FOSS4G – a developers review – part 3

Rings – Steven Feldman

The third part of EDINA’s developer review of FOSS4G 2013.  This one is from Dimitrios.

Who are you?

My name is Dimitrios and I currently work as a software engineer on the maintenance and development of a service called Digimap for Schools. It is an online mapping service for use by teachers and pupils in UK schools.

I graduated from the University of Edinburgh 6 years ago where I did an MSc in Artificial Intelligence.

What did you hope to get out of attending FOSS4G? 

Not having a pure GIS background, I was interested in looking into the current trends and tools used to build modern online GIS services, including mobile applications. One of the great things about FOSS4G is that there are workshops run by developers.  I participated in 3 workshops where I got to play with a number of different libraries.

Top 3 things you saw at the event 

  • OpenLayers 3: My main focus on the new OpenLayers 3 library which is a complete rewrite and getting to know the new features that are included in this release, probably the biggest one being 2D & 3D convergence, animations and the use of google’s library Closure which I had a chance to play with at the OpenLayers 3 code sprint.    EDINA will be looking at trying out OpenLayers 3 in combination with the Sencha ExtJS library for our services. Soon our services will be using it and our users are going to be the first to benefit from it.
  • Iris Library:  It was very interesting to see the Iris library in action at the Big Data workshop. Iris was initially created by the Met Office used to enable visualisation of weather and climate data. Its ability to handle big data and be able to use only parts of it to visualise it on a map is impressive. The library is not bound to be used only in the command line but also through a GUI as well as a web service which opens up a number of different ways that it can be used.
  • Rendering on HTML 5 Canvas –  A very interesting topic was the use of the HTML5 canvas to store styles on the client side and then be able to render them in real time as there is no need for extra WMS requests.  Such an approach would help reduce the number of HTTP requests and have a better user experience especially for users with limited bandwidth such as schools. Digimap for Schools could therefore benefit by making use of this technique.

What do you intend to investigate when you get back to the office?

The 1 thing I’m definitely going to investigate further is OpenLayers 3 and the closure library. We plan to test it quite soon on Digimap for Schools and measure its performance over OpenLayers 2.

(Editors Note – that would make an interesting blog post, fancy writing something up?)

What’s next?

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