[OSGeo-Discuss] Does rasdaman CE solve an open source geospatial problem?

Edzer Pebesma edzer.pebesma at uni-muenster.de
Fri May 20 00:30:13 PDT 2016

As a scientist, I teach my students that for doing science it is a
requirement to work with open source software, because only then
workflows are fully transparent and can be reproduced by other
scientists without prohibitive license costs. Currently, working
with large amounts of earth observation (EO) or climate model data
typically requires to download these data tile by tile, stitch them
together, and go through all of them. Array databases may simplify
this substantially: after ingesting the tiles, they can directly
work on the whole data as a multi-dimensinal array ("data cube").
Computations on these array are typically embarassingly parallel,
and scale up with the number of cores in a cluster.

Rasdaman is an array data base that comes in two flavours, the open
source community edition (CE) and the commercial enterprise edition
(EE). The differences between the two are clear [1]. When I want to
use rasdaman CE (open source) for scalable image analysis, I get
stuck waiting for one core to finish everything [1]. This is not
going to solve any problems related to computing on large data,
and is not scalable. The bold claim that rasdaman.org opens with
("This worldwide leading array analytics engine distinguishes itself
by its flexibility, performance, and scalability") is not true for
the CE advertised. This has been mentioned in the past on mailing
lists [2,3], but the typical answer from Peter Baumann diverts into
other arguments. Also the benchmark graph (photo from an AGU poster)
[4] that Peter sent this week [5] must refer to the enterprise
edition, since Spark and Hive both scale, but rasdaman CE does not [3].

I assume that on the discussions on this list, ONLY the open
source community edition is considered, compared, and discussed,
as a potential future OSGeo project.

OSGeo supports the needs of the open source geospatial community [6].


 * the bold claims and continuing confusion about whether,
   and which, rasdaman is scalable,
 * the need for OSGeo to give good advice to prospective users
   about technologies that do scale EO data analysis,
 * the current (unfilled!) needs of scientists for good, open source
   software for such analysis, and
 * the potential conflict of interest of its creator [7],

I wonder wether OSGeo should recommend rasdaman CE to the open
source geospatial community.

[1] http://rasdaman.org/wiki/Features
[2] https://lists.osgeo.org/pipermail/incubator/2014-October/002540.html
[3] https://groups.google.com/forum/#!topic/rasdaman-users/66XL3tmDDQI
[5] https://lists.osgeo.org/pipermail/discuss/2016-May/016099.html
[6] http://www.osgeo.org/content/faq/foundation_faq.html
[7] https://lists.osgeo.org/pipermail/discuss/2016-May/016045.html
Edzer Pebesma
Institute for Geoinformatics  (ifgi),  University of Münster
Heisenbergstraße 2, 48149 Münster, Germany; +49 251 83 33081
Journal of Statistical Software:   http://www.jstatsoft.org/
Computers & Geosciences:   http://elsevier.com/locate/cageo/
Spatial Statistics Society http://www.spatialstatistics.info

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