Due to the intense work our retreat in beautiful Omiš quickly came to a close. On Saturday night we flew back to Bonn and, after a very short weekend, are now back at our desks. At this point we would like to quickly report on the results:
- With the help of the Cesium-API, ExtJS 4 and geodjango we drafted a concept for a GPS-track-community. With this application users can upload their GPS-tracks – i.e. from cycling or hiking tours – and view them. Thanks to the Cesium-API they can be viewed in 2D, 2,5D (Columbus-View) or 3D.
Besides Cesium we used the tried and trusted ExtJS framework for the frontend through which Cesium was enhanced by a layer tree, a slider for layer options and a spatial search. For the communication with the database (PostgreSQL/PostGIS) and a user administration we used the Python based framework Django in combination with geodjango.
- Since Friday a brand new GeoExt in the version 2.0.0 is available that can be downloaded at https://github.com/geoext/geoext2/releases/tag/v2.0.0. This fact is the subject of the blog and also the user list provides more information. The good news was also spread via Twitter where it has received a positive echo. It is important to note that the new GeoExt 2 homepage is located at http://geoext.github.io/geoext2/.
- As we already mentioned we were busy with our OSM-service that is available at ows.terrestris.de. To be able to import the OSM data more quickly at regular intervals into our PostGIS database we have started using the tool Imposm, that is available as Free Software. During our week in Croatia we created a script that via a configuration file generates a SLD (Styled Layer Descriptor) file based on the schema and advantages of Imposm, that can directly be used with any mapserver. This enables us to style OSM data much more quickly and easily. The actual service will be published later on ows.terrestris.de since data is still being imported into the database. So feel free to come back at a later point in time.
- We also used the week to develop a new terrestris-client that is based on the current libraries GeoExt 2, ExtJS 4.2.1 and OpenLayers 2.13. At the moment the client only contains basic functionality like navigation and measuring tools, permalink generator and a search based on Nominatim. The tools are available as individual modules and can be combined at will. If necessary other tools or modules can be implemented and added to the client. In addition the terrestris-client supports adding external WMS that will be displayed next to the default layers (currently only terrestris OSM WMS and ASTER hillshade) in the layer tree.
For ages we have been using SHOGun as a middleware-base for our larger SDI projects. To make sure that in the future loosely coupled modules will make life even simpler and more sustainable the whole architectural concept of SHOGun was questioned. Due to this we spent the past week modularising SHOGun. The idea was to create small, “simple” and above all independant software components that are ameanable to versioning with Maven and could be stored in Maven repositories. For new projects one can now request the modules in the required versions by clicking on them and after that start with the project specific programming. In addition to that we developed some tests that permanently guarantee the integrity of the modules.
As a proof-of-concept we were able to establish a Maven-Multi-Module-Spring-Hibernate project in Eclipse, on which base we can now develop a new core and further modules. During the week we generated a lot of Know-How especially regarding the interaction of the various (very complex and potent) frameworks. As core module currently there are:
- core-model (data model)
- core-dao (data-layer to access the database)
- core-init (module to initialise the database together with data)
- core-service (service-layer for the actual program logic)
- core-controller (controller-layer, i.e. the interface to the browser, see above)
These modules can be versioned with Maven and can be exchanged and enhanced easily in a web application that uses these. In addition other project specific modules can be programmed.
- Our system administrators were also busy and implemented a new ows.terrestris.de server that now runs with new versions of UMN Mapserver (version 6.4) and QGIS-Mapserver (version 2.0.1). Redmine, a new bug tracking system that is also available under a free software license, was installed and secured. Also our internal server structure was reviewed and the security was updated.
- Since about a year ago terrestris has been developing software with the Django-Framework, that allows the monitoring and evaluation of project times. This controlling-tool features a CSV-export, through which our accountant can further analyse the data. In Croatia we further developed the software and it is planned to release it under a free software license in the not so distant future, once we have removed terrestris-specific components like links and database connections. You can look forward to some new free software that has nothing to do with GIS. Stay tuned.
A not so new insight is the fact that one can work intensly for a whole week and not get everything done. One reason lies in the numerous new ideas that spring up as well as the circumstance that maybe the agenda was too ambitious. This makes it more than likely that we will embark on a retreat once more in the future. Where this will take place we don’t know yet, but we would not be opposed if it was as agreeable as Croatia was.