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

Introducing the new ArcMap WPS Client(s)

May 29th, 2013 @ 11:29 by Benjamin Pross
Posted in Communities, Geoprocessing


A Web Processing Service is little without a client. We have developed various clients ourselves in the past, but most of the projects have been discontinued. We developed a prototypical WPS client for ArcMap, however this was never deemed ready to be released. Another open source client we came across is the Quantum GIS WPS client. It works with several WPS implementations and also supports data streaming (see this post). Last year the Ordnance Survey of the U.K. approached us. They use WPS for web-based generalization of vector data. On the client side they use a plugin for OpenJUMP. They then wanted to make the Web Gen WPS accessible from additional GIS platforms and chose ArcGIS as the next target platform. Our mission was to mature our existing prototypical ArcMap WPS client and enable it to work with the WebGen WPS. The existing OpenJUMP client for WebGen WPS is limited to WebGen WPS. It is common that WPS clients can only connect to specific WPS instances, due to the openness of the WPS standard regarding input and output data types. There is practically no limit to what a complex input/output can be. Therefore, a client that needs to handle these inputs and outputs can not support all possible data types. The idea for an Extensible WPS ArcMap client was born.

Welcome Google Summer of Code 2013 students!

May 29th, 2013 @ 10:17 by Ann Hitchcock
Posted in Geoprocessing, Geostatistics, GSoC, Sensor Web

52°North is pleased to welcome the following students to work with us closely this summer on four Google Summer of Code projects!

  1. Mohammad Ahmed Hamed Yakoub (from Cairo, Egypt) will tackle the ” Open Sensor Search” project (Sensor Web Community) and implement a one stop shop for finding sensor data.
  2. Khalid Alqinyah (from Riyadh, Saudi Arabia) will spend the summer working on the “52°North Processing Server Admin Interface” (Geoprocessing Community) and transfer the current HTML/JSP approach to a modern and flexible web application framework.
  3. Patrick Noble (from San Luis Obispo, CA, USA) will make seismic data from a variety of different sources available through the SOS  in the “Seismic Data Modeling in SOS” (Sensor Web Community) project.
  4. Jinlong Yang (From State College, PA, USA) will implement and/or improve generic classes, methods and tools for handling and analyzing large-scale trajectory data with R in the “Trajectory Analysis in R” (Geostatistics Community).

The community bonding period has just begun. During this time, students get to know their mentors, read documentation, get up to speed to begin working on their projects. Programming will start mid-June. We really look forward to working with them on these exciting projects! Expect a few blog posts by every student and find out more about the projects in the wiki.

The whole Google Summer of Code program received 5999 proposals from 4,144 students for 177 mentoring organizations (source). 52°North received 17 proposal submissions (2012: 35 – which is related to Google significantly reducing the number of proposals allowed per student). We at 52°North are extremely happy that, same as last year, we received four slots and were able to match them with four promising students to work on challenging projects across three communities!

Still going strong

May 27th, 2013 @ 08:40 by Martin Schouwenburg
Posted in ILWIS

The last weeks I mainly wrote about the next generation of Ilwis. But this is only part of my work, the smaller part even. The main work still goes to Ilwis 3. Undoubtedly there will come a point when the work on Ilwis 3 will only be maintenance but that is still some way off in the future. So what have I been doing in in Ilwis 3? Four main things

  1. Integrating parts of the Orfeo library into Ilwis
  2. Integrating WFS import into Ilwis
  3. Extending the ILWIS WPS
  4. Debugging

The main part of my work has been the integration of the Orfeo library into Ilwis. Orfeo is a big remote sensing library of CNES ( that I wanted to be available in ILWIS for some time. Not that I need or want everything from that library but there are still a lot of routines in there that are useful to have available in Ilwis. The planning at the moment is that the following becomes available in the Ilwis 3.8.4

  • Vegegation indexes (~10 routines)
  • Atmospheric correction
  • Image fusion
  • Cloud detecttion
  • Road extraction
  • Image segmentation
  • Some unsupervised classification schemes
  • Unmixing


MapCalc 2.0 and TabCalc 2.0

May 22nd, 2013 @ 10:07 by Martin Schouwenburg
Posted in ILWIS

Map/TabCalc was and will be a central part of ILWIS. In ILWIS 3 it is a very compact way to do calculations on whole data sets at once. It is easy to learn and forms the basis for many scripts that access ILWIS 3 functionality. However, it is far from perfect.

  • There is a confusing set of interfaces with different names and different subsets of the command set. You have the commandline, simplecalc, mapcalc, tabcalc, script; not easy to explain the differences between them. Is this really needed? I don’t think so.
  • There is a severe lack of conditionals and looping in the script. That’s ok if you have the IFF constructs, but they only work in a single call. There is no IF/THEN/ELSE. There is no WHILE. This severely limits the control you need for a script. Now you might make a case that you don’t need that since you can integrate ILWIS with the ILWIS-C commandline construct in almost any existing script environment. I do sympathize somewhat with this argument, but I don’t like a mandatory dependency on some external scripting environment (e.g. python). I do need to make a scripting environment for backward compatibility anyway, so improving it is not that big a deal.
  • The implementation of the current scripting is a mess. Its performance is ok. It does things reasonably efficiently, but it is one of the very few parts of the code in which I would rather not make any changes. The inner workings of it are rather obscure. As far as I know (the core of it was written before I started with ILWIS), there is no formal syntax with nice EBNF notation that runs through a parser/lexer generator combination to generate some abstract syntax tree or equivalent. It is a meticulously, hand crafted parser/lexer that does all the (very) complicated stuff that is normally obscured from the programmer and you must understand it if you want to make changes. I don’t expect that many readers have ever made custom languages (I have), but that is a horrible way to do it. As programmer, I only want to deal with the EBNF and (in this case) the abstract syntax tree. The unreadable code that connects these two is automatically generated with well know techniques and proven tools (that was also the case 18 years ago. I am a bit puzzled why those tools were not used).


enviroCar crowd-funding initiative – spread the word!

May 16th, 2013 @ 10:34 by Arne Bröring
Posted in 52°North, Citizen Science, Communities, Sensor Web

enviroCar invites you to use your car’s sensor data for exploring the effect of your driving style on environmental aspects such as fuel consumption, CO2 production, or noise emission. All you need is an OBD2 adapter (available at Amazon starting from 18,-€) and our enviroCar App.

enviroCar enables you to share your car’s sensing data. With your data you can contribute to better urban planning and smarter cities and answer questions such as:

  • what are the actual spatial characteristics of fuel consumption in your city?
  • how to optimize traffic planning to reduce emissions effectively?
  • what to learn from average speed maps?

The figure below shows the concept of enviroCar:


The analysis of collected data can result in great analyses such as this one, noise emissions caused by cars within a city:


Now, you are asked to contribute to the success of this project!

If you are as enthusiastic as us about the possibilities of such a platform, please SUPPORT us through our crowd-funding initiative on Indiegogo.

Also, please spread the word and LIKE us on Facebook and FOLLOW us on Twitter!

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