Tag Archives: conference

3D GeoInfo Conference Summary

Here's parts of my talks notes of the 3D GeoInfo conference. Hope some elements are useful to some of you.

General notes

  • The whole conference was more of the research / academics type than the commercial providers one
  • "Glocal": global and local at the same time
  • General decline in conference attendance: different ways of networking and training, economic context
  • Next 3D GeoInfo will be in Istanbul in November

Talk notes


Opening talk

Opening talk, Jacynthe Pouliot

  • 7th 3D GeoInfo conference
  • First time in North America
  • The 7th 3D GeoInfo was part of the Global Geospatial Conference (13th GSDI), which had about 700 participants, vs about 60 specifically for the 3D GeoInfo track
    • Thanks to the global conference, the exhibition hall was pretty big had lots of booths
  • The opening talk concluded with a speech by University Laval faculty dean

Modeling 3D topographic space against indoor navigation requirements

Brown, Germany

  • Requirements for indoor navigation for users
  • Use cases
    • Use cases such as routing to single or multiple destinations
    • Scenarios, considering access controls to locations (rooms)
    • Considering obstacles
  • Existing models: CityGML, IFC, 3d graphics formats... All have severe limitations for indoor navigation (none support navigation constraints)
  • Prohibited maneuver: physically possible, but prohibited, such as a turn on a one way street
  • Semantic and navigation constraints models for indoor navigation
  • Future work to be on extending existing model to remove current limitations for indoor navigation

Indoor localization using wifi fingerprinting for LBS applications

Sohn, York University

  • Augmented city, virtual and physical spaces become part of the same continuum, not two separate dimensions anymore
  • Using the Google Earth plugin for visualization
  • Linking real life webcams with live virtual world models, pretty interesting
  • Wifi fingerprinting requires multiple access points to enhance location accuracy
  • Using both wifi fingerprinting and wifi trilateration
    • Using Received Signal Strength (RSS)
  • Went Technical talk on location accuracies
    • Correctness rates of 80-90%

Enhancing visibility of labels in 3D navigation maps

Vaaraniemi, BMW

  • Visual presentation
  • Labels in 3D are often a problem when they're behind objects
  • Solutions includes transparency, wire framing
  • Goals: readability, mapping to element, spatial orientation
  • Draw behind and draw before doesn't work
  • Semi-transparent approaches
  • Five concepts: baseline, cut-aways (bad!), transparency aura (confusing too), glowing labels, glowing roads (best in my opinion)
  • They implemented prototypes and benchmarking, in OpenGL 3
  • During questions: how does it scale in mobile devices (instead of just cars)
  • During questions: labels at different scales, how does it deal with generalization
  • During questions: research regarding bending the faraway part of the map to better show labels

Semantic 3D modeling of multi-utility networks

Becker, Germany

Missed most of the talk.

  • Energy demands
  • Need: homogeneous representation, 3D topological and functional model, support for hierarchies and interdependencies

Integrating scale and space in 3d city models

Ledoux, Netherlands

  • 5D: space plus time plus scale
    • Integrated into a 5D hypercube
  • Hypercube advantages: consistency, queries, data management
  • Generalizations processes
  • With the cube, there are no precomputed scales (18 for Google Maps and others), the cube is sliced at the requested scale each time
  • Slicing the space-scale cube non-horizontally in the scale
    • Interesting, automatically provides details near and low details away
  • Multiple dimensions slicing
  • Problem: gigantic storage capacity required
    • They'll try putting the cube in database

Generalization and viz of 3D building models in CityGML

Ullah Baig, Malaysia

  • Generalization: reduces data volume, complexity and unnecessary details
  • We're at semantic-based generalization for 3D building models... It evolved quite a lot in the past decade
  • Presented generalization techniques and algorithms

Modeling an application domain extension of CityGML in UML

Van Den Brink , Netherlands

  • Extended IMGeo to 3D
    • CityGML was too generic and IMxxx is rich on semantics, but 2D only
  • Data providers in Netherlands will have, by law, to use the IMGeo model
    • Mandatory, with optional elements
  • Application domain extension = ADE
  • They are at the conceptual stage
    • Next step is test the model

Keynote: Registration, detection and classification in point clouds in urban scenes

Ioannis Stavos, city university of new york

  • Lidar can use the differences in intensity of the return of the signal
  • Accuracy of 5mm
  • Point clustering with planar segmentation
  • Inherent problems at borders
  • Can infer lines and polygons from the point clusters
  • Presentation went technical
  • Range-intensity registration
  • Overlaying textures from 2D pictures on the 3D model
  • Doing Fourier transform to distinguish cars from trees within the lidar point cloud
  • Filling hidden parts (from object in front) using repeating patterns
  • Members of his team went to work for Google
  • Accuracy is about 85-90%
  • This was not really a keynote, the topic could have been in a common track... Nothing high level

Volumetric algorithms for single tree delineation towards A fully automated process for the generation of forests

Buecken, Germany

  • Visually impressive
  • Accuracy of over 90%
  • Excellent presentation despite the lack of notes

A service-based concept for camera control in 3D geovirtual environments

Klimke, Germany

  • So many challenges for 3D environments
    • Including heterogeneity, massive storage, updates, accuracy, etc...
  • Thick clients vs thin clients... Thin are required for mobile devices
  • Proposing a camera control service
  • One of the Goals: transfers part of the complexity and computation power required to the thick client instead of the thin client on mobile devices

Representing 3D topography in a DBMS with a star-based data structure


  • Constrained Delaunay tetrahedralisation (TEN)
    • Ten is an analogy to TIN
  • Why TEN: Storage is is simplified, speed up spatial analysis, features are represented, robust implementation, spatial relations between unconnected features explicitly stored
  • Disadvantage of TEN: large database size
    • this talk is about compression of TEN data
  • Attempts were made in the past, but had serious limitations (not topological)
  • They're proposing a powerful 3D data structure
  • Easy to implement in a RDBMS
    • They did it in PostGIS
  • Pretty interesting


Can topological per-culling of faces improve rendering performance of city models in Google Earth?

Ellul, U.K.

  • Removing 3D polygon faces that are hidden from external view and merging those that overlap
    • Saved about 40% of space
    • Display time was about 2x faster
  • Might be significant for mobile devices and for reduced bandwidth situations
  • They're going to use WebGL instead of the Google Earth plugin
  • Google Earth is limited in terms of ingested file size
    • Solution is a tiled-approach... or switch to WebGL!

Revealing the benefits of 3D topology on under-specified geometries in geomorphology

Lowner, Germany

  • Went technical presentation
  • Lack of standard that fits the needs of geomorphology
  • Handling the fuzziness of geomorphological representations

Geometric-semantical consistency validation of CityGML models

Wagner, Germany

  • Pretty technical talk on validating CityGML models
  • Java application with GUI for the CityGML validation and create reports, called CityDoctor

Keynote - Philippe Cantin: building large cities for video games

  • Formerly from Ubisoft
  • CAD, GIS and video games worlds still have a lot to learn from each other
  • The practical components of moving in 3D video games
  • 3D sound spheres and light sources have to be taken into account
  • The main constraint: memory required to load 3D elements... Constantly freeing and loading 3D objects
  • Required collaboration between stakeholders: developer, marketer,, designer, producer, etc
  • Concurrent edition of 3D environments... Like the Hero Engine (game industry)... Boeing did something similar instead of turn-based edition
  • City engine from the University of Zurich
  • Procedural building: instead of creating objects one by one, algorithms build objects such as building based on styles
  • Gaming industry also going in the cloud

Advancing DB4GeO

Kit.edu Breuning, Germany

  • Open source, at least the core
  • Object-oriented DB written in java
  • Seems to have a lot of advanced features
  • Imports exports CityGML data
  • Includes a web-based access using a RESTful architecture
  • Visualization with WebGL
  • Pretty impressive

Glob3 Mobile: an open source framework for designing virtual globes on iOS and Android mobile devices

Santana, Spain

  • It's a virtual globes framework for mobile devices
  • Oriented for iOS and Android, with a common API
    • iOS constraints, Android fragmentation... So nothing is perfect
  • They use a C++ code converter to create java code for their Glob3 engine
  • WebGL scheme
  • Embeddable 3D globe
  • Tiled layer and WMS compliant
  • Showed a demo and seems to work great!
  • Next steps...
    • Html5 and WebGL... Currently runs very well
    • Add 3D models and geometries to the globe
  • Glob3m on glob3 & Ami

Reconstruction of rectilinear building facets

Utrecht university, Lankveld

  • Point-based urban reconstruction
  • Technical presentation
  • Making polygons out of a cloud of points in 2D
  • Seems pretty effective

Reconstruction, storage and application of 2.7D models

Gorte, delft university

  • TIN with vertical walls... 2.7D is between 2.5D and 3D
  • Context is urban hydrology
  • 2.5D DEM with 3D buildings
  • Using the star model
  • Storing TINs in a single table
  • Removing points that are coplanar, then removing colinear middle points

A 3D GIS implementation for realizing 3D network analysis and routing simulation for evacuation purposes

Karas, Turkey

  • Evacuation scenarios
  • Using Oracle Spatial and a java-based 3D GIS, JOGL bindings for OpenGL
  • Supports CityGML, they used for visualization
  • Network analysis all done within Oracle Spatial
  • They built a routing instructions engine, instructions for people getting evacuated

3D Geospatial modeling and visualization for marine environment: the Canadian arctic

Sahlin, Canada

  • The biosphere is essential composed of the marine ecosystem, the land-based is of a small volume in comparison
  • Study in the Beaufort Sea area, near the Mackenzie river delta
    • 560km wide delta, quickly goes to 1km depth
  • Looking at snapshots in time, the temporal component is usually essential to consider in oceanography
  • He found that the best tool for him was GoCAD
    • Table comparing the various options
  • Continuous 3D space not well integrated into 3D GIS modeling tools
  • 3D GIS still have a lot of lacks in terms of 3D spatial analysis comparing to the 2D analysis features
  • Kringing interpolation worked best for them
  • They tried EnterVol for ArcGIS

Keynote: Richard Mongeau - measurements and 3D representations of the territory by land surveyors of the City of Montreal

City of Montreal, Geomatics Division

  • Talk in French but with slides in English... pretty strange since most of the audience can't understand French
  • Land surveyors act... Law that specifies reserved acts for land surveyors
    • Recognized by OIQ
  • 90 colleagues at their Geomatics Division
  • 4120 geodetic points on the Montreal island, passive network
  • Active network of about 12 geodetic locations
  • 3D city model built for the 'Montreal' project done almost a decade ago
    • They significantly update it since then
  • With Bentley, LOD-1 and LOD-2, data is piped directly into CityGML standard
  • Data sometimes comes from photogrammetry
  • They use RhinoTerrain software
  • They also use terrestrial lidar
  • Conveying positional accuracy metadata is crucial, users must know what they have in their hands
  • Finding the sources of errors and data integration issues
  • Lasergrammetry with target for calibration and validation
  • Data customers sometimes ask for centimeter accuracy while they don't really need such accuracy
  • Legal cadastre in 3D, underground, such as the new planetarium project
  • They use Bentley software for sewer networks and water distribution networks
  • They use color coding for representing the various categories of accuracy
  • The level of detail they have for the whole city is impressive
  • They develop a lot of tools with Bentley, which certainly is happy to work with such a customer
  • They also do some dynamic data acquisition, such as mobile lidar
  • They have an automated tree inventory
  • They use a lot of various software, Bentley, Oracle Spatial, FME, ArcGIS, 3D PDF, and even Google Earth
  • They have technical standards and even a 3D ethics charter!
  • Apparently, not that many municipalities have so integrated 3D systems
  • Excellent and funny talk, but since it was in French, he lost a lot of attendees

A 3 steps Procedure for enriching augmented reality games with CityGML 3D semantic modeling

Zamyadi, Canada

  • Energy Wars mobile game
    • Location-based scenario and uses augmented reality
    • This was a Geiode-funded project
  • Absence of a methodology for AR-oriented 3D data modeling
  • Their 3 steps: reverse engineering, enriching with 3D features, mapping to CityGML
  • One of the main reason for choosing CityGML, is for interoperability
  • Using a CityGML ADE (application domain extension)
  • This is mostly at the UML stage, the impact on the modeling process has not been tested yet

Implementation of a National 3D standard: Netherlands

Zlatanova, Netherlands

  • Standard named IMGeo, information model geography
  • Integration of CityGML and IMGeo
  • IMGeo 2.0 established in
  • OGC 3DIM adopted their approach
  • Port of Rotterdam uses in some cases physical models (!) to visualize underground 3D
  • Thanks to these efforts, stakeholders can now have "focused 3D ambitions"

Exploring cultural heritage resources in a 3D collaborative environment

Hidalgo, Spain

  • For presentation, analysis and exploration
  • Openwonderland, collaborative virtual world
  • They used "improvise" build-browse-behold java software to build and browse visualizations interactively
    • Demoed
  • Mostly at the conceptual stage - Interface not tested by users yet
  • Speaker not so comfortable in English

OpenBuildingModels - Towards a platform for crowdsourcing virtual 3D cities

Uden, university of Heidelberg

  • OpenStreetMap and the Google 3D Warehouse
  • OSM-3D: 3D globe based on OSM and SRTM-DEM data
  • Prerequisites for 3D VGI have never been this good: Kinect, Photosynth... Low cost hardware and service-based photogrammetry
  • Current issues:
    • No 3D support in OSM's simple data model
    • Not enough tools for users to contribute various 3D information in different LoDs
  • Vision for OpenBuildingModels
    • Free to use repository, with links to OSM
    • There is already multiple 3D models communities out there
      • 3D warehouse, opensceneryx, free3dmodels, shapeways, archive3d
    • Openbuildingmodels is a prototype at the moment
    • Using PostGIS, GeoServer, OpenLayers
    • Challenges: model georeference, and various other minor elements
  • Excellent presentation
  • Next big thing is 3D VGI

Mobile modeling for crowdsourcing building interior models

Rosser, uk

  • For exterior, Google Building Maker, for interior Trimble SketchUp (formerly Google SketchUp)
  • OpenRoomMap, extending OSM for indoor mapping - indoorosm
  • User control on sensitive data
  • Smartphones for data capture, but georeferencing remains an issue (no GPS indoor)
    • They built a prototype app for Android's galaxy nexus
  • Many challenges in the data capture, be to do many assumptions
Read More »

OGRS :: CFP reminder and keynote synopsis

OGRS2:: CALL FOR PAPERS REMINDER (closing at May 28th)
Open Source Geospatial Research and Education Symposium

October 24 – 26, in Yverdon-les-Bains, Switzerland
Hosted by School of Business and Engineering Vaud (HEIG-VD)


(our apologies for cross-postings)
Dear colleagues,
the program committee would like to remind you that the deadline of OGRS call for papers is soon closing (at May 28th). All information to submit a presentation, a workshop, a poster or discussion group subject is available on the symposium website.

Moreover, the organizing committee is pleased to announce that four prominent scholars will present keynote addresses. The synopsis of these talks are now published on the symposium website :

- The open source GIS, an ideal framework for the development of and integrated modelling platform devoted to sustainable urban planning: first steps with OrbisGIS and CartoPolis (Gérard HEGRON Ifsttar/IRSTV);

- Building open source geospatial education at research universities: where we are and what is holding us back (Helena Mitasova, Department of Marine, Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, North Carolina State University);

- Open source spatial analysis: lessons for research and education from PySAL (Sergio Rey, GeoDa Center for Geospatial Analysis and Computation, Arizona State University);

- How open source can help achieving sustainability of e-learning content: The GITTA experience (Robert Weibel, Department of Geography, University of Zurich and GITTA Association).

Please consider these last weeks to submit a contribution. We look forward to read your contribution proposal and to see you in Yverdon-les-Bains.

We would appreciate if you could kindly distribute this call to other interested parties of your acquaintance.

Best regards,
OGRS program committee

Read More »

Attendee list just announced for the 3rd Annual Location Business Summit

TripAdvisor, Google, PayPal, Heineken, LocalSocial, Qubulus, AKQA, Ogilvy, Vodafone and 120+ LBS and Mobile Marketing professionals to meet in Amsterdam – Attendee list just announced for the 3rd Annual Location Business Summit.


The attendee list for the 3rd annual Location Business Summit has just been announced. 120+ senior-level location and mobile business professionals are meeting in Amsterdam (May 22-23rd) to analyse business strategies, discuss the SoLoMo revolution and identify the winning revenue streams.


At present, the location industry giants have a firm grip on the market space. However, with the influx of start-ups and innovative companies coming to the fore, a key thought on their minds is how to establish a successful strategy for survival. This is clearly an issue which needs addressing, alongside whether or not LBS service providers are really answering the needs of advertisers and brands.


Business models and revenue streams might be the most important issue right now, but at The Location Business Summit, over 120 senior executives will be examining all of the trends which are set to revolutionise the mobile and location industry. From indoor location to social location and mobile marketing, they’ll be revealing how to monetize location and provide a crucial strategy to win the campaigns of global brands.


VP of North America and Europe for TheWhereBusiness, Naomi Hands commented, ‘This year we have seen a huge shift in focus towards geo-targeted marketing and location based advertising. With a massive uptake in global brands utilising these services in their marketing efforts, without a doubt this is the year that we should be excited about.’


The high level of attendees include CEO’s, CMO’s, Head of Mobile and Directors of Marketing for some of the world leading companies putting their effort into LBS and Mobile strategies.

Companies include the likes of Google, TripAdvisor, Nokia, TomTom, Sygic, PayPal, Orange, Everything Everywhere, T-Mobile, YOOSE, AKQA, Ogilvy and many many more.


Naomi also commented ‘This year the LBS Summit is here to bring together likeminded professionals in the perfect, intimate environment for making those business deals happen. With support from the MMA, OGC, LBMA and many more industry associations; it’s one that’s not to be missed’.


About TheWhereBusiness:

TheWhereBusiness publishes news and events for those involved in the navigation and location ecosystem. Through high-end B2B conferences, we connect people across the industry, provide market leading intelligence and enable companies to capitalise on emerging business opportunities in location-based services, navigation, geo-web, tracking and mobile advertising; basically, anything that involves location, context or maps! Through continuous independent research with hundreds of companies and dedicated journalists, our news portal keeps you one step ahead of an industry in flux, and our events provide key networking forums for the industry.

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OGRS: Open Source Geospatial Research and Education Symposium - Second Call for Papers

OGRS :: SECOND CALL FOR PAPERS (closing at May 28th)
Open Source Geospatial Research and Education Symposium

October 24 – 26, in Yverdon-les-Bains, Switzerland
Hosted by School of Business and Engineering Vaud (HEIG-VD)

Dear colleagues,

The Open Source Geospatial Research and Education Symposium (OGRS) is a meeting dedicated to exchanging ideas on development and use of open source geospatial software in both research and education.

Motivated by the inaugural symposium in Nantes, France, OGRS will be held from October 24 – 26, in Yverdon-les-Bains, Switzerland. The symposium is hosted and organized by the School of Business and Engineering Vaud (HEIG-VD), in partnership with EPFL Lausanne, University of Lausanne, University of Geneva, which are all academic institutions in Western Switzerland, and the Institute for Research on Urban Sciences and Techniques in France.

The main goals are:
- to build a panel of new scientific research and education practices using and contributing to open source initiatives in the geospatial fields;
- to discuss a framework and highlight a rationale about geospatial open source technology usage in research and education activities;
- to provide an innovation platform to network and develop ideas for future collaborative work between academia – from research to education – and other actors of the field (associations, foundations, local authorities, industry etc.).

For more details, visit the overview page on the website.

Keynote speakers :
- Luc Anselin, Director, Regents' Professor and Walter Isard Chair at School of Geographical Sciences and Urban Planning, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and Director at GeoDa Center for Geospatial Analysis and Computation, Arizona State University;
- Gérard Hégron, Scientific Director in charge of sustainable city at IFSTTAR (French Institute of Science and Technology for Transport, Planning and Networks);
- Helena Mitasova, Associate Professor at Department of Marine, Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, North Carolina State University;
- Robert Weibel, Professor of Geographical Information Science at Department of Geography, University of Zürich.

Submission :
The symposium will integrate several opportunities for presenting : oral presentations, workshops, posters and discussion groups. To participate in any of these opportunities, authors are invited to submit an extended abstract (1000 to 1500 words, references and keywords excluded) through the conference website. The official language is English.

The international scientific advisory board will review and select abstracts for inclusion in the symposium and publication in the symposium proceedings. A subset of contributions will be invited to submit full papers for possible publication in a special issue of the Journal of Spatial Information Sciences (JOSIS), pending a peer review of full papers.

For more details on how to submit a contribution.

Important dates :
- submission deadline for abstracts is May 28.
- authors will be notified by June 30, on program inclusion and selection for JOSIS submission
- deadline to submit full papers is September 30.

We would appreciate if you could kindly distribute this call to other interested parties of your acquaintance.

Best regards,
OGRS program committee

Read More »

FOSS4G - North America: Summary for Day 3 and Other Summaries

This is the third and last of my summary entries on FOSS4G-NA.

First, here are other pertinent summaries I found on the blogosphere;

  • Direction Mag offers several entries related to FOSS4G-NA:
    • One named MapStory Soft Launches: "It's a platform for collecting datasets (StoryLayers), and MapStories (animated maps of these datasets over times)."
    • FOSS4GNA Day One Plenary: Recapping Roots and NGA Rhythms
    • FOSS4GNA Day Two Plenary: URLs and Firehoses
    • FOSS4GNA Panel: Gaps and Voids in Open Source Geo Technology
    • Tweets of note for the 11th and for  the 12th,
  • Martin Davis (Dr JTS) FOSS4G-NA review

Reminder: here's my notes, stripped from content directly related to my employer. These notes intend to provide some level of information on components that I considered interesting or pertinent. Most, if not all, FOSS4G-NA talks are or will be freely available online, many with full video recording. The program schedule is available online.

Day 3


RadiantBlue - OMAR

  • OMAR = Open Mapping ARchive
  • About 20 people supporting and developing their open source software, another proof that this business model can work
  • Web-based polished raster search user interface with a real fast data viewer
  • Apparently easy to import data into OMAR

RadiantBlue - OSSIM

  • Advanced C++ remote sensing and geospatial processing
  • Started in 1998
  • One of the founding projects of OSGeo
  • Used in numerous commercial and government solutions
  • Long history of government projects
  • My main interest was in ossimPlanet, since we have our own in-house scientific virtual globe at MSC
  • Along with the ossimPlanet tool, there's ImageLinker and OMAR that work together
  • There's OSSIM Libraries
  • Image chains for data processing, such as models, filters, combiners, with an excellent UI
  • dynamic plugins
  • ossimPlanet: virtual globe similar to Google Earth and NASA WorldWind (whatever happened to it), but... supports multiple platform, photogrammetric accuracy, native file access, WMS compliant
    • high performance 3D solution
  • Demoed their tools

Skipped some talks that were mostly U.S.-specific

Panel on challenges in implementing FOSS4G software

  • Integration with existing 'legacy' software such as SharePoint or Oracle can be a challenge
  • Legal components of open source are not an issue. It's unlikely that open licenses will do a great deal of damages to projects and organizations
  • Community is essential for the feedback loop in the open source software
  • Security audits are the same for open source than for commercial software
  • Panelists discussed their success stories

Panel on open source geo in federal IT

  • More intimate relation with open source vendors than with proprietary vendors, particularly in regards to feature needs, development, etc
  • Open source isn't entirely free, you need to put efforts
  • OGC standards are much faster implemented in open source geo software than in proprietary ones
  • Funding positions of Geospatial professionals on the long term can be a challenge at the federal level
  • Investing in open source consulting vs employ a senior full time expert... sometimes the first option seems to be much more efficient
  • Collaboration with the community requires energy, but it pays off over time
  • The pertinence of having federal IT coordination in their investment in open geospatial software and access the impact of their investment on each other
  • Challenge with reaching stakeholders of the federal gov which has interest in open source geo
    • At the Government of Canada we have the FCGEO (Federal Committee on Geomatics and Earth Observation) and GeoConnections, etc... there are some coordinating bodies and resources
  • The best with open source geo is rapid updates and delivery mechanisms
  • Expectations that the cloud will impact significantly how geospatial data is managed and stored at the federal level
  • GeoCat Bridge, bridging ArcMap to open source SLD compatible software - just can't ignore past ArcMap investments
Read More »

FOSS4G - North America: Summary for Day 2

That's the second out of three summary entries on FOSS4G-NA.

Reminder, here's my notes, stripped from content directly related to my employer. These notes intend to provide some level of information on components that I considered interesting or pertinent. Most, if not all, FOSS4G-NA talks are or will be freely available online, many with full video recording. The program schedule is available online.

Day 2


Mike Byrne FCC Wednesday plenary

  • We don't make paper maps
  • The importance of URLs
  • Unintended consequences of data use are good
  • Spatial data is not special... it's just columns in a database
    • I think I personally disagree with that statement; spatial data requires a datum and a projection and implies things like spatial topology and so on, so to me, these major distinctions makes it 'special' to some extent
  • Need for low barrier to publish and low barrier to consume

Josh Berkus, PostgreSQL

  • Large data collection with continuous processing and aggregation, firehose engineering
  • Challenges:
    • volume of data, and volume grows over time
    • constant flow of data, 24/7, data collection component, it means no ETL
    • database size, lots of hardware, backups, redundancy, migration, etc... database growth, many components = many failures
    • component failures, all components fail, and data collection must meanwhile continue
  • Data collection must be: continuous, parallel and fault-tolerant
  • Don't use cutting edge technology, don't run components to capacity, do not do hot patching
  • Little to no geospatial content in this talk

Ramsey - What's new in PostGIS 2.0

  • Breaks some backward compatibility
  • PostGIS uses a new serialization
  • New WKT / WKB parser, Extended WKT vs OGC vs ISO
  • New 3D functions
  • 4D indexes, nD actually
  • New 3D types and formats
  • New shapefile loading GUI
  • Raster
    • Raster support is there to enable analysis, not visualization, raster objects are very similar to vector objects in PostGIS
    • Many new raster functions
    • Raster Performance is still not great and sensitive to tile size, and function signatures can get very complex
  • Integrated raster and vector analysis
  • Indexed nearest neighbors, 2 million points, in 9 milliseconds... pretty fast

Tom Payne - OpenWebGlobe WebGL Globe

  • Google Earth plugin competitor
  • 100% JavaScript and WebGL
  • SpiderGL and OpenWebGlobe
  • Streaming lod terrain example on SpiderGL
  • Spherical Mercator (more)
  • Includes buildings, at various levels of quality to accommodate different use cases
  • Data in the S3 cloud managed by TileCloud
  • WebGL Navigation can't exactly mimic Desktop software
  • It may need polishing, but it works well already
  • VirtualGlobeBook for further reading
  • WebGL is also an interest of the gaming industry so there's big pushing from them too
  • No mobile browser supports WebGL yet

Bitner - Working with four dimensional flight track data

  • Closer to the type of data I have to deal with than the CartoDB and PostGIS presentation
  • XYZM (m = minutes)
  • Smoothing track data
  • Using R and PostgreSQL with the temporal extension on pgxn
  • PostgreSQL 9.2 will have native time range data types
  • R used for removing outlier data and helping the smoothing via statistics
  • During spatial smoothing, must consider the time dimension otherwise it messes with speeds
  • Displaying the 4D data
  • Github OpenNOMS
  • Using GeoExt and OpenLayers to display
  • App nice interactive map
  • Rather technical presentation

Osti - Cloud-based open source tech to manage natural resources

  • Opennrm
  • Animated web maps, integrating a lot of sensor data, in the Californian delta for a fish and turbidity analysis
  • Fully custom-made web page
  • The GeoServer talk was probably more interesting

Davis - What's new in the JTS topology suite

  • JTS started in
  • JTS and GEOS used by many may other software
    • GEOS 3.3.3 released at the beginning of the month
  • There's a C# port and a JavaScript port JSTS
  • What's new
    • Unary union
    • Delaunay triangulation, supports linear constraints
    • Voronoi diagram
    • Hausdorff distance: "measures how far two subsets of a metric space are from each other"
    • Densification, bounding envelopes
    • Single-sided spatial buffers
    • Magnify topology
  • JTS comes with a GUI to test functions
  • What's coming
    • Buffer performance improvements again
    • Fast distance computation
    • New algorithms such as concave hull, Bezier smoothing, point clustering, etc
  • Future plans: computation in geodetic coordinate systems, improve performance is a constant quest, split packaging into core and algorithms, refactor geometry API to use interfaces
    • For JTS 2.0 since it will break the API backward compatibility
  • That was an interesting but short 15 minutes talk... why not show more?

Klassen - Build your own cloud, open source approach to imagery storage

  • 50 TB of data, essentially raster
  • Their workflow is 'write once read many'
  • Constraints: little staff time for maintenance, needs to scale, limit access to some datasets
  • Image storage solution is OpenStack object storage aka Swift
    • Swift is optimized for long term storage
    • Why swift: no single point of failure, http/REST API, handles large objects over 5GB, security built-in
  • They looked at alternatives such as raid servers, NoSQL such as BigCouch, distributed file systems and S3... but ended up using swift
  • Proxy nodes: provides "public" URLs
  • There's tradeoffs, including a significant learning curve
  • Image catalog with a PostGIS backend
  • Services viewers with MapServer and MapCache
  • OpenAerialMap

Ashton - cartography with TileMill, PostGIS and OpenStreetMap

  • Presentation focused on digital map making; such as labels
  • The import is part of the render
  • Using group styles
  • Abbreviations: prefix and suffix aren't that important, handling multiple languages abbreviations is a challenge
  • Tens of types of 'spaces' in Unicode
  • Features of MapBox Street in TileMill

Nathaniel - Watercolor maps using OpenStreetMap

  • These maps were massively advertised in the past weeks
  • maps... from stamen design
    • citytracking
  • Different watercolor textures for each zoom level
  • Used Mapnik and python processing
  • Blurring things and adding noise, added inner glow
  • They didn't render the whole world
    • They user tweets density to identify which areas to prerender at higher zoom levels
    • They also analyzed where people actually searched for watercolor maps

Matthew Davis - Incorporating open source mapping into mobile apps

  • Excellent presentation
  • Strategy options = native apps, web apps, hybrid apps
  • Native apps: fast, mobile app feel, access to sensors, app store... but not cross-platform
    • iOS: 3 closed source maps APIs, none open source
    • Android: 4 mains options; Google Maps, osmdroid, Nutiteq, mapsforge... various tile sources, licensing, offline caching capabilities and vector support
  • Web apps:
    • Good = cross platform, but... slower, limited access to sensor, levels of browser support, have to make it feel like a mobile app, no app store, etc...
    • HTML5/CSS3: app can run offline, local data storage, sensor support (GPS well supported, but others not (e.g. accelerometer)), varying degrees of implementation by browsers
    • Mobile frameworks
    • Open source mapping libraries: OpenLayers, Leaflet, Polymaps, Tile5, Modest Maps... things to consider: offline caching, touch gesture support, vector overlays, tile sources, size
  • Hybrid apps: good = cross-platform, app store, sensor support, but... not as fast as native app, special attention to mobile app feel... main Hybrid apps solution is PhoneGap
  • Detailed a case study & their experience
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FOSS4G - North America: Summary for Day 1 and General Notes

I was lucky to participate to the first FOSS4G-NA conference in Washington D.C. last week. Here's one of three entries in which I'll share my general notes, talk notes and links to other reviews of the conference. First, I want to acknowledge and thank the FOSS4G-NA organizers for this incredible conference and the complimentary pass as a media partner. There was also a recent official press release from OpenGeo wrapping up the conference. All entries related to FOSS4G-NA on Slashgeo should be found with a simple search.

Here's my general notes, stripped from content directly related to my employer. These notes intend to provide some level of information on components that I considered interesting or pertinent. Most, if not all, FOSS4G-NA talks are or will be freely available online, many with full video recording. The program schedule is available online.

General notes

  • For Day 1 and 2, there were 3 concurrent tracks. For day 3, there was 2
  • There was 'Ignite Spatial' presentations at the end of Day 2
  • There was 350 attendees to FOSS4G-NA
  • Met and discussed with several colleagues and developers
  • Next FOSS4G-NA will be in Minnesota


Day 1

Paul Ramsey Welcome Talk

  • Discussed the history of open source
  • Geeks and enthusiasm + tools + connectivity
  • Paul reminded us that ArcGIS and Google Earth also use gdal, same for other pieces of open source geospatial software
  • Open standards are embraced more quickly by open source software
  • Exciting open source geospatial: Leaflet as a new OpenLayers competitor
  • Proprietary software locks you in
  • Open source software offers a lot of choice and it might be overwhelming, it appears 'simpler' with a single vendor solution
  • Google is a FOSS4G-NA venue sponsor, and so is ESRI

Keith Barber, NGA

  • NGA = National Geospatial Intelligence Agency (United States)
  • GeoInt must be on-line and on-demand
  • The 'pretty' component counts
  • How does the users consume information and data? That matters a lot
  • Big data, mobile computing, cloud computing, social networking
  • Social networking is harnessing the power of already established associations

Kate Chapman, teaching QGIS and OpenStreetMap in Indonesia

  • Hot: humanitarian OSM team, full details of their project here
  • They did workshops in 9 regions
  • Paper maps with no GIS involved
  • They also used walkingpapers to input new data
  • Using the Bing Maps satellite imagery in OSM, when available
  • LearnOSM launched
  • No street signs in small villages, only specific people know the street names
  • GIS benefits are not obvious to people that don't know GIS
  • Using OSM satellite imagery is much easier than buying a GPS and doing surveying
  • On site Internet access is an issue, part of the solution is using 3G modems
  • The OSM QGIS plugin is too hard to use in practice
  • Goal was poverty mapping

Wickman - Emergency response performance analysis with open source geospatial

  • Fire service departments
  • First responders are the clients, and they're not always tech savvy
  • E911 computer aided dispatch cad systems are almost systematically different one from another
  • Cops vs fire fighters: they do not always get along happily
  • Incident mapping
  • Not all city GIS layers align correctly
  • Using GeoKettle, PostGIS and MapServer and OpenLayers
  • Showed their GeoKettle processing; seems relatively simple to use
  • They'll be replacing MapServer with GeoServer, but didn't told us the reasons

De La Torre - CartoDB 1.0

  • The 'Government Participation in Open Source' talk was cancelled
  • New FOSS4G software, version 1.0 released last week
  • Blazing fast drag and drop online mapping
  • PostGIS 2 inside, with node.js and Mapnik
  • Blazing fast geospatial queries directly on the online map
  • Support importing OSM data
  • Explained distinctions with Google Fusion Tables

MacWright - Beyond the Google Maps Paradigm

  • Mapbox TileMill
  • Everybody gets the same tiles on Google Maps and OpenLayers
  • The design of today's maps is only possible because of the way we interact with it... There's less elements on maps because it's easy to zoom in and display more details
  • OpenLayers weights 900k while Modest Maps API is 40k
  • Google Maps got us halfway, TileMill halved it again
  • He got a point: traditional geo technologies is evolving real fast, and not always pushed forward by geofolks

Herbert - FOSS, data delivery and discovery services - the Antarctic experience

  • British Antarctic survey
  • Gdal, PostGIS, GeoServer, OpenLayers, WMS, WFS
  • From raw data acquisition to processing and distribution
  • GeoRSS, kml, OGC services, jpeg
  • Using geonames
  • Labeling is a challenge, SLD vendor options end up being critical
  • Poor metadata and versioning
  • They chose GeoNetwork Open Source for data discovery, with some cons
  • Polarview.aq, map.arctic.ac and a few more links

Hahn - Rendering the World

  • Big world.... it requires a lot of storage and time to generate the tiles
  • OpenStreetMap is 54 TB of storage
  • Accepted wisdom: only render tiles on demand
  • Render servers are slow, costly and stressful
  • Pre-rendered tiles are fast, cheap and reliable
  • The MBTiles format can store redundancy efficiently
  • Tile storage
    • 17.2 billion tiles
    • Open ocean is 60% of World tiles, and it's a single blue tile
    • Solid land tiles are also redundant
    • 4 layers compositing
    • Human tiles is only about 1% of tiles
    • Instead of 10 TB, with removing the redundant tiles, it's 200 GB
  • And for time
    • TileMill does all the tiles... With TileMill master, children skipping if redundant, pyramid approach... It mostly works at the moment
    • Instead of 200 days, it needs 4 days
  • Still quite a lot of fine tuning to do
  • This makes the whole World tile rendering possible

Panel Discussion on Gaps and Voids in open source geo technology

  • User interfaces and user experience (UI and UX)
  • We need to spend efforts to design interfaces
  • Command line is powerful, but you lose plenty of potential users
  • Goal is to engage non technical users
  • User workflow
  • Beyond the UI, there's the documentation too
  • Who's the target customer of the software
  • Innovation might not come from geoprofessionals if we aren't careful and think out of the box
  • There's still not enough geoprofessionals for the industry needs
  • It's about value and enabling users
  • Investing in FOSS is like investing in fundamental science, it often pays off tremendously on the long term
  • Cost of forking software is high and the value of a community is high
  • Chose the open license that suits the context
  • FOSS4G business models
  • API vs download ? The answer is both
  • Datasets don't tell you what's wrong with them... they should
  • We still can't easily ask what-ifs questions with GIS... such as 'Whats the impact of changing this value or this other value'
  • Need more cross projects collaboration

Schaub - OpenLayers: the rebirth of cool

  • Moving to Github dramatically increased commits and contributors
  • Talk focused on what's new 2.11 and upcoming 2.12
  • Mobile devices support, this is major
  • Html5 and CSS, tile transitions
  • Many new keyboard controls via CSS
  • Offline tile cache
  • Canvas rendering
  • UTFGrid interaction
  • Continuous zooming
  • Ongoing stuff and ideas for the future
  • Improved UI/UX, including CSS styling
  • Improved APIs
  • Animations performance optimizations
  • Tile queues with abortable tile requests
  • Usability improvements, including documentation
  • Custom built library for specific purposes
  • Ongoing discussions about WebGL and Canvas 2D

Wadsworth - Raster Storage and Processing with MongoDB

  • JSON
  • NoSQL, no joins
  • Integrated spatial indexing functionality
  • Fast, "web scale"
  • Mongo huMongous
  • Alternatives, CouchDB/ GeoCouch,
  • Their company were already into Ruby / Jruby
  • Points associated to raster
  • Slap: source, lookup, algorithm, process
  • Parallel with celluloid on github
Read More »

OpenGeo Hosts User Meeting at FOSS4G North America

Sponsor Day Programming Highlights OpenGeo’s Vision

New York, NY, April 18, — OpenGeo, successfully held the first OpenGeo User Meeting on April 12, during Sponsor Day at FOSS4G North America in Washington DC. As Eddie Pickle, OpenGeo CEO, mentioned: “FOSS4G North America and Sponsor Day would not have been possible without our fellow Gold Sponsor RadiantBlue and Venue Sponsor RedHat.”

Eddie Pickle began the day with an overview of OpenGeo, its clients, and a vision of its future. This was followed by a detailed look into the OpenGeo technical roadmap led by Tim Schaub, OpenGeo CTO. Building on the technical roadmap presentation, various OpenGeo developers gave technical demonstrations led by Juan Marin Otero, Senior Implementation Specialist: Justin Deoliveira presented on the future of web-based spatial processing in GeoServer, WPS, Geoscript; Paul Ramsey discussed the state of Spatial IT and how it differs from the conventional desktop-based GIS paradigm; Tim Schaub presented on building applications for web and mobile audiences using the latest features in OpenLayers and GeoExt/GXP; and Matt Priour announced the recent launch of MapStory, a platform for telling stories with maps based on GeoNode. These presentations provided users with an inside view of the latest existing and planned capabilities of OpenGeo technologies.

During the Sponsor Day lunch, a policy-focused panel comprising speakers from RedHat, the US Department of Defense, and the Institute for Defense Analysis discussed policy initiatives related to the acceptance and implementation of open source software within the federal government.

The afternoon sessions began when Dr. Christopher Tucker, a key advocate for open source and open standards within the US government, delivered an inspiring message on the “Open Future”. This was followed by panels highlighting successful deployments of OpenGeo technology that featured open source geospatial innovators and practitioners from over a dozen government agencies including the US Department of State, FCC, NOAA, NGA, Army Geospatial Center, and the New York City Department of Information Technology and Telecommunication (DoITT).

Commenting on the OpenGeo User Meeting, Eddie Pickle noted, "OpenGeo is looking to provide the best possible educational opportunities for users of the OpenGeo Suite. Sponsor Day at FOSS4G North America allowed us to support both FOSS4G North America and our software users. The day proved to be an exciting and informative forum on the open source geospatial ecosystem and how OpenGeo fits into its future."

About OpenGeo

OpenGeo is a social enterprise working to build the best web-based geospatial technology. The company brings the best practices of open source software to geospatial organizations around the world by providing enterprises with supported, tested, and integrated open source solutions to build the Geospatial Web. OpenGeo also supports open source communities by employing key developers of PostGIS, GeoServer, and OpenLayers. Since, the company has provided successful consulting services and products to clients like the World Bank, US Department of State, NYC DoITT, Ordnance Survey Great Britain, SFMTA, Portland TriMet, MassGIS, GeoScience Australia, NOAA and the Federal Communications Commission. OpenGeo is the geospatial division of OpenPlans, a New York-based 501(c)(3) non-profit that informs and engages communities through journalism and open source software. All of OpenGeo's revenue has been and will continue to be re-invested into innovative and useful software in support of the OpenPlans mission.

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Quick FOSS4G-NA Update: Summaries Coming Soon

We're now in FOSS4G-NA day 3. The conference has been great so far, with high quality talks and a stellar event organization. I've been busy enough to not find enough time to clean and complete my conference notes, but don't worry, I expect to share my summaries early next week. And to my satisfaction, I learned much more again than I expected... some important projects should have receive more visibility here on Slashgeo, I'm eager to tell you about them! More soon - thank you for your patience.

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O’Reilly Where Conference Summary

The Where conference was held earlier this week. The best summaries I found so far are from the Google Earth Blog (which isn't an official Google blog) - here is the GEB's day one, day two and day three.

From the day three: "Ingredients of a Modern Mapping Service by Brian McClendon, Google's VP of Geo. Brian gave us a brief history of Keyhole and Google Earth, then unveiled some impressive stats:

  • In, 37% of the world's population was covered by sub-meter imagery. That number is now up to 75%.
  • Each imagery update (roughly every two weeks) is as large as all of the imagery they had.
  • Street View started with five cities in and how covers 35 countries and millions of miles of roads.
  • Google Maps driving directions was available in 22 countries with 13 million miles of road in, and now is in 187 countries with over 26 million miles of roads.
  • He also encouraged everyone to view the new Project Glass video, which has some amazing geo-related possibilities in the future."

​If you're looking for more, try the #whereconf hashtag on Twitter.

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