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25:21 FOSS4G, Open Source Geospatial Foundation (OSGeo) English 2015

OGC GeoPackage in practice: Implementing a new OGC specification with open-source tools

GeoPackage is a new encoding standard created by the Open Geospatial Consortium as a modern alternative to formats like SDTS and Shapefile. Using SQLite, the single-file relational database can hold raster imagery, vector features and metadata. GeoPackage is an ideal data container for mobile devices such as smartphones, IoT devices, wearables, and even automobiles. We have created a few open-source tools to manipulate this exciting technology in a way that is useful to the geospatial community. Our goal with the GeoPackage specification implementations is simple: Create GeoPackages quickly and reliably while maintaining standard conformance. The single biggest issue we have faced is the speed in which large amounts of imagery can be disseminated to the end user. Data standards reliability was also a concern because we found many vendors interpreted the specification differently or to suite their own needs. Finally, the main problem GeoPackage was created was to solve was interoperability. We set out to create an implementation that would guide other parties towards making a data product that would function as well on one platform as it would on a completely different platform. Our initial implementation of the GeoPackage specification was created using Python 2.7.x. The software design was intended for command line use only in a script-friendly environment where tiling speed was paramount. The Gdal2tiles.py script was improved upon by harnessing the Python multiprocessing library so that multiple tile jobs could run simultaneously. The other piece of the workflow, creating GeoPackages, would be a separate development effort from scratch called tiles2gpkg parallel.py. In tiles2gpkg parallel.py, we implemented multiprocessing by writing to separate SQLite databases in parallel and then merging the tiled data sets into one compact database. This implementation worked well and increased the performance of producing these data sets; however, the command line design means that all but the most technically adept users would struggle to use the tools. With the initial Python implementation getting early-adopters a preview of GeoPackage in the short term, our team set out to make a production-quality GeoPackage API that could satisfy all user needs. Named Software to Aggregate Geospatial Data or SWAGD, we created a robust library for tiling raster data, packaging raster data stores into GeoPackages, and viewing either the raw tiles OR the finished GeoPackage products within a map viewer. Additionally, a Geopackage verification tool was created to foster community adoption. For more information, see our Github site here: https://github.com/GitHubRGI/swagd. Many open-source tools are being leveraged on the SWAGD project, including many common build and continuous integration tools including Github, TravisCI, WaffleIO, and Coverity. Using proven software development mechanisms like unit testing and code reviews we now have a consistent, reproducible, and inclusive GeoPackage implementation. We have an aggressive list of future capability that we would like to develop including ad-hoc routing on a mobile device, vector tile data sets, and even 3D support.
  • Published: 2015
  • Publisher: FOSS4G, Open Source Geospatial Foundation (OSGeo)
  • Language: English
21:00 FOSS4G, Open Source Geospatial Foundation (OSGeo) English 2015

GeoPackage and how open source is changing the way governments think about standards

Government is a great sector in which to use geospatial technology to solve problems at scale. This geospatial technology typically has varying degrees of quality and cost as you would expect in any market. Combine the two with the fact that the ecosystem of systems, large and small, is very diverse, creating varying challenges. With this in mind, governments are now realizing how their decisions impact their future capabilities. In this talk, we will discuss GeoPackage, an OGC encoding standard and the challenges it was created to solve. We were encountering a problem with how data was being created, disseminated, and used. With the rise of mobile computing devices raster images in various native formats were being disseminated to a wider audience to use and visualize information. These raster images were typically enormous and uncompressed in some cases and compressed but painfully slow in other cases. Computing resource availability varied across computing environments. Some end users were converting these large raster images to more friendly or optimized formats to do their daily jobs. This leads to massive data reprocessing efforts across many different areas, all of which are mostly avoidable if the source would simply produce relevant, fast-performing data in a format that satisfies the broadest audience. Many vendors have tried to solve this problem with their own custom or proprietary solutions. Full stack vendor solutions come with hefty price tags in the form of licenses, support contracts, or sometimes both. These solutions can and often do solve the immediate problem however they have side effects that reach far beyond the immediate. Vendor-specific technology islands therefore appear, beholden to a certain proprietary implementation simply because it would be too expensive or too involved to do otherwise. Proprietary data created for one system did not necessarily work in another system. Tools needed to be created, re-created, or modified to handle formats that did not work on their target platform. Data interoperability between geospatial groups is the first casualty. Glue code is then created to bridge the gap between the offending incompatible data and the desired data format of the new end-user. Government entities are quickly realizing that this makes no sense. Extra processing causes bottlenecks in downstream workflows and can quickly cause untenable requirements in areas like disaster recovery. Incompatibility in data makes it even harder to share crucial information between government organizations and non-government organizations alike. It is with these types of open standards that governments can maintain the control of their data creation and management. GeoPackage was created to free data from the constrictions of proprietary formats and is already paying dividends to government groups. Current GeoPackage development tools will be discussed as well as how early adopters are leveraging this new data specification and subsequent tools to push geospatial products to the end user.
  • Published: 2015
  • Publisher: FOSS4G, Open Source Geospatial Foundation (OSGeo)
  • Language: English
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