Monday, February 27, 2006

Random thoughts about how to make a collaborative geoweb tool using open standards

This is an email I just sent to the OpenSDI list but probably deserves wider consideration and provides some background to issues I'm going to return to (especially now I have internet at my new house!)

We are currently investigating mapbuilder as our client layer - the problem being we're using a portal/portlet environment so we've had to tweak the code in places and we're still trying to prevent a restart on redraw/reload of the page.

The collaborative stuff will involve each user of the client having the option to view what areas other users are viewing (sort of an extended reference map with multiple rectangles on it) or the ability to sync to another user and "follow" their view of the map. In the first case it is a simple(?) thing to have a map which displays rectangles that are received as GeoRSS (I think we just need to modify one of mapbuilders examples). The second is more complex but I don't think its insurmountable I think it just needs an extension of the current zoom/pan controls.

The other step is to modify/facade geoserver so that each wms/wfs request generates a GeoRSS item that other clients can monitor, it needs to do some basic user tracking (so we know who looked where) and then extract the bbox of the request. Ultimately we're looking to output the actual feature that was added/changed/deleted by a transaction on the WFS.

We're also looking at converting other data into GeoRSS (for example ARPS) and will be looking at writing a GeoRSS datasource for geotools - It remains to be seen if it's a write as well as read datastore.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Other things I do...

apart from the Open Source Geospatial foundation that is.

I work at the GeoVista Center at Pennsylvania State University - but I in no way speak for them. I hack code for GeoTools which is then used in many of the tools that the center produces such as GeoVistaStudio.

I'm also working on the GeoCollaborative Crisis Management project's web portal. This has led me to try and combine MapBuilder with the portlet spec to produce a mapping portal. I can get this to work in Pluto but not in Jetspeed - I love portable solutions!

I'm also playing around with converting APRS data in to GeoRss.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Day two of the blogging experiment

Today sees a large amount of discusssion on the foundation mailing list about classes of membership. There seems to be a feeling that limiting the initial membership to 45 is too restrictive. While I'm against the foundation being seen as elitist and closed I also feel we need to keep the size down, at least at the beginiing, so that we can make decsions quickly and easily.

One idea that I think has some merit is the concept of associate members or friends of the foundation where by people can join the foundation in some sense and provide support and encouragement to the aims and goals of the foundation.

update: The new foundation web site is now working. As are the disscussion lists.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

well here I am

I was never really sure if anyone cared enough about my thoughts for it to be worth having a blog. Then I went to Chicargo to help set up the Open Source Geospatial Foundation ( and it appears that everyone I know has a blog.

For example: Jody Garnett, Paul Ramsey, the mapping hacks crowd, Hobu, Allan Doyle and many more have already put up some of thier thoughts on the new foundation.

Currently I don't have much to add to these thoughts and its snowing here in PennState. I will add more thoughts as they occur to me.