Archive for the 'PostGIS' Category

Toronto Code Sprint: Day 2

Posted in Locality and Space, Mapserver, OSGeo, PostGIS, Toronto Code Sprint on March 8th, 2009 at 22:44:32

Day 2 of the code sprint seemed to be much more productive. With much of the planning done yesterday, today groups were able to sit down and get to work.

Today, I accomplished two significant tasks:

  • Setting up the new OSGeo Gallery, which is set to act as a repository for demos of OSGeo software users in the same way that the OpenLayers Gallery already does for OpenLayers. We’ve even added the first example.
  • TMS Minidriver support for the GDAL WMS Driver: Sitting down and hacking out a way to access OSM tiles as a GDAL datasource, Schuyler and I built something which is reasonably simple/small — an 18k patch including examples and docs — but allows for a significant change in the ability to read tiles from existing tileset datasources on the web.

Other things happening at the sprint today were more WKT Raster discussions, liblas hacking, and single-pass MapServer discussions, as well as some profiling of MapServer performance with help from Paul and Shark. Thanks to the participation of the LizardTech folks, I think there will also be some performance testing done with MrSID rendering within MapServer, and there was — as always — more discussion of the “proj strings are expensive to look up!” discussion.

Other than that, it was a quiet day; lots of work getting done, but not much excitement in the ranks.

We then had a great dinner at Baton Rouge, and made it home.

This evening, I’ve been doing a bit more hacking, opening a GDAL Trac ticket for an issue Schuyler bumped into with the sqlite driver, and pondering the plan for OpenLayers tomorrow.

As before, a special thanks to the conference sponsors for today: Coordinate Solutions via David Lowther, and the lovely folks at SJ Geophysics Ltd.. Thanks for helping make this thing happen! I can guarantee that neither of those GDAL tickets would have happened without this time.

Toronto Code Sprint: Day 1

Posted in Mapserver, OSGeo, PostGIS, Toronto Code Sprint on March 8th, 2009 at 07:55:43

I’m here at the OSGeo Code Sprint in Toronto, where more than 20 OSGeo hackers have gathered to work on all things OSGeo — or at least MapServer, GDAL/OGR, and PostGIS.

For those who might not know, a code sprint is an event designed to gather a number of people working on the same software together with the intention of working together to get a large amount of development work done quickly. In this case, the sprint is a meeting of the “C tribe”: Developers working on the C-based stack in OSGeo.

After some discussion yesterday, there ended up being approximately 3 groups at the sprint:

  • People targeting MapServer development
  • PostGIS developers
  • liblas developers

(As usual, I’m a floater, but primarily concentrating on OpenLayers; Schuyler will be joining me in this pursuit, and I’ve got another hacker coming Monday and Tuesday to sprint with us.)

The MapServer group was the most lively discussion group (and is also the largest). It sounded like there were three significant development discussions that were taking place: XML Mapfiles, integration of pluggable rendering backends, and performance enhancements, as well as work on documentation.

After a long discussion on the benefits/merits of XML mapfiles, it came down to there being one main target use case for the XML mapfile is encouraging the creation and use of more editing clients. With a format that can be easily round-tripped between client and server, you might see more editors able to really speak the same language. In order to test this hypothesis, a standard XSLT transform will be created and documented, with a tool to do the conversion; this will allow MapServer to test out the development before integrating XML mapfile support into the library itself.

I didn’t listen as closely to the pluggable renderers discussion, but I am aware that there’s a desire to improve support and reduce code duplication of various sorts, and the primary author of the AGG rendering support is here and participating in the sprint. Recently, there has been a proposal to the list to add OpenGL based rendering support to MapServer, so this is a step in that direction.

The PostGIS group was excited to have so many people in the same place at the same time, and I think came close to skipping lunch in order to get more time working together. In the end, they did go, but it seemed to be a highly productive meeting. Among some of their discussions was a small amount of discusssion on the WKTRaster project which is currently ongoing, I believe.

After our first day of coding, we headed to a Toronto Marlies hockey game. This was, for many of us, the first professional hockey we’d ever seen. (The Marlies are the equivilant of AAA baseball; one step below the major leagues.) The Canadians in the audience, especially Jeff McKenna, who played professional hockey for a time, helped keep the rest of us informed. The Marlies lost 6-1, sadly, but as a non-Canadian, I had to root a bit for the Hershey team. (Two fights did break out; pictures forthcoming.)

We finished up with a great dinner at East Side Mario’s.

A special thanks to our two sponsors for the day, Rich Greenwood of Greenwood Map and Steve Lehr from QPUBLIC! Our sprint was in a great place, very productive, and had great events, thanks to the support of these great people.

Looking forward to another great day.

PostGIS and Stored Functions in… Python?

Posted in PostGIS, Spatial Databases on April 27th, 2007 at 20:40:44

This week, I had the oppourtunity to work with Schuyler in writing stored procedures in Postgres/PostGIS for the first time.

At first, we were writing in plpgsql, but found it didn’t suit our needs… and switched to Python.

Yes, Python. Our database now has stored procedures which decode a cPickle pickle structure from a column (go go unstructured data) and return the output of a key/value pair (based on the key).

It was a very weird thing to see this actually work.

My First Spatial Database

Posted in PostGIS, Spatial Databases on January 11th, 2006 at 11:13:48

Thanks to Schuyler and Rich Gibson, I now have a spatially aware postgres database.

Later today, thanks to Schuyler and zool, I’ll have a copy of Mapping Hacks, and a bluetooth GPS.

Last night, I learned how to use centroid(), astext(), and distance_spheroid(), and calculated the distance from my house to zool’s house, and from there to Darwin’s, where I ate lunch and used the wireless yesterday. I loaded some data, learned the frustration of having data in different projections, and learned a little bit about the various types of geometry. I loaded data from an ESRI shapefile. I found that “” in Postgres is equivilant to “ in mysql — that is, “GEOMETRY” means ‘the value from column Geometry’, not ‘GEOMETRY’, which is the literal. (If you ever get “Error: column “Foo” does not exist, that might be a good thing to check.)

Last night, I made my first foray into spatial databases.

Last night, I took control of space on my machine.

Tomorrow, I take control of space in the world!

But today, I need to work on things that I’m actually paid for at the moment. ;)