Open-source GIS cluster

This is the challenge for this week.

PostgreSQL + PostGIS + MapServer + MapProxy + Quantum GIS on Windows 7 32-bit

The aim is to create a scalable mapping solution based on open-source software that is easy to use and maintain, is fast and responsive and that can provide data in a number of different formats. Windows installers are available for most of the applications I wanted to use which made life a bit easier. Doing the same thing on Linux might be even easier. The corporate proxy and firewall certainly made things more complicated than they should have been.

mapserver + mapproxy + client Continue reading Open-source GIS cluster

Embedding maps

In an effort to make more useful information available to local residents without being overly technical, part of what I have been working on is making simple maps to embed in a website.  These return some (hopefully) useful information.  There is a move away from monolithic web GIS applications that do everything to making spatial information available everywhere across a website.  These simple maps can be embedded on any page with the website.  Each map will only display information relevant to the content on the page.

Waste collection dates (custom complex map viewer)

My Location report (default complex map viewer) Continue reading Embedding maps

2nd Anniversary

Angus CouncilWell, whaddayaknow?  Two years at Angus Council have passed in a flash.  Still making maps and making sure people know where they are.  I have help now too which makes taking over the world so much easier.

FME How To: Rotating labels

Rendering text labels based on attribute values stored in the dataset.

I have a dataset containing point features. The associated attributes include TEXT_STRING, TEXT_ANGLE and TEXT_HEIGHT. This allows me to write the label using the TEXT_STRING field, rotate it according to the TEXT_ANGLE field, and give it the correct size by using the TEXT_HEIGHT field.

However, finding an application that would let you do this proved to be harder than you might think. ArcGIS allows you to set the TEXT_STRING and TEXT_ANGLE automatically but the TEXT_SIZE has to be set individually. This is not an option when you have 30,000 labels to size.

Enter FME ( and some transformers to manipulate your data. My raw data is passed through a TESTER to make sure all the features have a valid ID, the fields are trimmed of any excess white spaces and two counters are added to create unique sequential IDs. Then the data is passed to a LABELPOINTREPLACER which replaces the point with a label (based on TEXT_STRING) and scales it using TEXT_HEIGHT. The coordinates of the points are extracted using a COORDINATEEXTRACTOR and the resulting XY values are passed to a ROTATOR which rotates the labels based on the TEXT_ANGLE field around the XY coordinate.

I like it when a workbench comes together.
FME Workbench

Mapping our world

Being a geographer and working with a GIS doesn’t mean I have a routine, mundane job where the days blur into one and weekends pass by almost unnoticed.  I mean, only today I created a new style set for the 15,000 parking signs in Kensington and we worked out a way to display a thumbnail of each one when you click on the map.  That’s quite exciting.  There are, however, some others out there, equally fascinated with maps, who put together things like these which are interesting in a trivial way:

So when the going gets tough and you need a break from your highly entertaining, engaging job have a look.