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Mon Oct 20 04:40:07 2014

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OSGeo Code Sprint, Vienna

This is how OSGeo happens.  These are the folk who bring us a lot of that open-source geo-spatial goodness. You can follow the code sprint on Twitter using the hashtags #csprint and #viennacodesprint14

 


50th ICA-OSGeo Lab established at Fondazione Edmund Mach (FEM)

We are pleased to announce that the 50th ICA-OSGeo Lab has been established at the GIS and Remote Sensing Unit (Piattaforma GIS & Remote Sensing, PGIS), Research and Innovation Centre (CRI), Fondazione Edmund Mach (FEM), Italy. CRI is a multifaceted research organization established in 2008 under the umbrella of FEM, a private research foundation funded by the government of Autonomous Province of Trento. CRI focuses on studies and innovations in the fields of agriculture, nutrition, and environment, with the aim to generate new sharing knowledge and to contribute to economic growth, social development and the overall improvement of quality of life.

The mission of the PGIS unit is to develop and provide multi-scale approaches for the description of 2-, 3- and 4-dimensional biological systems and processes. Core activities of the unit include acquisition, processing and validation of geo-physical, ecological and spatial datasets collected within various research projects and monitoring activities, along with advanced scientific analysis and data management. These studies involve multi-decadal change analysis of various ecological and physical parameters from continental to landscape level using satellite imagery and other climatic layers. The lab focuses on the geostatistical analysis of such information layers, the creation and processing of indicators, and the production of ecological, landscape genetics, eco-epidemiological and physiological models. The team pursues actively the development of innovative methods and their implementation in a GIS framework including the time series analysis of proximal and remote sensing data.

The GIS and Remote Sensing Unit (PGIS) members strongly support the peer reviewed approach of Free and Open Source software development which is perfectly in line with academic research. PGIS contributes extensively to the open source software development in geospatial (main contributors to GRASS GIS), often collaborating with various other developers and researchers around the globe. In the new ICA-OSGeo lab at FEM international PhD students, university students and trainees are present.

PGIS is focused on knowledge dissemination of open source tools through a series of courses designed for specific user requirement (schools, universities, research institutes), blogs, workshops and conferences. Their recent publication in Trends in Ecology and Evolution underlines the need on using Free and Open Source Software (FOSS) for completely open science. Dr. Markus Neteler, who is leading the group since its formation, has two decades of experience in developing and promoting open source GIS software. Being founding member of the Open Source Geospatial Foundation (OSGeo.org, USA), he served on its board of directors from 2006-2011. Luca Delucchi, focal point and responsible person for the new ICA-OSGeo Lab is member of the board of directors of the Associazione Italiana per l’Informazione Geografica Libera (GFOSS.it, the Italian Local Chapter of OSGeo). He contributes to several Free and Open Source software and open data projects as developer and trainer.

Details about the GIS and Remote Sensing Unit at http://gis.cri.fmach.it/

Open Source Geospatial Foundation (OSGeo) is a not-for-profit organisation founded in 2006 whose mission is to support and promote the collaborative development of open source geospatial technologies and data.

International Cartographic Association (ICA) is the world authoritative body for cartography and GIScience. See also the new ICA-OSGeo Labs website.

Serving multiple WFS-T with TinyOWS

Our favorite WFS-T server complement of UMN Mapserver is TinyOWS. We like the simplicity of it so much, that we packaged it for Ubuntu and added it to OSGeoLive. Installation is easy:

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:ubuntugis/ubuntugis-unstable
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install tinyows

The simplicity is a little bit too much, when it comes to serve multiple WFS-T on the same server. There is only one configuration file, but we want a configuration for each service. There are solutions for that, but I never saw a documentation of the most elegant solution we found. It uses Apache rewrite capabilities to set the TINYOWS_CONFIG_FILE environment variable according to the called URL:

# URL rewriting
RewriteEngine On

# Forbid direct access
RewriteRule ^/cgi-bin/.*$ - [F]

# Rewrite /xxx to /cgi-bin/tinyows with TINYOWS_CONFIG_FILE=/etc/tinyows/xxx.xml
RewriteRule ^/(.+)$ /cgi-bin/tinyows [QSA,PT,L,E=TINYOWS_CONFIG_FILE:/etc/tinyows/$1.xml]

This configuration included in a virtual host declaration (wfs.example.com) serves your WFS-T on wfs.example.com/servicename.

WMS-T Support in Geoserver and Mapserver

“-T”, this small appendix can be found after many popular GIS-related acronym. But of course, it always means something different. Take for example GIS-T (GIS for Transportation), WFS-T (Transactional WFS) and WMS-T (WMS with time support). The world of acronyms is a fun place!

Let’s see what a WMS-T can do for us. From the WMS standard:

Some geographic information may be available at multiple times (for example, an hourly weather map). A WMS
may announce available times in its service metadata, and the GetMap operation includes a parameter for
requesting a particular time
. [...] Depending on the context, time
values may appear as a single value, a list of values, or an interval, …

Currently, only Mapserver supports WMS-T but the Geoserver team is working on it.

Mapserver

MapServer 4.4 and above provides support to interpret the TIME parameter and transform the resulting values into appropriate requests.

Time attributes are specified within the metadata section:

METADATA
"wms_title" "Earthquakes"
"wms_timeextent" "2011-06-01/2011-07-01"
"wms_timeitem" "TIME"
"wms_timedefault" "2011-06-10 12:10:00"
END

Mapserver supports temporal queries for single values, multiple values, single range values or even multiple range values:

...&TIME=2011-06-10&...
...&TIME=2011-06-10, 2004-10-13, 2011-06-19&...
...&TIME=2011-06-10/2011-06-13&...
...&TIME=2011-06-10/2011-06-15, 2011-06-20/2011-06-25&...

Geoserver

GeoSolutions has developed support for TIME and ELEVATION dimensions in WMS.
There are plans to backport this feature to the stable 2.1.x series after the 2.1.1 release.

Configuration of time-enabled layers can be done via the normal user interface:

The following video by GeoSolutions demonstrates the use of Geoserver’s WMS-T:

Both server solutions seem to support only one time attribute per layer. An optional second time attribute would be nice to support datasets with start and end time like Time Manager for QGIS does.


Testing UMN Mapfiles with QGIS

The Sunday night session of the QGIS hackfest resulted in a new release of the Mapfile Tools plugin.

This QGIS plugin allows you to display an UMN Mapserver mapfile in QGIS without running a Mapserver instance. It depends only on Mapscript (apt-get install python-mapscript on Debian/Ubuntu) and allows you to zoom and pan on the mapfile layer.

In release 0.6, an output window has been added, which shows error messages and detailed layer information. This makes it a convenient tool to test your mapfiles.

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