FOSS4G 2011 Conference Overview

bootlessbwakInternet and Web Development

Nov 12, 2013 (3 years and 9 months ago)


FOSS4G 2011 Conference Overview
-Matt Bertrand

The FOSS4G conference started with an introduction by Peter Batty, the conference chair, who gave a
rundown of the number of attendees and the countries they came from. Next up was Arnulf Christi from
Metaspatial who spoke about “The State of OSGeo” and how it has built up a fantastic reputation as an
independent voice for open source geospatial software. Finally, Paul Ramsey gave an overview of how
open source business models work. Then it was time for the many conference presentations. I primarily
attended the technical talks which seemed to be potentially useful (now or in the future) to development of
WorldMap and geospatial programming in general:

“Tutorial: Async. and Realtime Geo Applications with Node.js” – Kashif Rasul
This tutorial went through the process of creating an asynchronous geospatial chat application using the
Node.js javascript server that allows multiple clients to be notified of updates (and their locations) posted in
real-time. Node.js is promising for high-traffic websites but is still somewhat experimental.

“The State of GeoServer” – Justin Deoliveira and Andrea Aime
Justin provided an overview of new features & improvements maded to GeoServer in the past year -
Cascading WMS, Virtual Services, SQL Layers/Views, Unit of Measure support for SLD, WMS 1.3, and

“GeoServer on steroids” - Simone Giannecchini and Andrea Aime
Simone provided many useful tips and tricks for maximizing the performance of GeoServer, such as how top
optimize data & styling, set up caching, configuring service limits, and many more.

“Use of Google Fusion Tables for a public floodplain interface” - Bruce Rindahl
Bruce Ventura detailed how the Ventura County Watershed Protection District created a simple yet accurate
interface for the public to view the latest floodplain boundaries, flood zones and flood depths in the county,
using a Google Maps interface in conjunction with Fusion Tables.

“GeoScript - Spatial Capabilities for Scripting Languages” – Justin Deoliviera and Jared Erickson
Justin and Jared gave an overview of GeoScript, which provides an interface to the functionality of the
GeoTools library in a variety of languages – Python , Groovy, Javascript, and Scala. GeoScript can be used
for geoprocessing, data conversion, WPS processing, and much more.

“Scripting GeoServer with GeoScript” – Justin Deoliviera and Tim Schaub
Essentially a continuation of the above talk, examples were demonstrated of how GeoScript could be used
to create plugins that can be used within GeoServer.

“DotSpatial - an Open Source .NET GIS Framework” – Matthew Klein and Daniel Ames
DotSpatial is a free and open source set of libraries developed on the Microsoft .NET framework that
provides geospatial capabilities. In some ways it can be considered an open source alternative to ESRI’s
.NET ArcObjects.

“OpenLayers Mobile” – Tim Schaub and Eric Lemoine
A new version of OpenLayers was just released that adds support for mobile devices. Tim and Eric
described how the new version provides hooks for mobile-specific events such as multitouch that finally
makes OpenLayers a viable solution for mobile web apps.

“Mapnik2GeoTools” – David Winslow and Alyssa Wright
Mapnik is an open source mapping toolkit written in C++/Python which is useful for both desktop and server
based map rendering. David described a new tool he created that converts Mapnik’s custom styling formats
into SLD and imports them into GeoServer.

“Cloud Scalability and the OpenGeo Stack: Publishing Statewide Broadband Availability Maps” -
Michael Terner, Ryan Westphal

The focus of this talk was more general than technical, and included topics such as the reasons why the
National Telecommunications and Information Administration
chose to select
open source software and a
cloud-based hosting approach for it’s national broadband availability web app.

“The State of GeoCouch” - Volker Mische
This talk was a general overview of GeoCouch, which provides spatial indexes and query capabilities to the
“NoSQL” CouchDB database. NoSQL databases have received lots of attention lately for theoretically being
faster than traditional relational databases under heavy load.

“WorldMap: a GIS web application for collaborative research built on the GeoNode platform” – Matt
Bertrand, Ben Lewis
This was my talk, and I explained how WorldMap had it’s origins in AfricaMap and why GeoNode was
chosen as the foundation for the current release of WorldMap. I also gave a demo of the system with a
focus on the new features that have been added such as layertree categories, map revision history, and the
revamped ‘Add Layers’ dialog window.

“Visualising Time Series Data with Open Source Components” - Simon Jirka
Arne Bröring
I thought this talk would be useful for adding time series visualizations to WorldMap. The focus of the talk
was actually different from what I expected but still very interesting – creating real-time graphs of
measurements from sensor networks and displaying them on a website.

“PostGIS Replication” - Steven Singer
Steven described in detail two alternative ways to achieve replication of PostGIS databases, which
distributes spatial queries to multiple servers, thereby increasing scalability and fault-tolerance. The “Slony-
I” replication system is compatible with both 8.x and 9.x versions of PostgreSQL but can be very difficult to
set up and configure properly. The “hot-standby replication” method is much easier to set up and comes
pre-packaged with PostgreSQL 9.x, but is not available for 8.x versions.

“Scaling PostGIS Queries with Stado” - Jim Mlodgenski

Jim gave an overview of Stado, a plugin for PostgreSQL that automatically partitions data across multiple
database server nodes, each of which processes its subset of data. This allows queries to be distributed
across the node cluster and run in parallel. He emphasized that this is not the same as replication, and is
only intended for scaling queries, not the database as a whole.

“Geoprocessing with Neo4j Spatial and OSM” - Craig Taverner
Craig introduced the concept of graph databases, and how they are ideally suited for querying and storing
data that contains multiple relationships/connections, such as vertices on a line or polygon. Neo4J Spatial is
a NoSQL implementation of a graph database with built-in support for geometry types. It could be very
useful for high-traffic applications that deal with routing or other relationships between geometry features.