[OSGeo-Discuss] looking for input on field enabled desktop /internet project

Jack Green Jack.Green at ngis.com.au
Tue Jul 27 17:02:45 PDT 2010

You might also want to take a look at MapWindow. It has a PostGIS plugin
and editing capabilities. I think it may struggle with the related table
component though. 





From: discuss-bounces at lists.osgeo.org
[mailto:discuss-bounces at lists.osgeo.org] On Behalf Of karsten vennemann
Sent: Tuesday, 27 July 2010 9:05 PM
To: discuss at lists.osgeo.org
Subject: [OSGeo-Discuss] looking for input on field enabled desktop
/internet project


Hi all,


I am working on a project that deals with storing, retrieving and
displaying field collected data about plant species. Data will often be
entered on laptops in the field and later uploaded onto the web and
database server once an internet connection is available. Thus the
project involves both


* an internet based application for managing , updating and viewing
spatial data and

* a desktop application enabling the "disconnected collection" and
editing of data This is pretty similar to the approach taken by the
initial version of the Open Ocean map (desktop component based on QGIS -
compare http://www.ecotrust.org/ocean/OpenOceanMap.html ) 


While from my perspective the web based part can relatively easily
accomplished using Open Source components, the other component - a
desktop tool to collect the data in the field that should at the same
time be compatible with the desktop system could potentially prove to be
more tricky. One problem is that we might have to use ArcGIS as a
desktop tool because users are familiar with it and are already using it
for other tasks. Unfortunately (from my experience) ArcGIS is not really
good in displaying related table information in one-to-many


Basically for each mapping polygon (there are many areas and many
species) over time different users will enter information about species.
Those will have times attached to them. This will create a time series
that once can monitor changes over time (did the species decrease or
increase in that area). Thus the database design I wanted to use will
have 3 related tables 


1. polygon GIS layer of areas (static) 


2. a 'record" table (update all the time)

that will store each record ever entered with fields such as species
name, species_id, user, date, and map_area_id (this table will be
related in a may to one relationship to the mapping areas using the
map_area_id (many records related to one mapping area. In the end this
table will have information for each of the mapping areas, for each area
several hundred species, for each species multiple entries over time and
from different users. Thus that absolutely doe not follow the standard
format of one column one could use to symbolize this on the map in
ArcGIS. However using zigGIS this can be pulled from PostGIS. Using a
"view" in a PostGIS with a definition query in ArcGIS can handle the
display in ArcGIS .


3. table of species (pretty static)

with specific species data (common and scientific names, species_id, web
links etc...) related to the records table using the species_id  


Now I am looking for a field enabled solution (no internet access) on
the desktop that can handle the editing of multiple mapping areas
(assigning to many map areas values for one of the species for example.
The data should be stored in a format that we can then (hopefully
easily) upload to the PostGIS database as new records ... ArcGIS can
handle the editing very well but not the relationships we will create
(out of the box at least not), also zigGIS does not allow the related
tables to be edited out of the box.

We could do this adapting the OpenOcean Map tools - but would need to
enable advanced editing (to allow updating many map areas records and
multiple attribute data at once in a form) . Or we could use ArcGIS for
editing and define an upload mechanism to PostGIS . But whish data
storage format to use ZigGIS is not ready for editing for related tables
... Another thought is using some set-up of GIS on a stick (flash drive)


Any suggestions how to approach this best?

Thanks Karsten

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