[OSGeo-Discuss] idea for an OSGeo project -- a new, open data format

P Kishor punk.kish at gmail.com
Tue Nov 13 06:52:36 PST 2007

So, I am thinking, Shapefile is the de facto data standard for GIS
data. That it is open (albeit not Free) along with the deep and wide
presence of ESRI's products from the beginning of the epoch, it has
been widely adopted. Existence of shapelib, various language bindings,
and ready use by products such as MapServer has continued to cement
Shapefile as the format to use. All this is in spite of Shapefile's
inherent drawbacks, particularly in the area of attribute data

What if we came up with a new and improved data format -- call it
"Open Shapefile" (extension .osh) -- that would be completely Free,
single-file based (instead of the multiple .shp, .dbf, .shx, etc.),
and based on SQLite, giving the .osh format complete relational data
handling capabilities. We would require a new version of Shapelib,
improved language bindings, make it the default and preferred format
for MapServer, and provide seamless and painless import of regular
.shp data into .osh for native rendering. Its adoption would be quick
in the open source community. The non-opensource community would
either not give a rat's behind for it, but it wouldn't affect them...
they would still work with their preferred .shp until they learned
better. By having a completely open and Free single-file based, built
on SQLite, fully relational dbms capable spatial data format, it would
be positioned for continued improvement and development.

Is this too crazy?

Puneet Kishor

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