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W-01: GIS for Web Developers

This talk takes you step-by-step from bare metal to full application. Starting with nothing, you'll have a full FOSS software stack in place by the end of the talk.

We'll start by exploring free datasets out there in the wild. They are stored in a myriad of file formats (some proprietary, some open) and projections. Free tools like GDAL and uDig make it easy to convert them and visualize them. Once the data is normalized, we'll store it in a PostgreSQL/PostGIS database. Not only does the database centralize the mapping data, it opens up quite a few interesting querying capabilities.

Serving up the data is the final piece of the puzzle. We'll look at web services based on the OGC (Open Geospatial Consortium) standards. We'll use Tomcat and the GeoServer WAR to expose our data via OGC interfaces. We'll look at a couple of Ajax-based mapping frameworks (MapBuilder and OpenLayers) that truly bring the power of a Google Maps-like website to your own in-house application.

If you're looking for real-world examples of AJAX in use, you'll find it here. If you're looking for real-world examples of web services in use, you'll find it here. If you enjoyed last year's lab, "Rolling Your Own Google Maps," you're sure to enjoy this one as well.

User Level

Developer. Users should be comfortable using command-line tools. Familiarity with HTML/JavaScript/AJAX is helpful but not necessary.


Scott Davis is an independent software developer and international speaker. His books include JBoss At Work, Google Maps API, GIS for Web Developers: Adding Where to Your Application, and Groovy Recipes. He is the Editor in Chief of