Oct 7

Playing with GeoServer, Google Earth and ArcSDE

The other day I sat down for half a day and did some research into GeoServer (http://geoserver.org/) and connecting it to our Corporate GIS data store, which is an ArcSDE system. It took a surprisingly small amount of work to get GeoServer up and running and to get it to produce some simple basic results out of the ArcSDE system.The goal of the exercise was to see if I could get access to the mapping information in a system that wasn’t from ESRI, the makers of ArcSDE and ArcMap. The aim isn’t to replace these products for those who use them already or for those who might use them in the future but to provide a smaller end application of the GIS data that is presently stored in Council’s system. For this I picked Google Earth, Google’s 3D ATLAS application.The first set of sample data that I decided to use with the system was a set called ‘Queensland Towns’ which gave me a general view of the state in a large scale so that I could roughly validate that I hadn’t made too bad a mistake. Thankfully the towns came up roughly where they were supposed to be, though I had to check with the GIS department when Google’s data didn’t quite line up with the points – it turns out that their information is wrong! From here I moved onto something more fine grained: our roads data. For each of the roads in the city we have data for stuff like where they start and finish, the particular speed limit along those roads and what sort of road they are (e.g. is it a major road or just a small suburban road). This put a bit of load on my machine as it generated the points for the data, the record set is far more complex (roads are split up into different segments to allow for multiple speed limits for a single road). However even though it took a while (and it was best to be zoomed in as close as possible to the features to minimize the amount that had to be retreived) the road data lined up with Google’s ortho almost perfectly. The interface to retrieve the information about the points of the feature weren’t the friendliest but I’m sure with a bit of work something like that could be fixed up to make it more useful. On the whole setting everything up and getting some results took a few hours of work (took longer to find the ArcSDE SDK and get it installed properly than anything else)  and we’ve got an accessible open result for transferring information.


4 Comments so far

  1. […] Tiernans Comms Closet wrote an interesting post today onHere’s a quick excerptPlaying with GeoServer, Google Earth and ArcSDE October 7th, 2007 The other day I sat down for … Google Earth, Google’s 3D ATLAS application.The first set of sample data that I decided to use … up roughly where they were supposed to be, though I had to check with the GIS department when Google’ […]

  2. Chris Holmes October 8th, 2007 12:53 am

    For friendlier looking point attribute data you can make a ‘template’, see http://docs.codehaus.org/display/GEOSDOC/01-Placemark+Templates for more information. Also if you set up ‘rules’ in your SLD (the file used to make the style) then you can tell GeoServer to not turn on layers until you’re zoomed in, and even do fancier stuff like only show longer roads when you’re zoomed out.

  3. Andrea Aime October 8th, 2007 10:34 am

    Hi Sam,
    glad to hear you had a good experience with GeoServer.
    About the load on the machine, in the next few months we plan to work on vector superoverlays, which basically means setting up data loading so that you don’t get everything when fairly zoomed out (but a generalized version instead) and that we can load data more efficiently when zoomed in.
    So, stay tuned, speedups are on the way 🙂

  4. Pasamio October 8th, 2007 1:21 pm

    Cool, I’l checkout the templates and some of the rules. Some of the information return whilst being interesting to see isn’t relevant for most people.

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