Sensor Web, Geoprocessing, Security & GeoRM, Geostatistics, Semantics, 3D, Ilwis, Earth Observation

On-demand transformation of OpenStreetMap Data into common GIS formats

September 19th, 2012 @ 10:18 by Sarah Harvey
Posted in Geoprocessing, GSoC

The culmination of 13 long and arduous weeks as part of Google Summer of Code 2012 has produced a new prototype feature within Web Processing Service: the ability to take OpenStreetMap data and transform it on the fly into other GIS formats.

What does this mean?

We can now directly interface with OpenStreetMap servers (Overpass API) such that we can send custom queries for map data retrieval, and have it returned not as OSM XML files, but rather any GIS format that is supported by WPS. This is demonstrable through the WPS test client on the demo server. Here is a breakdown of the features implemented:

  • Standard conversion of existing OSM XML files into other GIS formats (basic GML, KML, and Shapefiles)
  • On-the-fly conversion of Overpass API output into other GIS formats
    • Option for OSM passthrough
    • Option for any of the GIS formats supported by WPS as output
    • Option to show original Overpass query

Currently there are two sample algorithms that are bundled in this project:

  • A sample implementation of a Bounding Box algorithm for retrieving specific areas of the OpenStreetMap planet.osm
  • A generic implementation that takes any string query and sends it to the Overpass server, and retrieves the result for processing

This allows for adventurous developers to go in and create their own custom algorithms for WPS that interface directly with OpenStreetMap.

Some videos of this in action are available here:

More details on installation, configuration, and development can be found on the wiki page for this project.

Comments and Future work

Of course, this is probably not the end. There exist many avenues of future work, some of which I have thought of during the process of development, and some which have been suggested to me. A short list of what would be useful next steps: (more…)

Release of the OX-Framework 1.12

September 7th, 2012 @ 15:16 by Arne Bröring
Posted in Sensor Web

After several months of work, we are happy to announce today the release of the OX-Framework 1.12*! Go ahead and check it out here.

Looking at the development during the past years, starting back in 2006, the OX-Framework (OWS Access Framework) was designed to be usable as a basis for Java applications providing easy access to all kinds of OGC Web Services. With the re-design of the OX-Framework to its current 1.12 version, we shifted the perspective of the OX-Framework more to a collection of API modules. These modules represent re-usable middleware components and focus on the interaction with Sensor Web services. Thereby, the OX-Framework still greatly facilitates the development of client as well as server applications. Today, 52°North’s latest SPS implementation, the SOS Importer and our various Sensor Web clients already utilize the OX-Framework 1.12.

With the re-design, we especially focused on a high modularity of the OX-Framework. We realized this through a well encapsulated Maven structure. Achieving this modularity required a great portion of refactoring and solving of undesired dependencies within the old version of the OX-Framework. While this new modularity gives future developers a better flexibility in using the OX-Framework, we also managed to keep the well-established software design as well as the existing interfaces to preserve backwards compatibility.

The next development steps on our roadmap focus on a full replacement of the current soft-typing approach by new hard-typed interfaces. This will further facilitate the usage of OGC Web Services through the OX-Framework. A hard-typed service interface offers methods to directly create a service connection with only the required parameters and using sensible defaults for all other settings. Our goal is to make client interaction with services easier and more stable for both experienced and new Sensor Web developers.


* After a lot of discussion on the appropriate version numbering, we decided on 1.12 for this release. The major version number indicates the given backwards compatibility with previous versions. As minor version number, we wanted to pick a higher number than just 0 or 1, because the current version of the OX-Framework has evolved quite a bit. So we decided on ‘12’, which also reflects the year of birth of this release.

SOS Administrator: A new user experience starts now!

September 3rd, 2012 @ 08:49 by Shubham Sachdeva
Posted in 52°North, GSoC, Sensor Web

The end of Google Summer of Code is a new beginning of the SOS Administrator. This year, the SOS Administrator project aimed to improve the user experience with 52°North Sensor Observation Service (SOS) and make its administration more intuitive. We tried to achieve that goal by making 52°North SOS installations just a matter of few clicks. First stepping stones were also laid out to facilitate SOS administrators by getting together useful features within a adminstrative backend.

The web-based SOS Installer is a really handy tool for inexperienced users who want to try the 52°North SOS, but also an equally useful tool for experienced users who appreciate a simpler and quicker installation procedure. You deploy the standard SOS web archive and visit the installer page. The wizard (more…)