DevOps for Geospatial Data

There has been a bit of buzz the past couple of weeks over the ability of GitHub to render GeoJSON and TopoJSON files automatically using and embedded Leaflet map and MapBoxtechnology. This buzz is quite justified as it presents an easy way to simply publish and visualize vector data sets. In the weeks since the initial announcement, the community has begun exploring the limits of GitHub’s capability. Probably the two biggest limiting factors are individual file size limits and API rate limits. Some, including myself, are exploring strategies for maximizing the ability to store, disseminate, and visualize data within these confines. For the near term, GitHub will probably not be the place to store terabytes of data or act as the CDN for a high-volume mapping application. That is perfectly fine and there is still a great deal of value to be found within GitHub’s current generous constraints.

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FOSS4G North America

It’s rather fitting that the second plenary talk on Wednesday had to do with “firehose” applications since the FOSS4G North America (FOSS4GNA) conference was something of a firehose in itself. Despite the fact that the event was smaller than the worldwide event in Denver back in October, I came away with the same “full brain” feeling.

It feels like I never leave this place.

Of course, given the recent production release of PostGIS 2.0, that was kind of the big story for this event. I attended a number of PostGIS/PostgreSQL-related sessions and came away with lots of new information. I especially enjoyed Paul Ramsey’s “what’s new” talk on Wednesday. One thing I enjoy about his talks (here and in Denver) is that he’s not afraid to throw sample SQL up on the screen. It’s one thing to hear about a new feature but it’s another thing entirely to see a concrete example. Some may find the idea of raw SQL in a presentation abhorrent but it worked for me. Continue reading “FOSS4G North America”

Taking A Look At PgMap

When I blogged about the official end of zigGIS last week, I included a mention of PgMap, a free extension to ArcMap for direct read/edit of PostGIS data. Judging from outbound links, there seems to be a good bit of interest in it so I decided to take a look.

To recap, Abe decided to pull the plug on zigGIS due to the fact that ESRI will support direct read/edit of spatial databases (as simple features) in 10.1. In my opinion, this is a good development. With native support coming, there was no need to continue with zigGIS. That support, however, will only exist in ArcGIS 10.1. Users of older versions will need to find alternatives. Based on our experience with zigGIS (as well as download data I’ve seen for the WeoGeo toolbar), there are a lot of people (especially outside the US) still using ArcGIS 9.x so demand for an alternative will probably be high for some time. Continue reading “Taking A Look At PgMap”

Triggered Notifications Using PostGIS

My project work the last few months has kept me away from a lot of my favorite open-source tools and I was starting to get hives. Specifically, it had been a while since I had worked with PostgreSQL and PostGIS and I was missing the experience, so I dreamed up something to do.

I do a lot of work implementing situational awareness systems for my customers and one common requirement is automated notification of events. I decided that I wanted to roll a completely FOSS approach to sending an SMS notification based upon the results of a spatial query. This post will discuss the basic wiring to make it all work. I’ll probably add more advanced features in subsequent posts but I’ll be sticking to the basics for now.
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