Using PostGIS on Amazon RDS with OpenGeo Suite

Paul Ramsey on using PostGIS on Amazon RDS:

With Amazon Web Services, I had a backed-up and replication-ready database up and running in under an hour, and OpenGeo Suite tied into it in another hour. With the knowledge I’ve gained, next time will take only a few minutes.

Think about that for a moment, a few minutes and you can deploy an enterprise GIS solution.  Life is easier when you don’t have licensing constraints.

Patents Are Awesome:: Apple Files Patent for GIS

So over coffee I read this:

Apple’s “Interactive Map” patent filing details a mapping program that enables users to dynamically adjust and view different “layers” of content pulled from the Internet. Examples include commuting, tourism and weather map layers, among others.

Layers of content, brilliant!  Why did we not think of this before?  The patent filing is a road map for GIS.  But I see huge problems with their method, look at this:



Where is the north arrow?   Not only that Apple’s map data for Washington DC is cartoonish.  No wonder people hate Apple Maps.  I can tell you the maps of Phoenix look much better.  Looking over the other supporting images is depressing.  Breaking down what I do into flow charts, gawd we suck.



I look forward to licensing Apple’s patent to do my work.

BIM Guys Want You to Think BIM is the Cat’s Meow

BIM is the new GIS? Can you dumb it down a shade?

Look, I got suckered into thinking BIM was the future.  The painful fact is BIM is only useful to talk about, not actual use.  But that won’t stop CAD companies from trying to convince you BIM is the future.

Let’s just say that BIM is the new GIS. In speaking with Mike DeLacey, CEO of Microdesk, a long time Autodesk partner and reseller, the terms are interchangeable in an Autodesk environment.

Will all do respect Mike, Neogeography (are we spelling it with our without CamelCase these days) is the new GIS.  If BIM is interchangeable with GIS in Autodesk, I fear for Autodesk users.  Given DWG is all about 0,0 (seriously though, how about require a projection Autodesk?) and unless we’re mapping null island, 0,0 is about as far from GIS as you can get.

Only you think I need a title…

Mapmeter Included with OpenGeo Suite

Mapmeter (despite not being CamelCase) is a pretty awesome way to get analytics for your maps.  We’ve talked on my hangouts about how it is not free, nor is it open source.  But you can get a copy free until the end of the year:

we’re including a free annual Mapmeter subscription with every OpenGeo Suite purchase made before the end of the year. While a Mapmeter subscription is already included at the Platform level and above, this is the perfect opportunity for prospective Plus and Professional purchasers to save nearly $2400.


GeoJSON Updates

Looks like GeoJSON got a new home on the Internet.’

Not only that, GeoJSON has a new GitHub home.

If you search Twitter for GeoJSON you see how much awesome is being done with it. Heck, even OGC wants to get in on that action (for good or bad).

Data isn’t a Map or is it Vice Versa

Update 3: It appears this is a total FS effort to sell PDFs using Avenza.  I talked with Avenza  and they said that the FS is just a client of theirs using the marketplace.

Update 2: There is a free method here:


You’ll need to scroll to the bottom of that raster page because the retro image map doesn’t work with touch devices. The links are at the bottom.

Update: Well this is interesting, read this statement on the PDF marketplace.

A current printed copy of the Forest MVUM is available FREE from local Forest Service offices, and the current downloadable copy is available FREE from

So the only thing here is the FS is promoting a 3rd party marketplace (well besides not bothering to create hyperlinks).  The whole thing is completely weird.  Why would the FS put out a press release promoting awesome PDF mobile mapping when it’s a 3rd party effort?  Why not just point to the data for free online and be done with it?  I’m completely confused here as to why the FS would even bother.  Clue me in folks!

Interesting thoughts in the comments about PDF mobile maps being less than awesome:

I think there is some confusion here about the difference between data and maps. …… The maps built from this data (and other data) are a different product; maps are designed with a certain audience in mind and serve a specific purpose.

“I don’t give a SHIT about the open data! We’ve got $500 million in the case, and 20 tonnes of mobile PDF pure IN THE TANKERS! “

I’ve been chewing on this for a while since that comment was posted.   Ignoring that I feel charging for digital data is (despite quoting some USDA regulation) offensive to me, I can’t really disagree with this statement.  Does providing the data for free absolve any of implications of charging citizens for data they have already paid for?

If I put my old data marketplace hat on, the other part of this all that bothers me is the federal government is picking Avenza (or whatever they are called) to sell their maps for them.  Quote whatever regulation you want, this stinks.  You can have our maps as long as you pay some 3rd party for them?  Tell me how that isn’t bad for the consumer?

Like You Need Any Proof Python Is It

It seems like just yesterday I was talking about manipulating rasters with Python.  No matter, if you’re still not convinced to embrace Python, here is some great holiday time reading for you:

How Python became the language of choice for data science

Nowadays Python is probably the programming language of choice (besides R) for data scientists for prototyping, visualization, and running data analyses on small and medium sized data sets. And rightly so, I think, given the large number of available tools (just look at the list at the top of this article).

R you say?

Python Displacing R As The Programming Language For Data Science

While R has traditionally been the programming language of choice for data scientists, it is quickly ceding ground to Python.

While there are several reasons for the shift, perhaps the biggest one is that Python is general purpose and comparatively easy to learn whereas R remains a somewhat complex programming environment to master.

Common theme huh?  Python is easy to learn.  If you ever find yourself reminiscing the days when you used ARC/INFO at the command line to do all your processing and are tired of GUI tools constricting your creativity and productivity, embrace Python.

One language to rule them all…