GIS on a Mac

I am between houses now and I miss my nice file server Dart and my nice desktop Laysan because they are in storage, so I want to work more with GIS on my laptop, a MacBookPro (Stellar).

The best set of instructions I have found for setting up the open source GIS tools I know and love on my Mac is here:   Installing Open Source Geo Software: Mac Edition These instructions are pretty complete and worked well for me on Mavericks.

I found I had to install pillow to satisfy the requirement in tilestache for PIL.

sudo pip install pillow

It took several hours to install Mapnik; skip that step if you don’t plan to use it.

In the past I used stackbuilder to install postgresql and postgis on my Mac. I removed that version and install with brew; what could be easier than

brew install postgresql

brew install postgis

I had to hack around a bit to get postgres set up. I created /usr/local/var/postgres/9.2/main by adding “export PGDATA=/usr/local/var/postgres/9.2/main” to my .bashrc and then running initdb. I had to do the command “createdb” to get my user created so that “psql -h localhost” would let me connect to the server.


We’re moved.

Since my last post, we listed the house. We sold it. We moved to California.

We visited Chimera Arts and Maker Space in Sebastopol (twice) and it’s awesome!

I started working at CDS Wireless today.  My mission there is to bring order to chaos.

Now I have to get serious about publishing articles here instead of on our wiki, which is still my habit.

Moving back to California

Our house is now (unofficially) for sale. We have not listed it anywhere yet. It’s at 415 SE Alexander Ave in Corvallis, Oregon


Trulia lists it at $309,000.  See their listing for more detailed information.  The house is less than a mile to the city center, yet it’s on a huge .63 acre lot.

Most rooms have original hardwood flooring (refinished a few years ago). The master bedroom has carpet over the hardwood, One bedroom has cork. The kitchen has marmoleum flooring and paperstone and formica counters and custom-made cabinets. It has a solartube skylight to let in extra light as does the bathroom.

Off the kitchen is a room that has a french door opening onto a new 8×12′ composite deck.

The yard is split roughly 50/50 between the front section with landscaping (lots of natives) and the back which is about a 1/4 acre used for veggie garden. The last 30 feet or so at the back is a buffer zone behind the deer fence; there is roughly 5 acres of space back there that is undeveloped.  Yes, that’s right, right here in Corvallis there is 5 acres of open space behind our house!

We have producing cherry trees and plum trees and apple trees. We have blueberries and marion berries. We have a young walnut tree and a young persimmon tree.

When we moved in, it was mostly a big lawn front and back, there is still enough lawn in the back to enjoy but you won’t need to spend all weekend walking behind your lawnmower.

We have a well to provide house and garden with water, but we are connected to the city for sewer service. There is a water softener for the house. The water heater is electric.

We have a 96% efficient gas furnace (about 4 years old now) and new ducts. All windows are double pane or better. We have full insulation including under floor.  The house is warm and snug and energy efficient.

The 2.8 KW photovoltaic solar panels are installed on a steel roof. The panels and roof are 2 years old.

The solar panels still have two years to go on the state tax credit, which means the new owner can get a state tax reduction of $1500 per year for 2014 and 2015.

The solar panels are making about 1200 watts right now. Since installation 2 years ago we have generated over 7 megawatts. Our summer bill is the minimum, $10.26 and in the dark of winter it’s about $50. Basically we make all our own electricity.


We put speakers into the ceiling in two rooms and wired them to the living room, 4 rooms total are wired for speakers.

It has the usual tv cable installed but also has gigabit ethernet wiring installed. There is an infrastructure cabinet in the hall closet to contain a Comcast compatible modem, an ethernet switch, and I keep a WiFi access point in there.

Today we are moving stuff into a PODS shipping container that’s waiting for me in the driveway right now!

Brian Wilson brian @, Julie Skopal  julie @ 541-368-7383

Hello world!

We’ve changed from a wiki format to a blog format.
Now we just have to figure out how to make WordPress look good… and learn how to blog!

In the meantime, the entire Wiki site is still available; it has been moved from to

Brian & Julie