About the Portfolio

This website showcases GIS, computer programming, and cartographic design projects I've undertaken during my studies and work. I am currently a student at the Centre of Geographic Sciences in Nova Scotia, an Esri Centre of Excellence, where learners are trained to produce exemplary cartographic products. I've also worked for the municipal government as a GIS technician.

About Me

In my previous lives I've worked for a tech company, where I supervised a team of analysts responsible for identifying and reporting serious risks to major worldwide brands on the Internet. I've also worked within the environmental sciences department of a university, where I was responsible for both interpretive work, educating the public about our local Acadian Forest ecology, and lab work including tissue culture propagation of at-risk native plant species. In my free time, I like to go rock climbing or long-distance cycling.

I currently work for Dougan & Associates, an ecological consulting and landscape architecture firm in Guelph, Ontario. Alongside my duties as a CAD/GIS technician, I manage the social media and blog presence for CanPlant, an online database of Canadian plants.

About the Website

The website is a portfolio piece in and of itself: I redesigned it in December 2018 as an opportunity to further my technical skills, leaving behing my old Wordpress site and creating the new version using the open-source web development framework Django. I did this in anticipation of learning GeoDjango for the creation of web maps. Along the way, I brushed up on my CSS and HTML skills, and gained a better understanding of website security protocol options.

In the interest of creating a simple but professional Django web application at a low cost, I used a very inexpensive shared hosting plan to host the site. Because shared hosting doesn't grant the user administrative access to the server, I created a Python 3.6 virtual environment in which to install Django (which is built in Python) and other libraries, giving me access to this functionality without needing to purchase dedicated server space. Similarly, SQLite was chosen over the industry-standard PostgreSQL as a lightweight alternative that did not require the purchase of any further services from my web host.

Django was used to automate some of the repetitive work of web design, producing a simple and efficient web application to display my portfolio information. To do this, information pertaining to each portfolio piece is stored as attribute data within SQLite database tables. These are retrieved dynamically whenever someone views the site, using server-side Python scripts served by Apache. which runs on the CloudLinux operating system where the site is hosted.

The Bootstrap front-end development framework was used to provide CSS and Javascript templates, resulting in a website with a consistent interface and graphic design, configured for display on both desktop and mobile screens.

To ensure that login information remained secure, I obtained SSL certification from Let's Encrypt, a free service offered by the Electronic Frontier Foundation. On a shared hosting plan offering no integrated support for Let's Encrypt, this required performing an http challenge, followed by manually generating the certificate information using their Linux utility and updating my domain's settings accordingly.

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