open source

MyGeoCloud ties PostGIS, MapServer, TileCache and OpenLayers together is a new OpenSoure project and a web service. It offers geospatial storage, WMS and WFS-T services for accessing data and transactions. Besides that it offers a built-in web mapping client and online editing of data. But MyGeoCloud is also a platform on which you can build your own location based web applications using a JavaScript API.

The core component of MyGeoCloud is the PostGIS database software, which is used for storage and geospatial operations. MapServer is used for map rendering and for tile caching TileCache is used. OpenLayers is used for the web map clients. The WFS-T service is implemented in the code base.

The goal is a all-in-one solution for storage, geospatial operations, geospatial web services and web mapping.

Test the project here: and get the source code here:

PostGIS vs Oracle Spatial: PostGIS Wins

Unless you're new here, you've heard of PostGIS several times. It's really hard to find documentation about spatial database benchmarks since, if I'm not mistaken, proprietary software licenses often prohibit publicly sharing such benchmarks (am I right?). And I guess there's at least one good reason for this: doing fair benchmarking is difficult to accomplish. But here's one (currently available) benchmarking report comparing PostGIS (PostgreSQL) and Oracle Spatial.

From the conclusions of the 46-pages report: "From the experimental results that we saw, we can conclude that Postgres performs better than Oracle 11g both in the Cold Phase and Warm Phase. Though in few queries Oracle 11g performed better but on the whole Postgres overpowered Oracle 11g. In the warm phase in 3 out of 4 queries Postgres performed significantly well, from this we can conclude that Postgres has better automatic memory management capabilities and page replacement policies. [...] Since Postgres uses the underlying GEOS (Geometry Engine - Open Source) library functions for implementing the geometric operations whereas Oracle 11g implements them on its own, and since in majority Postgres performs well, we can conclude that GEOS geometric algorithms are more efficiently designed than Oracle 11g. And also Postgres planner is more efficiently designed to take advantage of any available indexes to use in queries for achieving better performance whereas in Oracle 11g we saw that we have to specify them explicitly through functions."

Here's what Paul Ramsey of the PostGIS fame has to say about it: "Methodologically there are two obvious issues: one is that the Oracle database was on Windows while the PostGIS database was on Linux; the other is that neither database got any tuning, they were both installed and run with default parameters. However, this is one of the nicer comparisons I have read: concise, focussed and with enough technical detail to evaluate what's going on."

Ten Things You Need to Know about Open Source Geospatial Software

All Points Blog offers an entry named Ten Things You Need to Know about Open Source Geospatial Software.

Here's the list, and head to the entry to read further explanations:

  1. Open source geospatial software refers to GIS, GPS, spatial data management and related developer tools and end user applications delivered with an open source license.
  2. An open source license must meet the definition developed by the Open Source Initiative.
  3. Open source software is written by a community rather than a development team associated with a single software company. [...] Some do this as part of their “day jobs,” while others volunteer.
  4. The Opposite of Open Source is Closed Source or Proprietary Software, not Commercial Software
  5. Open Source Software is “Just” Software
  6. OSGeo is the Body for Open Source Geospatial Software
  7. Open Source and Open Standards-based Software are not the Same Thing
  8. Implementing Open Source Software May Cost Money
  9. Software developers and software users mix and match open source and proprietary software all the time. Esri’s ArcGIS, for example, includes the open source GDAL (raster handling) library. 
  10. Open source licenses are designed for software, not data. There are other licenses appropriate for data.

Batch Geonews: China Leading the Geospatial Industry, Geospatial World Forum 2012, NoSQL, ESRI at the Government, and much more

Here's the recent geonews in batch mode.

From the open source / open data front:

From the Google front:

In the everything-else category:

In the maps category:

TinyOWS 1.0 Released: Open Source High Performance WFS-T Server

Via Daniel I learned about the 1.0 release TinyOWS, an open source high performance WFS-T server.

From their website: "WFS service and therefore GML output streams are becoming widely available in quite common SDI architectures. The transactional WFS profile (WFS-T) provides ability to give a writable access on each feature stored on a given WFS server, through a standardized Web interface, in an OGC compliant way. Exchanged data volumes can easily become huge when data is retrieved, thus a high performance WFS-T service is now a real need to provide a good Quality of Service in web-based GIS applications."

Microsoft Launches Turning Places into Bounding Boxes

Via James I learned about Microsoft's launch of OpenGeocoder, a geocoding tool using bounding boxes for places. What's nice it that Microsoft gives back all resulting data to the public domain. There's a JSON API too.  

From the about: "What is this? OpenGeocoder is an experiment in creating and serving geocodable results. Places are turned in to bounding boxes. Large datasets, processing and geocoding software is skipped. Instead a simple mapping between strings and boxes is used. All data submitted is placed in the public domain for anyone to use.

How do I use OpenGeocoder? Search using the text box. If your result is not found you are given the ability to add it. Drag the rectangle corners around until the rectangle covers the place you searched for and then click 'Save'. Your data is placed in to the public domain for anyone to use."

OpenJUMP GIS 1.5.1 is shipping - with reliable CORE and valued PLUS edition

The past week OpenJUMP team has released OpenJUMP 1.5.1. As usual we added functionality and fixed bugs - since our last release. However, we made a hopefully user friendly decision: we will distribute a CORE and a PLUS version.

The CORE version is the usual OpenJUMP version. The PLUS version will contain OpenJUMP plus a number of useful plugins. For instance Sextante for raster analysis (still Version 0.6), CadPlans PrintingPlugin for… well.. printing,  DXF driver, PostGIS connector (for writing to PostGIS), Graph Analysis and Topology tools - that can be used for Quality Assurance, the Chart Plugin for creating charts, Beanshell editor etc.

Both versions come as handy zip (all platforms), install exe (Win) or jar-based installer (for Mac and Linux).

For the MacOSX users, we finally fixed a long pending bug, and saving layers is now possible again, without cumbersome procedures.

to download directly check here:
if you just want to know more:
(and don't forget our wiki… for documentation etc.)

Please note that some of the additional plugins are not yet translated and that we renamed some menu functions and moved some into other menus. Save as SVG is   now only available in PLUS as it required some special other functions. Currently we are working on documentation so you can more easily find them again.

some more highlights since OpenJUMP 1.4.1:
- new Fill-Polygon-Tool, an editing tool to create a polygon from a closed area
- new Noder Plugin : nodes/splits lines and polygons
- lots of new icons
- new Buffer Plugin including all options of JTS API
- more Attribute Calculator buttons/functions
- new Geometry Conversion tool
- added new options to the BlendLineStrings tool
- new AdvancedMeasurePlugin with more capabilities
- when closing OpenJUMP and non-saved in-memory layers exist a dialog pops up and data can be saved in shapefile or jml format
- SQL queries: saving, refreshing, editing, and max features
- a new Union/Dissolve/Merge plugin unifying old Union and Dissolve
- reworked and improved Auto-Assign PlugIn (takes now negative numbers and decimals)
- … more can be found in the changes.txt file

Switzerland in 3D using WebGL

The demo version of a potential 3D Viewer for - the geo-portal of the Swiss Confederation - is online at until July 31, 2012.

The 3D Viewer is based on the open source globe “OpenWebGlobe” using WebGL.

The scene convers entire Switzerland and is based on high resolution data from swisstopo: SWISSIMAGE, DHM25 and swissBOUNDARIES3D as well as extracts from swissBUILDINGS3D.

In addition, textured 3D objects from FHNW Muttenz and EPFL Lausanne are available. Outside the area with high-resolution data, Blue Marble from “NASA’s Earth Observatory” is used.

The total amount of texture and geometry data exceeds 2 TB and is being handled using the cloud from Amazon Web Services.

This demo has been developed by FHNW - University of Applied Sciences and Arts Northwestern Switzerland, camptocamp SA, the Federal Office of Topography, Switzerland, and


screenshot from



Batch Geonews: 3D OpenLayers, MapQuest APIs for Android and iOS, Pitney Bowes' Geosk, and much more

Here's the recent geonews in batch mode.

From the open source and open data front:

In the everything-else category:

In the maps category:

GeoNode 1.1 Released

We first mentioned it two years ago, and now the open source GeoNode 1.1 has been released.

What GeoNode is? "GeoNode is an open source platform that facilitates the creation, sharing, and collaborative use of geospatial data. The project aims to surpass existing spatial data infrastructure solutions by integrating robust social and cartographic tools. At its core, the GeoNode has a stack based on GeoServer, Django, and GeoExt that provides a platform for sophisticated web browser spatial visualization and analysis. Atop this stack, the project has built a map composer and viewer, tools for analysis, and reporting tools."

And what version 1.1 has for us: "

  • Improved documentation
  • Support for GeoServer 2.1, including:
    • GeoWebCache integration
    • direct Shapefile-to-PostGIS import from the GeoNode upload form (thanks to Matt Bertrand)
    • speed improvements to the way GeoNode manages GeoServer configuration
  • Support for GeoNetwork 2.6
  • Various UI improvements, including:
    • a new user profile page listing the user’s layers and maps
    • a “Get feature info” tool to identify feature attributes when viewing maps
    • improved map transitions and performance
  • Increased coverage in GeoNode’s automated test suite
  • Better feedback from admin tools (thanks to Ariel Núñez)
  • Installer for Ubuntu (thanks to Ariel Núñez)
  • Numerous bug fixes thanks to support from partners at last year’s roadmapping summit
  • Translations in…"
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