Toolkits

Toolkits

Bill and I have a podcast that we do almost once a month. Podcasts are a lot of fun because you can talk about things easier than writing about them. There is a free flow of ideas (or maybe garbage) out of your head and on to a mp3. One topic we talked about months ago was GIS clients. We talked about tools we use but I just happened to be listening to it last night and I realized maybe I wasn’t as honest with myself as I should have been.

GIS users, if you need a friend, get a dog.

I’m not a GIS user…

Fair point though, what is a GIS user? I think of it as someone who uses GIS software. But even that it is somewhat of a mess because one person’s GIS software is another person’s toolkit. Ignoring that issue for a second, what do I use for GIS?

  1. GDAL/OGR
  2. Turf.js
  3. Elastic
  4. PostGIS

I think that pretty much covers it. I mean there is some Shapely and some other libraries, but that short list is all I use anymore. That of course has a lot to do with my job, if I was GIS Manager at the City of Townsville I might need other tools, but that list above is pretty much it. I can’t help but think of these things as Toolkits rather than GIS software. They are all part of a deeper workflow that I use when I need to use it. The end result is never QGIS, ArcGIS, uDIG or whatever madness you use in your daily life. It is either GeoJSON or “database” (where database could mean a lot of things).

God made men. Men made proprietary software systems

This blog is about to have it’s 15th year anniversary and I can’t think of a better example of how things have changed since that moment. I also think GIS lends itself for this workflow orientated environment anyway. Ignoring the crazy ArcGIS Desktop years with wizard based GIS, mostly GIS has been scripting workflows to accomplish your needs. Fortran, AML, Python, you name it. We use these methods to not only get results but document them. In the end I think all the tools we use for GIS are Toolkits and not software. Yes, one must put a name on something, but GIS has always been about toolkits, even in proprietary workflows, and will always be this. Maybe when we check in right before I retire in 2035 we can see how we are doing with this.

My guess? Still using toolkits.

Toolkits are a “real genius” move…

Elasticsearch 6.2.0 Released with WKT

Good news for us Elastic users:

Several geospatial systems use Well Known Text (WKT) as their preferred/only format for geospatial objects.  What if you wanted to use Elasticsearch for your geospatial data though?  Until 6.2, Elasticsearch has only provided the option of providing shapes in GeoJSON format.   To get your WKT data into Elasticsearch, you may have to go through a complicated export + conversion process.  No longer!  You can now index a shape in a WKT string directly to Elasticsearch.

I’ve been using WKT quite a bit because it supports curves and now I can load WKT natively into Elasticsearch without converting it beforehand.  There is much here to think about for sure!