BGS blogs

Accessing open source BGS software through GitHub

BGS is increasingly utilising GitHub to make its software available as open source and encourage collaboration with partners and the wider community.

GitHub logo
Through the BGS GitHub page, projects from across the organisation have provided access to innovative tools, documentation, and even training materials. Source: GitHub

BGS is increasingly utilising GitHub, a collaborative software source control platform, to make its software available as open source to encourage collaborative software development with partners and the wider community.

Projects from across the organisation have provided access to innovative tools, documentation and even training materials through the BGS GitHub page. For example, the ETL Helper tool is a Python library that helps simplify the process of transferring data between databases. BGS published the software to GitHub to ensure that it could be used for collaborative projects with other agencies and because it could be useful for other users using Python with databases. Since then, the project has received code contributions and valuable feedback on future improvements from external users.

As part of this approach to more collaborative development, BGS has also been working on a new way for developers, data scientists, modellers and others across the organisation to promote and highlight their activities and outputs – the BGS GitHub blog.

Introduction to GitHub blog

BGS Digital has a development blog series published on our BGS GitHub page. Over the past 18 months, staff from across the directorate have published a range of exciting content covering innovations, how-tos and tutorials, and discussions about design concepts or development issues. Whereas ‘traditional’ blog posts tend to be longer-form discussions, these posts are designed to be short and sweet, often including code snippets and screengrabs to illustrate the discussion or concept.  

These posts are a great way to document processes, methodologies and scripts that have been used within a project, to highlight some of the concepts that worked well and to flag up some trouble areas. The posts raise the profile of the work that can sometimes go under the radar as part of a bigger project, whether it’s a back-end system that supports other, more visible parts of an application, refactoring code and servers to support recent updates or a proof of concept demonstrator used in the BGS Open Day. 

As these posts are public and accessible in GitHub, it makes the work of BGS Digital visible to the wider world, which helps raise the profile of the work being undertaken across the range of fields that staff work in.

Blog Day for the application development team

We all want to make our work as visible and useful as possible, to highlight achievements and to provide solutions or support to problems that will help others inside and outside BGS. However, finding time to write a blog post can often be difficult with increasing demands on our time.

To help address this issue and seed the development blog series with exciting content, the application development team within BGS Digital held an event in August 2021 to start and finish a blog post, suitable for publication, within a single working day; a single, time-boxed event to publicise that snippet, how-to, tech demo or best practice that had been on the backlog. The day was a success with eight new posts being written that are now being scheduled for publication throughout the year.

Find out more

To learn more about the developments going on, please visit the BGS GitHub blog series.

About the author

Steven Richardson
Steven Richardson

Geospatial applications developer

BGS Keyworth
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