FOSS4G Barcelona 2010 – Day 1 – GeoServer Workshop

Today I attended a workshop at the FOSS4G at the Facultat d’Informàtica de Barcelona (FIB) in the Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya.  As always I arrived by my BikeFriday (whew it’s hot here but Barcelona is by far the best city I have every cycled in).

The GeoServer Workshop was hosted by Andrea Aime and Mike Pumphrey both of OpenGeo.

GeoServer Logo

We installed the OpenGeo Suite and it was a cinch.  We loaded SHP data through single file path, whole directory of SHP and with an Import Tool.  This just points the server to an existing folder on the server, it does not move data from your PC up to the Server although the GeoServer is completely administered and authored with a web interface.

I really like the ease of use and the ability to connect to data (mainly SHP, PostGIS and WFS – Vector) and various Raster/GRID formats.  I noticed on the GeoServer site that there are some more extensions such as Oracle and SQL Server 2008,  I would like to try that soon.

Now there is something that did disturb me a little, it was the stylization.  It is completely based on the OGC Styled Layer Descriptor (SLD) .  Basically XML.  The same issue is with MapGuide Point Style where you have to tweak away in XML to get it look the way you want (yucky).  I was glad to see that there is an application within the GeoServer called “Styler” that is a Rest Extension for GeoServer (GeoExt) and it comes built-in with the OpenGeo Suite…which is why when I installed GeoServer on my MacBook Pro it does not have the Styler available.  (this is an 80% solution but it beats whacking around in XML to make a cartographically pleasing map).

The layers were previewed with a default OpenLayers interface, and then with Google Earth.  This was really interesting as I learned that with a simple URL parameter, GeoServer can out put the map or layer as many types of data to the client.  For example, the url:


will return streets as KML into Google Earth.

For WFS you could even request a zipped shapefile!


pretty cool!

I am really used to MapGuide so my only question in the class was how to I tag each feature with a URL derived by the column and some other text.  One other attendee suggested first I would have to build the URL in the database (what if I am using SHP?), but there was no real answer, I think the recommendation was to use the ImageMap extension for GeoServer but I am not sure how to make it dynamic for any layer.  Perhaps an OpenLayers tooltip?..

I can’t wait to see what happens tomorrow..

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Gordon Luckett

Arrow Geomatics Inc's Gordon Luckett


gordon dot luckett at arrowgeo dot com 1-519-837-9500 (Arrow Geomatics Inc.)

Checkout MapGuide Guy’s Youtube Channel


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