geoLibro

2007.May.18

Am I Illiterate or Does That Say PostgreSQL 8.2?

Filed under: Open Source GIS — geoLibro @ 8:49 pm

Nowhere else is there an indication of support for PostgreSQL as the real back end of ArcSDE (except for the perpetual conversations taking place in ESRI forums), but…doesn’t this suggest that it might be in the works? Am I stupid for thinking such things?

(Here’s a screencap in case it turns out to be some prank):
PostgreSQL behind ArcSDE

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2007.February.6

Plug Up ka-Map

Filed under: GISUI (GIS User Interfaces), Open Source GIS — geoLibro @ 1:32 am

This is going to work out fine, yes. I’ve been toying with the notion that the open source ka-Map might just be smooth enough (built on top of MapServer‘s robust enough) to handle some of the web mapping projects we have coming up. ka-Map is a javascript and php-built front end that takes MapServer’s output and tiles it, precaches it, then renders it within any number of web environments, a number of which come pre-built with the source. Think Google Maps to MapServer’s ArcIMS. So after a couple of false starts, one of which was due to a mysterious incompatibility somewhere within the string of libraries required to run it on OS X (it set up with no problem on Ubuntu and one of the grad assistants got it set up on Windows with a little text editing), everything fell into place this past weekend. Now in just a couple of days I have map attributes (shapefile) query and search running, have those queries then throwing out to some other database.

…And back! What’s the point? Well, Google recently attached map searches to their Book Search results. MetaCarta has been leading the pack on the same thing. What we have going here is something a little like that, but without the great power of the former and the awesome natural language processing of the latter. Specifically, we’re supposed to have an old soil survey of Tippecanoe County, IN scanned, its map scanned and rectified and, in fact, digitized, and ka-Map is going to allow us to run searches back and forth between the text of the survey and the data layers extracted from the map. In our minds it will be a great combination of library work and GIS and ka-Map is getting us closer every couple of weeks.

draft of ka-Map installation

2006.August.21

Revisited: Introduction to GIS for Librarians workshop

Filed under: GIS in Libraries, Open Source GIS — geoLibro @ 4:07 am

Roughly two weeks ago, I mentioned a workshop on GIS for librarians. Well, I went after all, with the slightly hidden agenda of seeing who in the state was interested in GIS for a library, why they were interested, and possibly hearing about ongoing or planned projects. First of all, it wasn’t taught by an architect after all. The instructor had almost 30 years of GIS under his belt and who happened to work for a firm whose several services include architecture.

Anyway, what was most useful was hearing the questions existing librarians had about why GIS should even be in a library, what would it cost, etc. Also interesting was witnessing confusion about that murky place between these datasets everybody talks about and the map products themselves. In other words, for most attendees it was easy to see conceptually how geographic information can be useful and how it might even belong in a library, but very difficult for them to imagine how that information gets put onto a computer screen in any useful, intuitive format.

Our instructor didn’t help out much in that respect, as his was pretty clearly a general “What-is-GIS?” presentation he just happened to be showing to a roomful of librarians. In other words, very little was said about how librarians might play a part in metadata creation, storage, or development and very little was said about how a library might go about employing and applying GIS for themselves or for patrons. And almost nothing was done to illustrate the real, physical connection between something called “data” and that rich, graphical, colorful visualized version thereof.

And one more thing. If you were talking up GIS to a bunch of nonprofit types and they almost literally gasped at the price of the ESRI products, wouldn’t you also mention that there are several easy to use, free (open source, most likely) software titles that might do what they¬† need? Not everybody would.

2006.July.23

Bull’s rambles points to Dapple (WorldWind GES)

Filed under: GES, Open Source GIS — geoLibro @ 3:02 am

From Bull’s rambles: More NASA World Wind based GIS software

I haven’t tried Dapple yet (would have to drag the old Toshiba out of whatever box it got put into), but I wanted to register the news. I’m especially excited to see that WorldWind isn’t being forgotten about. I always did like it better than Google Earth in most respects, but I fear that it’s just not developing fast enough.

Anyway, James Fee has posted a quick review of it which might help evaluate it (except he seems to think people will be “scared off from the non-Windows appearance that it gives off,” which is either testament to how well the NASA guys designed the WorldWind GUI [is that a magnified dock hanging from the title bar?] or how self-restrictive Windows adherents are).

2006.July.3

qGIS 0.8 Preview 1

Filed under: Open Source GIS — geoLibro @ 4:02 am

And speaking of GIS on a Mac: Quantum GIS (qGIS) 0.8 Preview 1 is out. I haven’t done much with it yet. It crashed when I loaded a local shapefile, but it worked fine loading GRASS vector data (from Spearfish, loaded from within a GRASS session). It’s pre-1.0 and a preview at that, but go get it and beat it up a little. It’s the only way to make it better, and it’s still probably the best candidate for point/click GIS on a Mac system (uh, one that’s not running Windows, I mean).

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