I just finished making a map of Tanacetum vulgare (Common Tansey) incidence for a visiting ecologist. I learned to do this kind of task with ArcView 3 back in the previous century, but left the data processing and analysis business before my employer upgraded. This means I never really tried out ArcMap until now. I must say that it's perfectly adequate for this kind of task, allowing me to add a new attribute to features and hack away at the attribute table using search and replace. A scriptable interface to the symbolization would be nice, but the provided tools are not too bad. Everything I remembered about good ole ArcView 3.2 seemed to transfer right over to use of ArcMap 9.1. The whole thing, not including the time to find and download decent data (North American Framework from GeoGratis) took about 20 minutes. There's no greater message to this story, I just feel that I owe the blogosphere a report of a good experience I've had with proprietary GIS software.
There's an accurate, well-written article on geospatial open source by Christopher J. Andrews in Directions Magazine. In the last paragraph, Andrews writes.
With the liberal licensing on some geospatial OSS, I hope an industrious company will develop a 'map server in a box' appliance. Such an appliance, coupled with a basic methodology to package up an organization's available data, would greatly accelerate the adoption of geospatial OSS and further decrease the TCO for geospatial open source.
People having been talking about mapservers or spatial data infrastructures in a box for a while. It's bound to happen any day now, but almost certainly without the box, instead using "elastic" arrays of virtual machines.
Just saw this on Planet Python. Interesting.
No, no, no. As as cook and programmer, I must object. The only analogy that works is ingredients == data. In this case metadata is the well known extra information on the packaging: serving size, nutritional guidance, organic or not, country of origin, year of production, appellation, etc.
Java is free. Open source GIS folks should read and think about Bray's -- and he's not a Free Software zealot -- common sense arguments for the GPL.
Kai and I attended Chris McDonough's talk on buildouts -- in general, not specifically about zc.buildout -- at the Plone Conference. I left motivated to start thinking about buildouts. Kai left motivated to do something about common environments for developing PrimaGIS. His solution is primagis.buildout: a script for making complete, isolated PrimaGIS sandboxes. So far, it's only tested on OS X, Debian, and Ubuntu, but already has several new users up and running. For windows, I imagine we could use more binaries, and try to tap into Howard Butler's build kit for PCL-GDAL and PCL-MapServer.
Web mappers: what are you doing about accessibility?
Me? I'm using Plone for a solid start. Pleiades is using OpenLayers and Google Earth to visually display georeferenced content; neither of these are fully accessible. It's a hard problem, for sure. One of our technical observers is a CompSci specialist in accessible UIs. He sees the problem as rich and chewy, which means it won't be solved any time soon. Last time we met he had some interesting ideas, and I hope to be able to write about realizations of them next year. Pleiades' feed-based, "viewer"-independent, architecture should help.
This release has been a long time coming, and I appreciate the patience I've been shown. At least the wait was less than 18 months. Here are the source release downloads: PCL-0.11.0.tar.gz [MD5, SHA1].
PCL 0.11 includes contributions from Kai Lautaportti, Michael Kerrin, Con Hennessy, Howard Butler, Ludwig Brinckman, Josh Livni, Sally Kleinfeldt, Aleksi Korvenranta, and Chris Calloway.