This is sort of a follow up on my post earlier post Traditional and modern approaches to GIS – short summary of FOSS4G 2011. I will try to sum up some of the projects I thought was most interesting from the sessions I went to.
For what I call the modern approach, there’s just too much to talk about them all, but I’ll try to summarize some of the projects that I really want to look closer at.
Tilemill is a web application for designing web maps – basically, it lets you work out a design for your vector and raster data. This design is used to render the actual tiles using Mapnik. In contrast to all map design tools I’ve seen before, the focus in Tilemill is designing for the web - other tools I’ve seen have not been suitable for styling huge datasets and multiple zoom levels. Tilemill doesn’t use SLD, but uses Carto, a CSS like styling language. After seeing some of the designs AJ Ashton from MapBox has done in Tilemill, I’m convinced this is something we will have to try out.
For tiling, a lot of alternatives to GeoWebCache have been mentioned – I have no specifics on them, but we will check them out: TileStache (used by Tilemill, as I understand it), TileCache, MapProxy, MapCache. In the same area there’s also TileStream, a service that hosts and serves your tiles.
Two projects from Vizzuality with the Carto prefix seems really interesting. They’re building a stack with PostGIS as spatial database, which they have packaged as a cloud service called CartoDB, that can be accessed through a HTTP API. For the server application, they have CartoSet, a Ruby on Rails application available on Github. See UNESCOplaces.org for a neat example of what that might look like.
That was a few of my favourites from what I’ve seen. I hope to dig deeper into them, and perhaps some of the other things we’ve seen in future posts.