[OSGeo-Standards] Simple Text Format For Transfer of Simple Spatial Features (Killing the GML 3 Beast)

Landon Blake lblake at ksninc.com
Wed Aug 29 17:36:35 EDT 2007

A few days ago this came across the wire from Simone:


"About GML, I am pretty sure that everybody that's been working with the
3.x series can say that it is an ugly beast, big, complex, unfriendly,
hence I am not surprised that KML took over it due to the fact that's
pretty easy to use and implement especially for simple needs."


I have no doubt that the complexity of GML 3 killed a lot of the
momentum behind what I thought GML 2 took a good stab at: A simple text
based file format for the transfer of simple spatial features.


On the OpenJUMP developers mailing list we've been discussing the
overall problem of sharing this type of data between open source GIS
projects, at least in the open source Java GIS community. It seems we
are all using ESRI Shapefiles for data transfer and storage, and this
presents some technical limitations. We've only recently started to talk
about working on an alternative to Shapefiles and GML. Our two ideas so
far are:


[1] A CSV file in which the first row contains feature attribute names,
the second row identifies feature attribute data types using standard
XML data types and WKT for geometry attributes, and in which the other
rows contain the actual attribute values, one feature per row.


[2] A restricted form of GML 2 that will eliminate the need for an
external schema and simplify parsing. Think of this as "GML 2


This is still very much in the discussion stages, but I thought it might
be of interest to some on this mailing list. If there would be others
interested in reviewing and or contributing to the specification of such
a file format, or for the Java code to support reading and writing it,
please let me know.


Landon (A.K.A. - The Sunburned Surveyor)


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