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The PostGIS Development Team released PostGIS 3.0.0alpha1 recently. There are still more changes to be added, like leveraging more of PostgreSQL 12 enhancements. I'll detail the user facing changes you will see in the 3.0.0alpha1 which impact install and upgrade. I hope these changes will make it easier for users to install and upgrade PostGIS extensions.

All these changes were covered in the release email among several others.

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In a previous article Using pg upgrade to upgrade PostGIS without installing older version I demonstrated a trick for upgrading to a newer PostgreSQL instance from PostGIS 2.2 - 2.whatever without having to install the older version of PostGIS in your new PostgreSQL service. Unfortunately that trick does not work if coming from PostGIS 2.1 because in PostGIS 2.2 we renamed a c lib function that backed sql functions in 2.1.

Fear not. There is still a way to upgrade from 2.1 to 2.5 without installing an older version of PostGIS in your new PostgreSQL instance. To do so, you need to add a step and that is to remove the functions in 2.1 that are backed by this renamed lib function. In upcoming PostGIS 3.0, we've added this function back and have it throw an error so that even coming from PostGIS 2.1, you can upgrade just the same as you do from later versions.

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pgAdmin4 version 3.3 released this week comes with a PostGIS geometry viewer. You will be able to see the graphical output of your query directly in pgAdmin, provided you output a geometry or geography column. If your column is of SRID 4326 (WGS 84 lon/lat), pgAdmin will automatically display against an OpenStreetMap background.

We have Xuri Gong to thank for working on this as a PostGIS/pgAdmin Google Summer of Code (GSOC) project. We'd like to thank Victoria Rautenbach and Frikan Erwee for mentoring.

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We've got customers discovering PostGIS and GIS in general or migrating away from ArcGIS family of tools. When they ask, "How do I see my data?", we often point them at QGIS which is an open source GIS desktop with rich integration with PostGIS/PostgreSQL.

QGIS is something that is great for people who need to live in their GIS environment since it allows for easily laying on other datasources, web services and maps. The DBManager tool allows for more advanced querying (like writing Spatial SQL queries that take advantage of the 100s of functions PostGIS has to offer) , ability to import/export data, and create PostgreSQL views.

QGIS has this thing called Projects, which allow for defining map layers and the symbology associated with them. For example what colors do you color your roads, and any extra symbols, what field attributes do you overlay - street name etc. Projects are usually saved in files with a .qgs or .qgz extension. If you spent a lot of time styling these layers, chances are you want to share them with other people in your group. This can become challenging if your group is not connected via network share.

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PostGIS 2.5 is just around the corner. One of the new functions coming is the ST_OrientedEnvelop. This is something I've been waiting for for years. It is the true minimum bounding rectangle, as opposed to ST_Envelope which is an axis aligned bounding rectable.

Below is a pictorial view showing the difference between the two.

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To commemorate PostGIS Day 2017, I put together a 3D scene listing my favorite functions.

You can see it PostGIS Day in 3D

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PostGIS releases a new minor version of PostGIS every one or two years. Each minor version of postgis has a different libname suffix. In PostGIS 2.1 you'll find files in your PostgreSQL lib folder called postgis-2.1.*, rtpostgis-2.1.*, postgis-topology-2.1.*, address-standardizer-2.1.* etc. and in a PostGIS 2.2 you'll find similar files but with 2.2 in the name. I believe PostGIS and pgRouting are the only extensions that stamp the lib with a version number. Most other extensions you will find are just called extension.so e.g. hstore is always called hstore.dll /hstore.so even if the version changed from 9.6 to 10. On the bright side this allows people to have two versions of PostGIS installed in a PostgreSQL cluster, though a database can use at most one version. So you can have an experimental database running a very new or unreleased version of PostGIS and a production database running a more battery tested version.

On the sad side this causes a lot of PostGIS users frustration trying to use pg_upgrade to upgrade from an older version of PostGIS/PostgreSQL to a newer version of PostGIS/PostgreSQL; as their pg_upgrade often bails with a message in the loaded_libraries.txt log file something to the affect:

could not load library "$libdir/postgis-2.2": ERROR:  could not access file "$libdir/postgis-2.2": No such file or directory
could not load library "$libdir/postgis-2.3": ERROR:  could not access file "$libdir/postgis-2.3": No such file or directory

This is also a hassle because we generally don't support a newer version of PostgreSQL on older PostGIS installs because the PostgreSQL major version changes tend to break our code often and backporting those changes is both time-consuming and dangerous. For example the DatumGetJsonb change and this PostgreSQL 11 crasher we haven't isolated the cause of yet. There are several changes like this that have already made the PostGIS 2.4.0 we released recently incompatible with the PostgreSQL 11 head development.

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One of the things I'm most happy about with upcoming PostGIS 2.4.0, due out in about a week is that it is the first version to have almost complete translations into different languages. The Japanese, German, Portugese, and Korean translations are more than 80% complete with Japanese being 96%. You can download the html manuals from PostGIS docs page. Thwre are PDFs for non-Asian languages. Japanese and Korean languages I'm still having issue generating the pdfs.

When you install PostGIS with CREATE EXTENSION postgis;, it also installs the accompanying help extracted from the manual in English format.

The comment generator we have in place is just as happy working with translated docs as it is with the English one so the in db help documents can also be generated in other languages. The help files are located: Japanese, German, Portugese, and Korean

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It's a little known fact that the PostGIS geography type since PostGIS 2.2 (well was introduced in 2.1 I think but had a bug in it until 2.1.4 or so), supports any spheroidal spatial reference system that measures in degrees. When an srid is not specified, it defaults to using 4326, Earth WGS 84 long lat.

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Reminder: Right after the Free and Open Source GIS conference in Boston is the OSGeo / LocationTech code sprint on Saturday August 19th 9AM-5PM at District Hall where project members from various Open Source Geospatial projects will be fleshing out ideas, documenting, coding, and introducing new folks to open source development. All are welcome including those who are unable to make the conference.

We are getting a final head-count this week to plan for food arrangements. If you are planning to attend, add your name to the list https://wiki.osgeo.org/wiki/FOSS4G_2017_Code_Sprint#Registered_Attendees. If you are unable to add your name to the list, feel free to send Regina an email at lr@pcorp.us with your name and projects you are interested in so I can add you to the list. Looking forward to hanging out with folks interested in PostgreSQL and PostGIS development.

District Hall is a gorgeous community space. Check out the District Hall View http://bit.ly/2f61J8c

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