A glimpse of FOSS4G in the environmental consulting arena

Video in TIB AV-Portal: A glimpse of FOSS4G in the environmental consulting arena

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A glimpse of FOSS4G in the environmental consulting arena
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Open Source Geospatial Foundation (OSGeo)
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Portland, Oregon, United States of America

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In the highly competitive world of environmental consulting, being able to manage large volumes of data and deliver timely, accurate information based on that data is critical to our ongoing success. As a relatively small company, we recognized that we needed something unique to survive and prosper in an industry dominated by huge corporations. Over the past 7 years we have made a considerable effort to shift over to a FOSS4G environment, with a belief that, not only would this decision enhance what we already do well, but give us the competitive edge we would need to ensure future prosperity.A brief presentation of a snapshot of our current FOSS4G status, how we arrived here and a workflow tour beginning at the data acquisition stage looking at the feed through our patented EDMS QA/QC system into PostgreSQL followed by a demonstration of a just a few of our many custom web/mobile/desktop applications that rely on the PostgreSQL back end database and how these solutions are able to deliver accurate and timely information to employees and clients alike, and finally, where to next.We take advantage of multiple FOSS4G including the likes of OpenLayers, MapServer, PostgreSQL/PostGIS, PHP, D3 and jQuery. This combination places us in an ideal position to respond to client needs with the ability to rapidly deliver almost any request.
Keywords PostgreSQL PostGIS OpenLayers Mapserver D3 QGIS Pupunzi jquery mb.containerPlus PHP
Point (geometry) Musical ensemble Group action Building Open source Sequel Decision theory Mehrplatzsystem Multiplication sign Set (mathematics) Mereology Computer programming Information technology consulting Wave packet Product (business) Web 2.0 Workload Programmer (hardware) Mathematics Latent heat Thermodynamisches System Office suite Lie group Computing platform Condition number Collaborationism Addition Enterprise architecture Multiplication Information Mapping Software developer Projective plane Sampling (statistics) Database Staff (military) Bit Basis <Mathematik> Limit (category theory) Cartesian coordinate system Data mining Exterior algebra Computer animation Personal digital assistant Self-organization Fundamental theorem of algebra Computer forensics
Slide rule Musical ensemble Server (computing) Sequel Open source Code Multiplication sign Equaliser (mathematics) System administrator 1 (number) Disk read-and-write head Food energy Graph coloring Programmer (hardware) Latent heat Mathematics Energy level Circle Series (mathematics) Position operator Overlay-Netz Enterprise architecture Addition Electric generator Information Mapping File format Interface (computing) Software developer Forcing (mathematics) Projective plane Moment (mathematics) Database Bit Basis <Mathematik> Cartesian coordinate system Variable (mathematics) Type theory Category of being Word Computer animation Visualization (computer graphics) Personal digital assistant Query language Internet service provider Near-ring Library (computing)
Point (geometry) User interface Standard deviation Scaling (geometry) Information Mapping View (database) Cellular automaton Projective plane Client (computing) Personal digital assistant Chain Whiteboard Extension (kinesiology) Resultant Sinc function
Web 2.0 Cross section (physics) Group action Musical ensemble Mapping Open source Universe (mathematics) Video game Web browser Cartesian coordinate system Mereology Library (computing)
Slide rule Plotter Time series Database Drop (liquid) System call Product (business) Uniform resource locator Mathematics Computer animation Lecture/Conference Personal digital assistant Endliche Modelltheorie Resultant
Point (geometry) Cross section (physics) Uniform resource locator Touchscreen Computer animation Mapping Multiplication sign Time series Database Front and back ends
Cross section (physics) Multiplication sign Moment (mathematics) Virtual machine Time series Bit Mass Cartesian coordinate system Computer icon Googol Computer animation Software Lecture/Conference Network topology Right angle Resultant Library (computing)
Purchasing Cross section (physics) Presentation of a group Direction (geometry) Control flow Client (computing) Mereology Graph coloring Product (business) Wave packet Twitter Web 2.0 Latent heat Thermodynamisches System Computer hardware Energy level Position operator Metropolitan area network Plug-in (computing) Computer architecture Area Boss Corporation Dependent and independent variables Email Mapping Interface (computing) Cartesian coordinate system Software Personal digital assistant Customer relationship management Resultant Library (computing)
Web 2.0 Server (computing) Uniform resource locator Multiplication Observational study Mapping Lecture/Conference Mehrplatzsystem Projective plane Graph (mathematics) Database Instance (computer science)
Collaborationism Server (computing) Musical ensemble Service (economics) Multiplication sign Projective plane Moment (mathematics) Shared memory Database Heat transfer Instance (computer science) Client (computing) Replication (computing) Frame problem Frequency Very-high-bit-rate digital subscriber line Lecture/Conference Natural number Point cloud
Greatest element Mapping Civil engineering View (database) Weight Interface (computing) Keyboard shortcut Execution unit 1 (number) Googol Process (computing) Lecture/Conference Object (grammar) Form (programming)
Functional (mathematics) Dependent and independent variables Lecture/Conference Projective plane Sound effect Database Template (C++)
Point (geometry) Mapping Polygon Projective plane Bit Line (geometry) Affine space Cartesian coordinate system Template (C++) Web application Digital photography Lecture/Conference Natural number Form (programming)
Mobile Web Axiom of choice Android (robot) Mobile app Sequel Software developer Execution unit Bit Database Client (computing) Cartesian coordinate system Mathematics Lecture/Conference Quicksort Computing platform
Time zone Mobile app Cross section (physics) Touchscreen Multiplication sign Source code Sampling (statistics) Planning Control flow Database Real-time operating system Cartesian coordinate system Graph coloring Product (business) Web application Mathematics Uniform resource locator Thermodynamisches System Lecture/Conference Password Einbettung <Mathematik> Quicksort Table (information) Local ring
Cross section (physics) Open source Lecture/Conference Different (Kate Ryan album) Projective plane Online help Bit
Uniform resource locator Lecture/Conference Energy level output Online help Database Extension (kinesiology)
might on novel hold right so some that again so we have offices across the US and that to tune Brazil and 1 in China of dealing with the with the contaminated land clean up but we have the Marine Science group the northwest of mining groups in in Colorado and Montana and and a chemical forensics groups in Boston and New Jersey so a little bit about myself I grew up in a in South Africa and those countries it was sometime in Num Holland and a prior to moving to the the US in the UK for 10 years and is doing the majority were growing up in South Africa soon came to realize that the resources of the funding would would not visible to a large amount the population various technical technically orientated projects and so that naturally come let me to wards the open-source arena so as we're really much passion lies have taken that with me into the consulting business which is where I am now based in Atlanta so when I arrived in Atlanta the 1st thing I I I soul from my experience was there was a need for change maybe users for using access databases and using personal database we are a partially and that as we show up and we have from HapMap as the distal product and I should almost without mapping is a fantastic product and the the issue was really here when I arrived that they were using his personal due databases project collaboration often the involved e-mailing databases about the issue currency at times that we might have been a a presenting outdated data to clients and disturb the stand issues that you might expect from a single-user databases that In addition to that of a database is some uh that we exceedingly this axis limits with the amount of data that we had and and a funny any web based mapping applications for programmers with disconnected and difficult to maintain because there wasn't any binding onto the the base data so was the was the solution going to apply so that the business said the success of an RE what what are we doing really well and how can we do better and so what we're doing well the engineering part of it seemed to be really done spots on and that our ability to analyze data was excellent and of the we have a painted pay patented EMS system and which allows us to a come to fine-tune the data and and QA QC the data in in a really great way so that means that the data that we getting on what's been through the system is in a uh an excellent so the conditions for which 2 to base informed decision decision making and and do of analysis with and so how can we improve on that so 1st of all to get rid of this single user access database situation so was the introduction course as a centralized and multi multi user date solution and then it was a case of a building tool sets and that make the transition to push a sequel I'm a lot easier and I introduced huge as a an open source solution an alternative to the HapMap products and but for those of you who have not exploited yet it is a pretty impressive was blown away a couple of among things used back-projected out and I think you need a bit of work but it really has come a long way in a relatively short span of time and it's a supervector connecting to push this sequel database and I introduced mobile solutions are most do an annual staff training on the fundamentals of sequel introducing skin uses more comfortable with the approaches sequel environment and and then looking at some basically a company-wide platform for sustainable organic application development so that a mouthful there really but so the idea is that given our various pods across the country they all have different roles some of them very specialized less so the but the idea is that we have a common and infrastructure with regard to technology across the company and I don't really know what need to know and what the specific sample they doing but they now have a review common infrastructure on which they can develop the resources and tools to support the specifics of what they doing on a daily basis so for example they could hire a programmer and regarded regardless of that program background and they would then have a have a platform that would work with what the programmers familiar with right so challenges I'm working with engineers i guess i should put that is the of that year and the need the need for solutions without taking on an extra workload so you know bring us bring a solution but we don't do anything they wanna get to know what we don't you know really get involved but anyway we don't wanna be bogged down with anything with anything extra so they're really dovetails nicely into the 2nd point which is the and aggressive enterprise solution marketing campaigns and it's 1 of the challenges I think I'm at this point so I considered
to getting you want to sit in a circle and entering a slide entitled that my name is John and I have used a lot yeah so on but I think this is a judge of society so it is it is very difficult dealing with the aggressive and marketing campaigns especially given the engineers have very little time to detect these things on uh I think 1 thing the open source community is the force would you really do with is a marketing and force of that history has and that would really do wonders for the open-source community I think so anyway so it is it's really getting these promises and that that the engine is reading about on on a weekly basis coming in by you know by letters what you name it and they're trying to convince them that it's it's it's not will all be exactly as it as it looks on but and 1 of the other main ones is a culture of this is how you have things be done for 20 years coming up against people that have I just accustomed to doing things a certain way they can set in their ways and very difficult for them to embrace change and so you have a our in around and and is is not going to show people what fast would use capable of but but that they can that they themselves can effectively erase it yeah times of 5 along the time that the younger users of picking it up a lot better embracing the GGS um and the push equal and oftentimes words that had no experience with access databases that all of deftly doing a lot better with understanding the concept sequel concepts in the approach sequel databases and and and so that that's so we can got very top heavy into the sea near level of our company but so this younger generation of things things or things things a definite changing in his love energy going on and with regards to the applications we we're developing and in this is to know that there's a and the items that Vladimir and then that was touchdown is a new tools of those with a specific purpose in mind and I'm applying an enterprise solution to something very specific often it it's is not is not the best solution and so is not so now in our case been so identified 3 types of course Chris users within our own company the the 1st programmers of developers is the smallest group out of my head up a team of developers we do application development that distributes these applications the idea to distribute them across the company to facilitate the movement of data visualization and access to information and so this was group programmers and developers building applications the 2nd group is your your analysts they might get involved with them in the the PG admin interface perhaps the command line like in the hands of it does sequel and creating it to queries um for additional tables variables of available for the the remainder of the the the the colleagues to kind of digest using up medical or yes or other applications we might build for them and then the final and the final category of the identified is basically everyone else and this is the 1st that actually using put a sequel without even knowing it so you might have that little adds a layer button within desktop GIS application and and they don't know that it's coming from the west was sequel background and nor do they care so it doesn't really matter but the fact is that they are using data that is current is shared by everyone and it's so it's it's a bit of a good thing to do just that practical so the GS that we using is of course was equal portions of the map server going on now and I'm not into to see what you so could do with us and we using overlays to at this this Byzantine art limited in any way to these and go into that a little bit more on later on it's 1 of the beauties of of embracing the open source of so the foster she set up is that you can really makes an option that kind of you to everyone you know really set or stuck to too many solutions to the speed of change on a daily basis really bad for us and we're position to do that because you know projects so so different but we can embrace different different things so there is a small amount of code commander surprisingly informative visualization of this particular code is in place to and this is really a heat map layer and and seen any methylethyl there would be a quite popular since we trend in way the moment for everyone to be doing all Google's libraries has been released the mobile and application of the heat maps that are going on there I can be actually use this but if used correctly and can produce provider very informative visualization so the colors here and then is interested simply but I think the the the heat there's actually declared about this but so I put you're all I'm pointing at the the JJ adjacent and the thing that is all the G adjacent format and then simply getting the style and
the results back from that and then
the do need to the extent of this particular so we're looking at so the results of this and this information we can see that this is a heat map of particularly this is a case of a heat map of the uh married aggressive at project we were involved in in Rio de Janeiro Brazil and but it is all was contamination things contaminants in concern is and this is vinyl chloride and to show that some missing we've got that in the standard kind of web interface logo the home button this scale by our love along a bunch of buttons that kind of in Dave's that can be retracted and she got some boards the logo from 1 of my favorite artist pulled a view of given shown to just now but so you can move point really is you can have a look fun but since I'm a did the client exactly what the native also implemented various tools so that people can change the are the cells lies um and the contaminants and concerned with regards to the heat maps of the chain is according to a contaminant so cont according to also size all the different topics that you can apply that what is
all in a typical web mapping applications that are just like to show you how we've incorporated D 3 into the into the application very excited about the D 3 library could is really opened up a lot of things with regards to charting the cross-section tools and at university I I did love SCG and its into kind of fizzle out because the browser supports and then the and that is uh in his library of free really picked it up and breathe life back into it so was very excited to see the library and was available to us so just run this on quickly but before got a tool sets use this another really beautiful part about the open source of the action is is is this so many things available these containers here and decide which it's and expands its available from a hegemon called my but to become cheaper to and from the EPA Ponzi OpenLab group and he's got a bunch of great which is the can apply used and in much the like so around through
it OK I'm so that there when this can
be a closed and moved about and so on so forth it in half to you can accept and still we don't have to use the model we can use another product if you like it's just as the again easy to mix and match slide bodily legends are we turning on a ground layer here can use a custom tool that we built from the D 3 tool coming selected a bunch of locations and get time series plots about
this particular time series and its personnel at various depths and for the Tricord chloro each keen on the contaminant of concern and but there is a drop down the to changes like this and in which case it makes a call to the database which post-classical back in database and regenerates the D 3 being displayed as you mouse over it the the results
coming back it's uh just simply say Scalable Vector Graphics is a cross-section tall user can dynamically generates and the cross section using the map
and again D 3 and churns out the values of all the data is held in the press was conceivable backend database again the user is able to choose a contaminant concerned this gets displayed on the the the borings in the um screens and then you're able to identify the lithology use and you can go ahead and click on any of the of the points to get a time series data need an idea of how that contaminant has performed at certain locations over time so I
can be changed in size than I got a google google base not running at the moment as the base layer again I can be changed the of so that particular 1 of time which to
pull goes by mass and is well fantastic work of his stuff is so she got a library of 4
and the MAC got his icons on my search for the Linux quasar consumer Linux machine on right this is another 1 the 3 applications it's a static cross-section this time you're able to and the control of the pathology on a little bit better using and say the some of the house of the software we can begin think Inkscape search and we can we can draw the the the topology on there and then again you got a time series not the bottom and identify the results according to that I
whereas the will be on sometimes coming to an end as user considerations for our company got very specific use cases Sony the once a cross section that you want to see vinyl chloride data will this 3 contaminants of concern and so we don't really need to worry about every use case because you very specific situation come and so for us is more important to understand the client needs and and really it is and to to provide a kind with a simple intuitive and user experience and for the ability to get at the data that they need in this very few steps as possible but without the story of the client to and severe refused to use any of web mapping applications we built an interface with simply 1 button and his response was to following engineer directly and ask for an e-mail so it's so again is data about you know what what the client was and and their level of comfort with technology in its understanding that so as much as we would like to I embrace said my bosses best practice with the D 3 library with colors and use the other color Brewer and so on so forth oftentimes the client has the last say with regards to because want displayed on their applications but so far so G is a solution of which way do we run out for those of you who missed the pulsar guys reference there is much discussion between Dr. lechon attend think and and Diane at Caroline's mom as to which way she should run towards away from the light on that was a question in our company and really was an do do we go for there's no marketing here it is a gray area I'm doing jumping into this and you do on this path and as far as I'm concerned believe the hype and it's it's it's a really great move to do and if there's anyone here who is kind of toying with the idea of perhaps making this suggestion to go in that direction but highly encourage you to do that and we've just it's just open really open up doors for us and our clients seeing the good results we've turn business we're getting extra kind of look of freedom to mix and match and places a sinner position to respond to clients needs regardless of the hardware software and infrastructure and for me my favorite part is is it's just a bunch of fun to work with it so much fun of this good people is a fantastic community I think just being in the sense that everyone's ready to help and and at the end and the launch of reflected in the company's product and for an upper management that means the money so I really is a few shots reference about
Alexander break you helped us develop a plug-in for q GS a fantastic German based in the Ukraine we have made that available for free on the you Jonas was Driscoll q scatter cost and then a man but he's the person i 1st contacted with regards to training would GIS he also help developed a plugin for q Jess called the dB switcher which helps us working offline and with the purchase of environment and mission material because the Apple Daily and if anyone is interested following on Twitter from acted in the list of and see and I have a few hundreds and causes the 1 is interested i and thank you very much that few mm mm mm mm of thank you for your presentation I have a question about how you configure some of your architecture and and on novice at this so fast so the
question for but so do you study of multiple users in multiple places around the globe essentially are you serving us from different servers that you have to synchronize are you install in 1 postbus database with multiple more 1 this instance with multiple databases within that and then or are you doing that like separate locations that actually and then of
fall that you describe being able to mix and match your your Web stack are you doing that literally by project so would you have those graphs feeding through map server for 1 and then post breast feeding through some other server for another project out of the same database should yes yes you can do so what we do see that you set up the
database for each other projects so the new database not having a 1 client sharing is another class of of the various reasons for that and we're in a transitional period the moment of lobopods had their own so this summer using servers with the pause but we are and we also have a uh that transceiver with them with Rackspace and so we were looking at that I'm pushing more tools that solution could you can the mirror these and service in the east and west coast and I believe they looking at me into Brazil's that works for us to set of expose shots consent of the kind on their own and that's I have a but no they they will have their own several out to all their mind as the use use also the your your 2nd question i so yeah yeah and and now we do have multiple instances of the postprocessed up here on the local server we also have much movement of documentation that needs to go on to refining the levels of of to support is on high speeds transfer speeds and but for the company-wide collaborations depend on the project if it is uh projects and by nature which is using many of our groups which dispersed across the community that would lend itself a lot better to being on the on on the cloud based service that we all the users can collaborate and mostly on that I the 2nd question yes depending on the project again and for me it's all about trying new things every every every don't want try it you know this trial should see what it can do this find out with annotations are but and not all projects lend themselves to that given the time frame of this very short time frame more funding and we might have to
just kind of replicates or existing 1 them was trying to make improvements some updates do things better get and best practice in but really no it is very easy to and it sometimes you don't even need a massive back and if you if your data is not heavy just use that burger front
front and form from organized as know the reason can do lots of battle binds nicely together with some with which crests and and uh leaflets views that's and giving them the Google Maps we do a lot of pro bono work at google google
map interface on the API and I find that is all I enjoy working that as well so this is so the possibilities you don't have to stick to 1 stack in our unit of anyone tell you that you have to read this but I mean for me 1 of the issues that you're coming here is that assuming shiny objects you need to maybe pick 1 or 2 I think I'll stick with that so we leaning towards being more Python orientated how also bullish shiny objects that have become job associated I should probably go with blinkers on them and get down but yet we will we embrace the GenGO looking a bottle flask and as a civilization the ones that google google maps and leave it certainly looks nice and light weights and to something you throw up really quickly and and again fun fun the bottom
1 other but this is sounds to me like we're
describing here due to every every project scannable 1 one-off is there any thought about China how come up with some kind of internal product that you can use to roll out rapidly did provides 80 % a function I should we we do have a templates that were running out for example an effect and as soon as that
the project is it sets up with with accounting that funding thing set up and that triggers a response you created a database by the
politics name and it has a and affinities with GS set up with a a kind of dummy data of point line and polygon so that users are able to discover the reason that with user can answer that that's all that's
available as soon as that put it is initiated and ready use on and there's absolutely no work in doing that is so users have access to that project we get a bunch of user names and and the characters you our set up for the project set them up as users on a particular point in their full access to the project and they are ready to go with a the log in to way web-based mapping application now given the nature of produce yes there are a lot that can lower the can be repeated from project to project but so you get somebody discounting sideways and say hey we need we need to capture a bunch of photos for this particular form of you and I mining project to something and we we might get our guys to go on fly some drawing coverage is something they need special aerials or something so it is a little bit of customization has to has to take place in the getting a template which is able to fully address each project is
1 of finding that a realistic solution but suddenly get 80 % away yes it's unit of it here was just 1 if you could speak a bit to the mobile segment of euro workflows used for a Liberia's collection that sort of thing of so what you're platform of choice and years develop yourself yes that's layer and that I've ever further developing in an Android but that's not really a um it is not much I think if you do on building mobile and
applications it has to be available in again whatever it is really is the clients if client once it on and on and on an iPad they get on my and so we we can do that I and I prefer the Android just because you can build a p sets in that our on within minutes and if there are any changes required as a slightly more complicated with the with the apple and development of but yet we we we build that and again the the beauty of the mobile applications that's pulling from the exact same back-end and Bush was sequel database so that we got people with desktops as an looking at the
database and web applications that are using the same data as a people desktop and change if they change their data changes in the web application and look
tables at the mobile applications pulling from so when it opened the application they can see and perhaps the data depending on the
password and then into the the whole of John and Paul and he sees the boring locations in zone 3 because that's what he needs to address today and then at the same sample can into data and get submitted to another table is tables can all be consumed by Web applications by and it but a local desktop products simply by going directly into pose questions in PG and 3 or the command line interface you can see these things being updated in real time so yeah that that that's what I have I to question here and it the year cross-section tool that you showed there uh is that some many developed in-house yes that they have any plans of source that at this time it's really and it's it's it's a lot of them were often it's complicated but I mean we've we've got a medium as system allows talking about the environment Davis it has on the table with the the depths of the the topic casing bottom casing the wells the and Y there of and you've got some of them the screen doubles and then we do a top screen screen divide that to get the central or central location to on which to plot the consuming of concern but if you plot that in recent suggest the pesticides and the color depending on the on the break that they had a short answer some sort embedding on but short answer no and I consider putting it out is that's the
sense of being and how would consider because I think it we get so much help from the open source community and like you getting back the that you just plug in supposedly like to do
the same thing and so on that's something we could possibly look into doing and the difficult years that each project has it's slightly different like the will be slightly different names finding difference of it always is a bit of a customized had you have to do so it it's very difficult and then you will all the problems associated with cross cross cross-section there's so assessing their which of just the
extent to either side of the chance that that you grabbing locations from so your untrained user will go ahead and grab you know like you call automata house and then it you my database and so you have things projecting above the ground level and so that companies to be used by trained hands as speak but uh it's certainly is something to look at I think possibly logistical nightmare trying to make it standardized as anything but perhaps something to put out and get get people's input in and out of hear some some help with that would be a good thing it thank you thank