Map servers -- the CGI programs and servlets that render infinitely customizable map images of any scale, size, and format -- remain useful, even increasingly useful, in this tiled world. The MapServer project, for example, is climbing steadily up out of its own "trough of disillusionment" [see hype cycle] towards a 5.0 release next month. Two use cases are driving it forward. Some data are so dynamic that caching is unfeasible or even undesirable. Aircraft traffic is an obvious case. The other growing role for MapServer is that of a tile engine for applications like TileCache. Its already-good cartographic options are getting dramatically better, and longer rendering times become acceptable if your data changes on a time scale of several days or more.
Plone 3.0 is released today. Built-in versioning, slick ajax interface, and more. Pleiades will be upgrading from 2.5 in October after I get back from FOSS4G and an NEH meeting. I've already been testing our code against the Plone trunk since the start of this year and things are working pretty well. Remember, Kai has already brought PrimaGIS up to speed with the new version Plone.
I'm skeptical about gatekeepers and skeptical about the value of GIS certification. It seems so medieval. Hopefully somebody will watch and make sure they don't violate their own code of ethics by lobbying city, county, and state governments to ordain preference for, or requirement of, certification.
I've paid $40 to the Red Cross for education and certification in child CPR, but for that money I received quality training from an experienced nurse. I exchanged money for skills, plus a piece of paper attesting to those skills.
Good stuff. My favorite Tufte tip is outlining regions with a slightly darker hue of the fill color. Because our visual system is non-linear, a difference as small as 5-6% can sharpen up your map dramatically.
There are no less than five presentations on web processing services (OGC WPS) at the upcoming FOSS4G conference. I'm looking forward to asking these people what exactly WPS does that can't be done with straight HTTP POST and the 202 (Accepted) status code. What exactly does one gain here by abstracting away the Web?
Related: Sebastian Good has more about "a sink" here.
Here's something I've read a few times, including in my comments:
I'm still trying to get my head around the idea of specifying arbitrary BBOXes for image requests in REST format: seems utterly uncacheable, and thus against one of the REST goals.
If you seek to build a high performance, highly scalable map image or coverage service (such as the one Google needs to support Earth and Maps), exposing an infinite number of view resources is a design anti-pattern that you must avoid. (Note: a WMS doesn't expose a truly infinite number of resources, but a number N approximately equal to 10 to the power of 4W, the precision width in digits of the bounding box coordinates. N approaches infinity fairly quickly: MapServer exposes something like 1066 unique views of a world map.)
If you want to cache effectively, you must switch your design over to a finite number of view resources. Tiles, in another word. There are other advantages to the REST architecture besides cacheability, so don't get the notion that REST fails for large values of resource number N.
Charlie is on a roll. The difficulty with promoting REST is that we can't yet say "Products X, Y, and Z support it", or "Companies A, B, and C are standardizing on it, and so should you". The case has to be made for technical superiority (in many situations) of REST over the entrenched OGC architecture, and that means some jargon and details that seem esoteric to a lot of GIS practitioners. Charlie's latest are good posts that don't require continual reference to the HTTP/1.1 or WxS specs.
Last week I used Google Earth to scout sites for my 21 month-old daughter's first ever camping trip. The imagery of the Never Summer Range is excellent, and I quickly found a couple good candidates. We used one of them Saturday night: it's marked along with a hiking trailhead and the spot where our little mountaineer announced she was too tired and hungry to continue in camping-debut.kml.
One thing the imagery (2004? 2005?) doesn't show is how bad the mountain pine beetle epidemic is in that part of the Routt National Forest. The slope facing our campsite was up to 10% dead. We saw large stands that might have been 20% dead.
Ah, the benefits of collaborating with a real software engineer in an open source project.