Categories
Thoughts

PostGIS in Action – Third Edition

If there is one book I’d recommend anyone to get in our industry this is it. Way back in 2009 I wrote about the first edition:

Looking at the table of contents reveals that this should be the book for learning how to use PostGIS in your GIS applications. I’m really intersted in Chapter 13, “First look at WKT raster”.

Of course that book was on my desk for years and eventually it was updated in 2013. But that was over 7 years ago, technology changes and so has PostGIS. You can now get the long awaited 3rd Edition in the Early Access Program. I’ve started reviewing it and there is so much in there as this is going to be a significant update. PostGIS 3.x should be a big deal in it as well as PostgreSQL 12.

Buying this book is a no-brainer for anyone.

Categories
Thoughts

ESRI ArcSDE on MySQL or PostgreSQL

Another ESRI conference is upon us and I just noticed that the survey that Jack Dangermond always sends out is in my inbox. I was filling it out as I always do putting in that I’d like support for MySQL or PostgreSQL and low and behold later in the survey there is a question asking if I’d like to see either. I can’t recall if that question was ever in a previous survey, but I know people have asked again and again at the technical workshops.

Personally I’d love to see support for either. The biggest cost for SDE isn’t always SDE itself but a RDBMS that can support enough users on the internet. I still would always recommend Oracle over any other RDBMS, but I’ve run into a couple of situations where clients don’t have the money to spend on Oracle or SQL Server for their web applications and we have to leave all GIS data as Shapefiles (bah!). I’m not getting my hopes up that there will be an annoucement, but both MySQL and PostgreSQL have really taken off in the last 5 years. Personally I’d rather have PostgreSQL support, but either would be help us with our web deployments.

Categories
Thoughts

Moving Forward with Open Source GIS

Now that we have our PostGIS/PostgreSQL running just about perfectly on our RedHat server, it is time to move forward with UMN Mapserver. I’m excited to see how much we can do with it and I think it will open up so much more to our products than .NET and ArcIMS ever did. As I said earlier, I want to make a front end that looks the same to the end users, whether we use ArcIMS/ArcSDE on the back end or Mapserver/PostGIS. In my previous post, I said that the GUI just wasn’t there for PostGIS, but letting it sit on a Linux server hosting our data should be great.

This should be a great week as we start playing with Mapserver/PostGIS and seeing what we can do with it.

Categories
Thoughts

Open Source Vs Proprietary

We’ve loaded up PostgreSQL and PostGIS up on our Linux server to start playing around with it and I’ll post some thoughts I have of things so far.

Getting PostgreSQL installed wasn’t too much trouble, but PostGIS was a pain. It has to be compiled before installing. My database programmer got it working after a couple hours, but after using ArcSDE for so many years it was an eye opener. I’m sure they will get a compiled version up, but for now we had to do it ourselves. My next thought was to see if ArcCatalog could connect to it. We tried an ODBC driver and an OleDb driver but had no luck. Databases are not my strong point and while we were able to get them to connect to PostgreSQL, we couldn’t seem to connect to PostGIS. There must be something in how PostGIS handles the spatial data that these drivers can’t handle. This is somewhat of a big deal for us as most of our data is in either ArcSDE or Personal Geodatabases and Post GIS only allows loading of data via shapefiles. I was hoping to use ArcCatalog to perform the loading, I guess it is export to shapefiles and then use the shp2pgsql command. It appears that the ArcGIS Data Interoperability Extension supports PostGIS, but if you have to spend over two grand on an extension, what is the point of going to PostGIS. I’m sure we can script something, but I would have rather had the ArcCatalog option open to everyone.

So what does this mean to our development? Probably not too much except it is a strike against open source GIS. If PostGIS had a windows driver that allowed ArcCatalog access, things might be different and we could recommend it to our clients, command line isn’t a user friendly proposition. Open source GIS seems to mimic open source in general. Its getting better, but you still need command line experience to truly get value from it. Since ArcGIS 8, ESRI has really pushed the GUI for GIS giving even the most greenhorn GIS specialist commands that 10 years ago where run by very experienced GIS Analysts on UNIX.

It is very easy to criticize ESRI for their products but they have really taken the GUI to places where open source is at least 5 if not 10 years away from being. I still think that open source GIS has a place on the server side, but we need to figure out ways to get data loaded from industry standard programs such as ArcCatalog before it will start to take off.

Categories
Thoughts

Open Source Vs Proprietary

We’ve loaded up PostgreSQL and PostGIS up on our Linux server to start playing around with it and I’ll post some thoughts I have of things so far.

Getting PostgreSQL installed wasn’t too much trouble, but PostGIS was a pain. It has to be compiled before installing. My database programmer got it working after a couple hours, but after using ArcSDE for so many years it was an eye opener. I’m sure they will get a compiled version up, but for now we had to do it ourselves. My next thought was to see if ArcCatalog could connect to it. We tried an ODBC driver and an OleDb driver but had no luck. Databases are not my strong point and while we were able to get them to connect to PostgreSQL, we couldn’t seem to connect to PostGIS. There must be something in how PostGIS handles the spatial data that these drivers can’t handle. This is somewhat of a big deal for us as most of our data is in either ArcSDE or Personal Geodatabases and Post GIS only allows loading of data via shapefiles. I was hoping to use ArcCatalog to perform the loading, I guess it is export to shapefiles and then use the shp2pgsql command. It appears that the ArcGIS Data Interoperability Extension supports PostGIS, but if you have to spend over two grand on an extension, what is the point of going to PostGIS. I’m sure we can script something, but I would have rather had the ArcCatalog option open to everyone.

So what does this mean to our development? Probably not too much except it is a strike against open source GIS. If PostGIS had a windows driver that allowed ArcCatalog access, things might be different and we could recommend it to our clients, command line isn’t a user friendly proposition. Open source GIS seems to mimic open source in general. Its getting better, but you still need command line experience to truly get value from it. Since ArcGIS 8, ESRI has really pushed the GUI for GIS giving even the most greenhorn GIS specialist commands that 10 years ago where run by very experienced GIS Analysts on UNIX.

It is very easy to criticize ESRI for their products but they have really taken the GUI to places where open source is at least 5 if not 10 years away from being. I still think that open source GIS has a place on the server side, but we need to figure out ways to get data loaded from industry standard programs such as ArcCatalog before it will start to take off.