaker?

    I haven’t attended, mostly watched the after videos.

  • What motivated you to speak at this year’s POSETTE: An Event for Postgres?

    I think it was the name change. When it was called Citus Con, I thought of it as an event around the Citus extension, even though it wasn’t. I think the name change was a really great idea.

  • What other PostgreSQL events in 2024 are you excited about?

    Well not PostgreSQL per-se, but FOSS4GNA 2024 is around the corner—we are accepting talks now—(I expect many PostgreSQL/ PostGIS related talks) cause PostgreSQL is a staple in the open source geospatial community and really the geospatial community at large too I have heard.

  • What advice would you give to fellow speakers preparing for a PostgreSQL conference?

    It gets easier the more you give them. Try not to say Hmm or Like because it really kills the mood.

  • What would be helpful for a first-time speaker?

    I’ve heard pairing with a non-first-time speaker helps, but I never had that as a first-time speaker so don’t know.

Podcast Appearances

Why people care about PostGIS and Postgres with Paul Ramsey & Regina Obe

The Postgres team at Microsoft is proud to be the organizer of POSETTE: An Event for Postgres (formerly Citus Con).