Thursday, April 29, 2010

Getting started with feature data production and Gaia WFS-T

We've been using the Gaia WFS-T Extender for inserting, updating and deleting geospatial features a lot lately. These tools provide an easy way to contribute geospatial data using Web Feature Service Transactional (WFS-T) services on any system - including ESRI ArcGIS Server 10, Intergraph, ERDAS, OSGeo, CubeWerx and others. However, Gaia WFS-T also provides advanced functions to help speed up feature data production. In this post we look at how to configure a transactional feature layer and set up production rules to make sure the correct data goes into your WFS-T.

Before Gaia can work with a feature layer it must know the layer is a transactional one from a WFS-T. In addition, a description of the layer properties and a set of rules need to be set. To do this the layer’s Geography Markup Language (GML) schema must be read and processed. The Gaia WFS-T Extender makes this as easy as a single mouse click.

To configure a transactional layer first make sure it's available in Gaia - then select “Config” from the WFS-T toolbar to open the configuration form (see above). The form will list all relevant feature layers in a pull-down list. When selecting a feature layer the form will display information about the layer, including the operations supported. This information is gathered from the layer’s parent service Capabilities. If the selected layer supports transactional operations (indicated by the gray check-boxes) the “Refresh from Schema” button will be enabled. Clicking this button will start an automated process where the layer’s GML schema is read from the service, analyzed, and converted to a local table along with data rules built automatically from the schema.

Often, you are ready to go at this point. But if you want to set additional rules to speed up feature data production or to ensure data quality you can do it now. For example, the following rules can be set for the 'AircraftHangarGeosurface' feature properties example above:

Property Availability - Use the check boxes to select whether the property applies to your transactions. Remember, at least a single geometry must be selected to be valid.

Property Type - This value is usually read from the schema - but if no clear type was determined you can manually adjust it. These values appear as UNKNOWN, TEXT, DOUBLE, POINT, LINE, POLYGON, MULTIPOINT, MULTILINE, MULTIPOLYGON, GEOMETRY etc.

Maximum Text Length - This is parsed from the WFS-T schema, and applies only to TEXT type properties. You can set it manually to make sure the appropriate length gets entered. Once set, if you type text values with more characters than allowed an alert will pop up and the operation will not be allowed until you fixthe error.

Default Property Value for New Features - This rule is very helpful and allows Gaia to automatically add values when a new feature is being created - so you don't have to select it over and over again. If the WFS schema describes "enumeration values" this field will appear as a pull-down list - very handy (see above).

Value Range of Numerical Fields - If you set this, the minimum or maximum value is enforced when you “Insert” or “Update” and the feature operation will not be allowed until a valid numerical value is assigned.

Once established, these rules are enforced by Gaia when editing or creating features. If a rule is not met, the feature operation (insert, update, etc) is considered not valid and completing the operation will not be allowed as long as the invalid values are not corrected.

If you want to learn more about using the Gaia WFS-T Extender check out the User's Guide or download the app and try it yourself.
- Nuke and Jeff

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Maps more usable in Google Earth with OGC 'Style'

CubeWerx has just posted an interesting Case Study on Cascading WMS and Haiti response. In discussing the Cascading WMS and Haiti the article says -

"In emergency response situations, first responders need accurate information immediately. The overwhelming response of the mapping community resulted in an unprecedented supply of geographic data being made available in a very short time. But each of the services supplied its own slightly different interface to the data. People working to bring that data together and create ad-hoc applications in support of relief efforts would have to deal with the discrepancies."

The Cascading map server from CubeWerx is able to connect to each of the other services offered, analyze their descriptions, and create a single point of entry for application developers. The Cascading WMS also uses OGC web map standards (WMS), Style Layer Descriptor (SLD) encodings and some slick connectivity to provide access to UN and OpenSteetMap layers in a easy 'tree style' structure - with great looking legends and map styles as transparent overlays in Google Earth (above). Having used both the native WMS support in Google Earth and this one I can tell you it's ALOT easier to work with the Cascading WMS in Google Earth. With the growing use of Google Earth and WMS it seems this very cool capability will have additional uses for emergency response, earth science, and more. Click here to read more...
- Jeff and Glenn

Friday, April 16, 2010

10 Minutes with NSDI Web Services - Using GOS Dashboard and Widget

Here's our presentation from the American Association of Geographers (AAG) 2010 Conference - Geospatial Web Services in the Government session - great event!

Monday, April 12, 2010

Pizza points and polygons - Gaia WFS-T Demonstrated with ArcGIS Server 10

Video of 2010 Developer Summit streaming on Internet

Rapidly adding the locations of pizza stores, census block groups and other data was part of the OGC demonstration at the recent 2010 ESRI Developer Summit in Palm Springs, California. The bottom line for the ESRI team doing the demo was the Gaia "WFS-T Extender" provides an easy way for anyone to contribute geospatial data using Web Feature Service Transactional (WFS-T) services on desktop systems - including ESRI's slick new ArcGIS Server 10.

As we've discussed before - when you look at the geospatial community a key emerging area are open geospatial services like those in ArcGIS Server 10 that offer new angles on data production. What's that angle? ArcGIS Server 10 and other products implement Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC) WFS Transactions - a standard way for users to pull in geospatial information and then contribute back their own content. But to make it easy for anyone to contribute a user-friendly app was needed that plugs-and-plays with any system - and Gaia WFS-T Extender fills this need (as was demonstrated in Palm Springs).

The Gaia WFS-T Extender allows geospatial edits and updates using WFS-T and Geography Markup Language (GML) in both online and offline environments - wrapping OGC standards into easy-to-use tools accessible to anyone, including non-GIS users. A complete description of the tool set is available here. The app plugs-and-plays with WFS-T from ESRI and other vendors - and I hope it promotes collaborative SDI.

The Gaia WFS-T Extender is also part of CarbonCloud Sync - a Cloud or server-hosted collaboration capability for crowd-sourcing data production and updates over a network of OGC services.

If you want to try it yourself a Gaia WFS-T Extender evaluation is part of the latest Gaia package and available for download now

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Carbon Project Becomes a 'Front Runner' With Release of CarbonCloud Sync

The Carbon Project today announced it will launch a new application using the Windows Azure Platform. The CarbonCloud Sync solution in combination with the Windows Azure platform helps enable customers to collaborate and share geospatial updates from many sources to many spatial databases using open standards. The Windows Azure platform, Microsoft's cloud services platform, provides The Carbon Project with the ability to build, manage, and deploy cloud based applications.

"Thru the technical and marketing support provided by the Front Runner program, we are excited to see the innovative solutions built on the Windows Azure platform by the ISV community," said Doug Hauger, general manager for Windows Azure Microsoft Corp. "The companies who choose to be a part of the Front Runner program show initiative and technological advancement in their respective industries."

"Windows Azure platform provides greater choice and flexibility in how we develop and deploy geospatial applications for Gov 2.0, defense and intelligence customers, both on-premises or in the cloud," said Jeff Harrison, President and CEO of The Carbon Project.

CarbonCloud Sync automates critical processes such as validating, disseminating and synchronizing geospatial updates from many sources to many databases, bridging vendors and GIS platforms using interoperability standards. Counties, states, and federal agencies can now improve their efficiency, cut red-tape, and reduce data gridlock while maximizing geospatial platform investments.

For more information contact please visit -