Thursday, July 29, 2010

Windows Azure cloud in real-time geospatial collaboration demo

The Carbon Project's CarbonCloud Sync platform was tested and demonstrated at the recent Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC) Web Services 7 (OWS-7) event. The problem addressed by this solution is the need to receive real-time geographic updates from many sources, validate them, and then share the updates with web services from many organizations. The demonstration uses Gaia, WFS from ESRI, plus WFS and REST Map Tile Services from CubeWerx. All real-time communications between users and web services is handled by CarbonCloud Sync on Windows Azure Cloud.

The components of CarbonCloud Sync as deployed on Azure Cloud were:

  • A web role - to host the management part and front facing services
  • A worker role - to process the transactions, do the transpositions, etc.
  • SQL Azure database – to store the transactions, users, etc.
  • Azure Queue Storage – web role uses this to add events that the worker role will process.

Lots of positive feedback on this - and many thanks to ESRI, CubeWerx and Windows Azure for the services!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

GeoSynch Architecture explained on YouTube

This screen capture from the OGC OWS-7 testbed walks you some GeoSynchronization Service (GSS) Architecture basics - including the roles of Publishers, Reviewers, Followers in a real-time network. Examples of GeoSynch in action with desktop and web apps are also available.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

SDI technology wins Australian "Apps4NSW" competition

Australian-based NuMaps has been awarded joint first prize winner in the inaugural Apps4NSW mashup competition for their DemographicDrapes web application. The Gov 2.0 competition was held in New South Wales, Australia.

At an awards presentation the Minister for Science and Medical research, Jodi McKay, said the aim of the Apps4NSW competition was about finding new and useful ways to deliver Government information to the public via the internet and mobile devices. “We know that more and more people are getting the information they need via mobile phones, computers and other mobile devices,” Ms. McKay said. “Applications and ideas that allow people to access and compare information about their local communities were the big winners.”

The competition attracted 122 entries. After much deliberation the judging panel decided to award equal first place to Brad Spencer for his DemographicDrapes application and the Smart Mashups team for their Suburban Trends application. “Our DemographicDrapes application is based on two distinct components – the browser application itself and the spatial data infrastructure (SDI) published by NuMaps,” Brad Spencer said. “Anyone could have developed their own mashup application against our spatial data service and in fact we would encourage people to do this next time.”

The actual mashup is a GoogleMaps-like application - allowing users to locate their map view to anywhere in Australia via a range of navigation tools. They can then select from a sample range of DemographicDrapes based on ABS Census 2006 data to overlay and zoom into specific suburbs to analyse different demographic themes such as age, housing, marriage, religion, gender and heritage population distributions. The user can also upload their own eXcel spreadsheet data and superimpose it on top of the demographics (such as monthly sales figures, etc.) “This really does provide the remote web user with an affordable analysis tool that both allows them to conveniently access publicly published demographics as well as integrate their own more private data sets.” Spencer said.

The underlying SDI powering DemographicDrapes leverages the Web Map Services (WMS) and Web Feature Services (WFS) international standard and CubeWerx servers. Numaps also provides connectivity for Gaia from The Carbon Project so customers can combine DemographicDrapes with other data sets, wherever they come from.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

GeoSynchronization Demonstrations Bridge Databases, Users and Enterprises

At the recent OGC meetings in Silver Spring and other venues, The Carbon Project demonstrated a simulated response scenario over Haiti. This scenario was selected in consultation with government agencies and designed to represent a simulation of synchronizing geographic updates in real-time from many sources to any geospatial database using open standard web services - bridging a variety of databases, GIS vendors, and data schemas.

In this scenario, Political, Military, Economical, Social, Infrastructure, and Information (PMESII) and Area, Structures, Capabilities, Organizations, People and Events (ASCOPE) data types were geosynchonized to ESRI and CubeWerx/Oracle databases (simulating NATO and Army users). For the purposes of the scenario, it was assumed that geospatial data related to PMESII-ASCOPE is missing i.e., Port Au Prince airfield apron, camp locations, condition of damaged buildings, hospital locations, buildings, power generation networks, lines of communication and roads (operational corridors). This data was added, updated and deleted on multiple WFS Transactional services in near-real time, simulating operations ‘internal’ to the Army geospatial enterprise as well as ‘external’ operations - with users performing the role of Geospatial Engineering Teams.

To provide a suitable test of shareable geospatial foundation data across the force all requested data were collected in a Geography Markup Language (GML) schema of similar complexity to emerging geospatial data models.

Results of the demonstrations indicated GeoSynchronization based on platforms like CarbonCloud Sync, tools like the Gaia WFS-T Extender and open standard web services can provide a key capability to integrate geospatial information and analysis capabilities with command and control information. In addition, the scenario indicated this integration can occur across joint and multinational environments. The scenario highlights how with modern geospatial interoperability tools and standards updates can be ‘published’ digitally by field users, reviewed by other users located at more centralized sites, and instantly added to multiple data stores whenever the updates are ‘accepted’.

Thursday, July 08, 2010

CarbonCloud featured in Microsoft Azure COM.geo Keynote

Mark Eisenberg from Microsoft Azure keynoted the recent COM.geo conference in DC - and did a great job. His example was CarbonCloud Sync on the Azure Cloud. Mark described how CarbonCloud Sync on Azure can receive real-time geographic updates from many sources, validate them, and then report updates to web services from multiple organizations using open standards. Mark also talked about how the need for this solution is apparent in situations like the Haiti earthquake - and how the scalable and dynamic capabilities of Azure allows the network to expand efficiently to meet these needs.

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

SDI as real-time collaborative service

Access to reliable, current and local geographic information is essential for understanding our interconnected world and geosocial dynamics. In many situations, geographic information provides an important key for referencing and accessing a variety of other data - and one of the best ways to maintain this resource is locally, closest to the people that know it, and then share it with others through online services.

Since geographic information is so important, there's growing global interest in sharing and updating it across standard Web-based services and databases that aren't controlled by any one organization or group. In this "spatial data infrastructure" approach an important way to ensure geographic information is open and accessible is through the OGC Web Feature Service (WFS). The WFS defines a standard way for accessing geographic information across the Web using platform-independent calls – and also a way to update the information called WFS Transactions (WFS-T).

But even though WFS-T provides significant capacity for update, one additional capability is needed to transform multiple WFS into an agile framework driven by collaborative maintenance partnerships between many users and organizations. Specifically, the capability for collaborative geospatial data maintenance in a web services environment (GeoSynchronization) is needed.

To meet this challenge, GeoSynchronization Services (GSS) like CarbonCloud Sync provide an easy way to use WFS for real-time collaborative geospatial data update. When combined with tools like the Gaia WFS-T Extender that can interact with a GSS, you have an environment of Publishers, Reviewers, and Followers that allows enterprises to receive real-time geographic updates from many sources, validate them, and then report the updates to web services operated by many organizations. Moreover, CarbonCloud Sync fully leverages modern COTS GIS systems such as ESRI ArcGIS Server or CubeWerx WFS, without modifications or changes to the server infrastructure. The system leverages the existing GIS infrastructure by using interoperability standards supported by multiple vendors, open-source organizations and other partners. This approach maximizes the current and future GIS investment by enterprises while enhancing it with new levels of real-time collaboration.

- Jeff