Great Open Source Map Tools for Web Developers

I'm on holiday, but I saw this discussion over Slashdot named Great Open Source Map Tools For Web Developers.

Their summary: "InfoWorld's Peter Wayner surveys the rich ecosystem of free maps, free data, and free libraries that give developers excellent alternatives to Google Maps. 'The options are expanding quickly as companies are building their own databases for holding geographical data, their own rendering tools for building maps, and their own software for embedding the maps in websites. ... Working with these tools can be a bit more complex than working with a big provider like Google. Some of these companies make JavaScript tools for displaying the maps, and others just deliver the raw tiles that the browsers use to assemble the maps. Working with the code means making decisions about how you want to assemble the pieces — now within your control. You can stick with one simple library or combine someone else's library with tiles you produce yourself.'"

Like APB pointed out, the linked article got a few things wrong, like "OSGeo is a collection of open source packages for creating maps and displaying them in browsers."

Madrona: A Software Framework for Effective Place-based Decision Making

While we mentioned it in a PR, it's via Perrygeo that I learned more about the open source Madrona software framework for effective place-based decision making.

What it is? "Madrona offers a flexible set of software building blocks and design patterns that allow you to create cutting-edge tools for decision support and spatial planning at any scale, along with step-by-step tutorials, an open community to assist you along the way, and a full range of support services to help ensure a successful outcome."

Its building blocks: "Madrona is built on libraries such as Django, PostGIS, JQuery, OpenLayers and Google Earth, which provide all of the essential building blocks for developing modern spatial web applications. [...] Madrona builds on these core building blocks to create new ones that are designed specifically for planning and decision support. Mix and match them to meet your specific needs."

Notemap it: Online Map Redlining

A critical need among map users is usually due to annotations and redlining. People want to take notes and share maps easily. This is more and more a need in a social network driven timeframe. has been developed aiming at this. It is a small webGIS designed to draw lines and polygons on the map, with customized style. It also let the user to add markers, notes, icons and more. Once the maps has been saved a sharable personal URL is given back to the user. Notemap is built upon OpenStreetMap, OpenLayers and Dojo.
A brief explanation of the concept can be found at:

OpenLayers 2.12 Released

Just announced, the popular open source library OpenLayers version 2.12 has been released.

From the announcement: "OpenLayers 2.12 offers great new features and improvements in various areas:

  • A new CSS-customizable zoom control
  • Sensible projection defaults to ease the creation and configuration of maps
  • Tile caching for offline use
  • CSS-based tile animation
  • UTFGrid support
  • Improved image request management (tile queue)
  • Fractional zooming for tiled layers (a.k.a. client zoom)"

Quantum GIS (QGIS) 1.8.0 Released

A lot of geoblogs mentioned the release of Quantum GiS 1.8.0. QGIS is one of the most mature and widely used open source desktop GIS software, with tons of useful community-contributed plugins. Version 1.8.0 is clearly a major update of this already excellent GIS software.

The list of new features is quite long, here's a few of them:

  • QGIS Browser: a stand alone app and a new panel in QGIS. The browser lets you easily navigate your file system and connection based (PostGIS, WFS etc.) datasets, preview them and drag and drop items into the canvas.
  • DB Manager: the DB manager is now officially part of QGIS core. You can drag layers from the QGIS Browser into DB Manager and it will import your layer into your spatial database.
  • New symbol layer types: Line Pattern Fill, Point Pattern Fill.
  • Terrain Analysis Plugin: a new core plugin was added for doing terrain analysis - and it can make really good looking colored relief maps.
  • Ellipse renderer: a new symbol layer type to render ellipse shapes (and also rectangles, triangles, crosses) by specifying width and height.
  • Support for nesting projects within other projects: embed content from other project files.
  • Layer grouping: Option to add layers to selected or active group.
  • Customization: Allows setting up simplified QGIS interface by hiding various components of main window and widgets in dialogs.
  • Action Tool: accessible from the map tools toolbar. It allows you to click on a vector feature and execute an action.
  • Pan To Selected tool: Pans the map to selected feature(s); does not change the zoom level.
  • Updated CRS selector dialog
  • Legend-independent drawing order: The order seen in the legend can be different from the display order.
  • Other features include: MSSQL Spatial Support, Expression based labelling, Heatmap tool, WFS support in QGIS Server, and much more

Head to the release notes (link above) to learn more and see screenshots.

Open Source 3D 'Point Cloud Library' and Open Perception Foundation

Via the OSGeo Discuss list I learned about, an independent non-profit foundation, focused on advancing the development and adoption of open source software for 2D and 3D processing of sensory data. Currently the main output of the foundation is the open source Point Cloud Library.

On the Point Cloud Library: "The Point Cloud Library (PCL) is a standalone, large scale, open project for 3D point cloud processing. The PCL framework contains numerous state-of-the art algorithms including filtering, feature estimation, surface reconstruction, registration, model fitting and segmentation, as well as higher level tools for performing mapping and object recognition."

On Open Perception itself: "We are an independent organization created with the purpose of supporting the development, distribution, and adoption of open source software for 2D/3D processing of sensory data, with applications in research, education, and product development."

GeoMOOSE 2.6 Released

It's been over two years since we mentioned the open source GeoMOOSE project, which just announced the release of version 2.6.

From the Why GeoMOOSE page: "GeoMOOSE excels at creating a useful web-based GIS environment for those who need something that works from the first download. The GeoMOOSE demo contains a fully operating web-based parcel application. It can render, investigate, and even edit layers without the need to write a single line of code. [...]

Beyond rendering, gaining information on a dataset is an important every day use of a Web GIS. GeoMOOSE includes all of the basic tools for traditional selection, identification, and searching on a dataset. However, GeoMOOSE’s functionality is not limited by those services. To power that functionality we have developed a power service-based architecture that users can use to create their own custom scripts in any language.

As of the 2.6 version, GeoMOOSE includes new powerful vector capabilities. While not seen in the default demo, GeoMOOSE can work with a WFS-T server to create, edit, and delete features in a dataset. The styling is defined in the GeoMOOSE mapbook and the layers can even be printed to a PDF!"

OpenLayers 3D project (using Cesium WebGL globe)

There is a new project on Github that has made a 3D view for OpenLayers!  It integrates AGI's new open source WebGL globe (Cesium) and uses the OpenLayers drawing & navigation tools to interact with the globe.  Support for WMS layers and feature importing are next on the to-do list.

A live demo can be found here:

The source code is available here.

Open Source Geonews: HSLayers, Proxy4OWS, the Worst of OpenStreetMap, AP moving to TileMill + Leaftlet, and more

Still in my geonews catching up process, here's the open source-related geonews not shared yet.

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