Wednesday 16 November 2011

Spatial at Gov

Spatial@Gov is the second conference I am taking part in this week.

Kudos to those who sent lunch packages around to those manning the booths (i.e. me). It was a really nice touch that I have not seen done at any other venue. Classy all around.

Please drop by the LISAsoft booth and say hi.

ESRI Australia Know your Place

Okay I always enjoy thanking sponsors; and ESRI Australia is a sponsor of Spatial@gov. They get extra points for providing free coffee (thanks!).

But I really must call them out on their banner this year:

Really? You sure you want to say that? In australia?

At many levels it is perfect; a dispassionate fellow stairs out over the head of the plebes passing by...

If you are at Spatial@Gov today; drop by the LISAsoft booth and say hi; we are friendly and inviting; and have an alternative scenario for you to consider.

Cameron has also been kind enough to arrange an OSGeo Aust-NZ breakfast meet up. Join the revolution - support OSGeo.

Open Source Developer Conference

I get a chance to compare two distinct conferences today. The first one is Open Source Developers Conference - which has been an amazing source of conversation ideas and energy. Organisation has been top notch with a real attention to details (the conferences passes include the program; so people avoid having to juggle bits of paper when checking where to go next).

LISAsoft is currently hiring; so I am supposed to be on the look out for new talent. I am afraid I am being distracted by all the fascinating and creative work.

Monday 14 November 2011

Sunday 6 November 2011

Arnulf Christl has circulated a great mock up of how OSGeo website will / should look with the OSGeo branding applied.

The original post invites people to comment of osgeo-discuss with feedback.
I welcome the opportunity for the OSGeo foundation to look consistent across conference booth, flyer handouts, presentations and website. Any other feedback I have can wait :-)

OSGeo Presentation Template

Returning to the OSGeo Templates through the years discussion here is an updated template for use with Apple Keynote:
Please consider using an OSGeo template for your next presentation promoting the foundation; every little bit helps when building a brand: Happy hacking

Monday 31 October 2011

Brisbane Meetup of Aust-NZ OSGeo Chapter

In a fit of ill-advised post FOSS4G enthusiasm I set up a meetup page. In my defence it sounded like a lot of the fun to be had in open source spatial is happening at the OSGeo chapter level.
I was actually concerned that I was taking on too much; that whole feeling of throwing a party and wondering if anyone is going to show...
Turns out we had quite a crowd; and an excellent location looking over the Brisbane river:
Rather than try and provide a summary the first Brisbane "Hack and Yak" here are the links brought up on the big screen:
If any of that looks like fun you are welcome to join us on Friday Nov 11th. I will be on hand with a preview of an upcoming GeoTools Workshop. I also hope to start round 1 of uDig vs QGIS challenge (to try and encourage some creativity).

Friday 28 October 2011


Small improvement coming out of some recent work on ResourceId.
    Set selected = new HashSet();
    filter =;
    filter ="CITY.98734597823459687235"),
Documentation harmed in the making of this post:

Tuesday 18 October 2011

Nothing to see here

A couple new abilities for the GeoTools filter system.
WFS2 includes two ways to check if an attribute does not have a value.
  • PropertyIsNull can be used to check that a property exists; and that the value is empty.
  • PropertyIsNil is used to check if a property exists at all
A quick example makes this difference easier to see:
    // test if "approval" equals "null"
    filter = ff.isNull("approved"));
    // this example checks if approved exists at all
    filter = ff.isNil("approved"),"no approval available");

I also found that I had missed documenting how FeatureId can be used to look up a feature by name; or at least identifier.
The example makes use of a Set of FeatureId to construct the appropriate Filter:

    Set selected = new HashSet();
    filter =;

Documentation harmed in the making of this post:

Saturday 24 September 2011

WPS Personality Markus Schneider

One contributors to the WPS-Shootout that was not able to attend in person was Markus Schneider from the deegree project.

I have a small association with deegree acting as their mentor during OSGeo incubation. Indeed deegree is the only project taking part that sports the OSGeo stamp of approval.

In this case indicating the project has their open source license story in order and follow an open development process.

The recently released deegree 3 supports WPS giving them an opportunity to participate in this years shootout. I was able to catch up with Markus Schneider and ask him the same questions covered in the panel discussion.


Markus Schneider is part of the core deegree team; working at Occam Labs / lat/lon. He has been working as an open source geospatial developer for the last 10 years.

Q: Tell us about the deegree community?

Markus: Our mission is to provide an advanced and thorough implementation of OGC web services (WMS, WFS, CSW, WPS, WCS, SOS) and a geospatial base library that covers the relevant OGC standards (GML, SLD, SE, FE, ...). It's for those who seek a framework that doesn't stop at simple features and handles the complex stuff (e.g. complex application schemas) as well.

Q: What interested you in Web Processing Service?

Markus: Well... as often with OGC specs, I am "impressed" with the abundance of options that the specification team managed to put into it ;-) The most cool thing is probably that you can process the streamed output from other OGC services (e.g. WFS) and even pipe it through several WPS processes.

Q: Example of a deegree Success Story?

Markus: For instance, there's a comprehensive coordinate transformation service powered by deegree WPS out there (at the Central Basic Geodata Service for Germany).

Q: Shootout Results?

no comment!

Q: Anything else?

Marks: What we're really proud of is the almost 100% coverage of the standard and all options, as well as the scalability -- due to it's streaming architecture, there shouldn't be any general limits on the size of processed inputs/outputs.

Q: Future plans for deegree WPS?

Markus: deegree 3.1 is scheduled for October 2011 (currently we're at 3.1-pre-13). 3.1 will bring WFS 2.0 and other stuff, and the WPS got a new way of deploying processes without that need for restarting the whole webapp.

Status of GeoTools

GeoTools had a strong showing at the FOSS4G conference last week; mostly in the form of presentations from downstream projects. I was pleased to put together a quick talk directly on the Status of GeoTools with Andrea providing much of the content; and Justin filling in for him during the talk.

The talk was a record 88 slides in 20 minuets (really it was a casual discussion about all the amazing work; with the slides providing more details for anyone interested). I encourage you to explore and learn of the fascinating capabilities; new developers who have joined the community; and active areas of research and development. If you download the presentation; or view the slides on slideshare; you can review the speaker notes which contain roughly the same story as was presented at FOSS4G.

I would like to thank Andrea (GeoSolutions) and Justin (OpenGeo) for their amazing contributions and for making this FOSS4G presentation a entertaining success.

Monday 19 September 2011

Pikes Peak

Epic road trip today up pikes peak ( so much better graphics than the video game but the rental car was a bit under powered for the course).

Thanks to LISAsoft alumni (Volker and Roald) and hapless bystander Jachym for a great adventure.

Updated with better photos!

The View from the Base of Pike's Peak

Yes I still have not gotten rid of those hats.


The best part was watching people notice the switchbacks on the side of that mountain; click for the larger image.

The Track

The way up is impressive; as for the track reference try this video (gasp!).

The Top

The top was impressive with noticeably less O2.


And a bit of a nip in the air.


Sunday 18 September 2011

FOSS4G Code Sprint

I will catch up on some of the great action on Friday - but for now something topical.
Jump! Not the project; just a bit of fun at the code sprint.
(We were kicked out for a fire drill; this happens when spatial indexes go bad).

If you would like more I have placed some up on flicker with the appropriate foss4g tag.


We had a great GeoTools code sprint.

Jared Erickson from the GeoScript project was kind enough to help me bash out a new process tutorial:


static public Geometry octagonalEnvelope( Geometry geom) {
    return new OctagonalEnvelope(geom).toGeometry(geom.getFactory());

@DescribeProcess(title = "Octagonal Envelope", description = "Get the octagonal envelope of this Geometry.")
@DescribeResult(description="octagonal of geom")
static public Geometry octagonalEnvelope(@DescribeParameter(name = "geom") Geometry geom) {
    return new OctagonalEnvelope(geom).toGeometry(geom.getFactory());
I also enjoyed working with some new friends from the Netherlands who were kind enough to update the GeoTools quickstart for Eclipse 3.7.

Thank you to the organisers for the great location! And to everyone who helped out today.

Saturday 17 September 2011

WPS Shootout

Thanks for attending the WPS Shootout. The slides are available below:

You should be able to click through and download the presentation if needed (perhaps your browser is modest and does not approve of flash).


  • The slides have been updated to reflect the questions asked during the presentation
  • The tests results are directly available from the slides by clicking on the *conformance* links

If you would like to skip the talking bit and go straight to the good bits I have dragged out the following slides.


You can review the request/response for PyWPS:In this case the results show an small mistake which we expect will be fixed shortly.


You can review the request/response for deegree:


You can review the request/response for 52N.
  • XMLSpy shows 100% success
  • waiting on the test script fix


You can review the request/response for Zoo-Project:


There are no Request / Response samples for GeoServer.


There are no test results as the constellation project (as it under development).

Happy Trails

We will be packaging up these results as a "white paper" for OSGeo; thank you for your support and encouragement in 2011.

Until then "Happy Trails!"

WPS Personality Simone Giannecchini

Simone Giannecchini was a surprise last minuet addition as Andrea could not join us. Simone brought a nice business perspective to the wps-shootout and was very focused on the steps needed to take GeoServer WPS to production quality.

The GeoServer project is well known for its WMS, WFS and WCS implementation. What is little known is that a WPS "extension" has been available on and off since 2008. Originally started by Refractions in 2008; work was maintained by the community (Andrea and Jody) with GeoSolutions really taking over the reins in 2011.

GeoServer was not able to take part in the wps-shootout due to time constraint (no time to set up a server for others to test against). As such I would like to thank a couple wps-shoout members who were able to pitch in so that GeoServer could be represented:

  • Gérald was kind enough to test GeoServer out 2 hours before the presentation!
  • Jachym was kind enough to test GeoServer against several WPS clients
Finally thanks to Simone and GeoSolutions for representing the GeoServer community in person and on stage.

WPS Personality Gérald Fenoy

I would love to tell you more about my co-presenter / organiser for the wps-shootout - Mr. Gérald Fenoy. Only trouble is I cannot find him. Why is this you ask? Well I think it comes down to Zoo-Project being very social.

The Zoo-Project is easily the most widely dispersed in terms of development teams located around the world. As a consequence of this they have done an amazing amount of promotion of the Web Processing Service standard and really raised the profile of WPS internationally. Their project is also very inviting allowing process developers to work with their choice of languages; with the result being served up from an engine written in C++.

What I can do instead is describe some of the hard work he has done for the wps-shoot out. When I manage to upload the slides from the wps-shootout you can get a sense of the effort Gérald has gone to by clicking on the "links" in the test results as shown below.

The website pages list all the checks performed; and give you a chance to review the request/response and any validation problems encountered.

Thank you Gérald for making this years wps-shootout a success.

WPS Personality Bastian Schäffer

Another WPS personality for the shootout this year is Bastian Schäffer. I actually had a bit of fun catching up with Bastian - and learned a bit about him and 52N as a company.

Bastian fell into this geospatial processing work in the course of his masters thesis at University of Muenster. He joined the 52N community in 2007 as they struggled with WPS 0.4 specification.

As an organisation 52N operates in collaboration with the university with a mandiate to push concepts and ideas into production. This launched Bastian into work with the OGC and he had many ideas on how the WPS specification could be improved in the future. I the wps-shoot experience can help highlight ways to improve interoperability.

I would like to thank Bastian for his participation / motivation / and help in making this years wps-shootout such a success.

the big party at foss4g

I did *not* take a camera with me - so no pictures to fall back on so I will have to paint the scene with words. The Denver Art Museum was a small pyramid embedded point first on the side of a large open square. As an art gallery goes it was an impressive display of shape over gravity.

The organisation was top notch with assistence provided in the form of a trail of yellow jacketed people providing direction.

It was really nice to have this as a party; rather than a sit down dinner as the level of conversation was excellent. Basically a "talk sprint" with beer. I caught people trying to draw index diagrams using gestures against a wall (an excellent post modern dance suited to the environment).

It was also great to meet up with users of uDig - sorry there were no talks I was not sure if I could come to FOSS4G this year!

On the way back many were hungry (this was a party and not dinner after all); so we dropped into the pub. Needless to say I won't have any pictures from this morning's keynotes.

Thursday 15 September 2011

Busy Day at FOSS4G

Okay I may as well continue with pictorial guide to foss4g; I am putting more picture over on Flicker somewhere (but the best ones are going here and you can click on them for more detail).

We had one more entertaining keynote; the always popular Paul Ramsey (this is my day to take awkward pictures of Paul in a range of contexts; here we have Paul in action)

Paul really does an excellent job on his presentations; twitter provided the following foss4g2011_keynote.pdf if you were not lucky to be their in person.

The catering at the conference this year has been excellent; starting with the always welcome first coffee break.

While FOSS4G may wish to downplay the gathering of the tribes - in some respects it is true "IanS" was part of my rough introduction to GeoTools and it was amazing to meet him in person.

I was really happy to catch up with various Refractions alumni: in this case Sam Smith, Paul Ramsey and Jesse Eichar

I managed to drop in on the gvSig mobile talk; and then raced over to see the MapMint presentation (which is a great example of ZooWPS used in anger).

The MapMint application reminded me how the deegree portal idea worked (in which the various page layout components were added to a standard web map context file). In this senario the team was able to use the general nature of Web Processing Service in order to ask it to produce a range of artefacts from "mapfiles" for mapsever; through to page layouts and so forth. MapMint looks to be an interesting high value product which should showcase the talents of MapServer.

I actually into a couple of amusing characters out side the MapMint presentation and it was good to catch up. Frank as always is a great community builder and asked if he would be welcome in the Java tribe. After a bit of thought I was able to assure him that yes indeed Java has a garbage collector and he would be very welcome.

I assume that was my limit of wit for the day; and they will take away my community builder badge. Good times.

Speaking of the Java tribe the "windows" room was Jam packed with an all star line up; Justin and Simone did a tag team State of GeoServer talk.

It was handled with good grace, plenty of fascinating information and a brisk pace. I especially like that Justin took time for Questions; even at the expense of finishing the vast quanity of slides. When he gets around to making it available on the internet it is well worth a read through.

Next up we had a series of talks from GeoSolutions responsible for a lot of excellent work in the GeoServer and GeoTools community. The highlight here was a talk by Alessio Fabiani offering a top to bottom walkthrough "Advanced Cartographic Map Rendering in GeoServer". I was impressed at seeing so much information in one place; and heard a couple of remarks about the presentation being better than some of the tutorials.

FOSS4G Starts with a Strip Tease

The conference is packed!

A very nice welcome from the man in charge:

An a great strip tease showing off the range of tshirts: