Q&A with ApacheCon North America Geospatial Software Track Leader George Percivall

Contributed by: 
The Apache Software Foundation

This post originally appeared on the Apache Conferences, BarCamps, and MeetUps blog.

As ApacheCon North America approaches, the ApacheCon team invited George Percivall to discuss OGC’s exciting highlights for the Geospatial Software Track at the 2019 event, to be held 9-12 September in Las Vegas.

Be sure to check out George’s full interview on the Apache Feathercast podcast.

Q: What can people expect from the Geospatial Software Track this year?

A. This year, we've got a great program. Our track begins with “Geospatial Data and Processing -- Reusable Building Blocks", on Monday, 9 September at 9 a.m. The session will start by explaining what existing Apache projects are using geospatial data. We’ll examine how we can define building blocks and reusable code across the projects based upon standards. We’ll have six additional presentations from our community, including ASU, CCRI, Elastic, JPL, Uber, and NVIDIA.

Almost every application and any software that gets written and used will use data that includes location data. Accurately handling that information is important for safety, as well as privacy. This is the scope of what we're talking about here, and how to make that simple, reusable and accurate are the key themes.

Q: For people who will be attending ApacheCon, what makes this a must-attend track and why should employers send their teams to the event?

A. Attendees should come out to the Geospatial Software Track because the data that they're working with and projects they are developing almost always will be using location data and geospatial data.

You can see from the list of presentations below that the Geospatial Software Track is to provide reusable tools that make developer and data science jobs easier. It increases productivity by reusing existing geospatial APIs while lowering the interoperability friction between projects that might be implementing different data structures. With the APIs, the interoperability can be achieved based upon open standards.

Several of the existing Apache projects are already using a set of APIs that OGC has developed based upon geospatial best practices and the recent kinds of RESTful-based API practices. By using those APIs, they can quickly get up to speed on esoteric topics like coordinate reference systems, spatial geometries, spatial data arrays and more. This track is based upon OGC APIs and a lot of Apache work, which helps to provide those building blocks and increase the productivity and the data quality of the developers who are using Apache projects.

Q: What will attendees learn this year from the Geospatial Software Track?

A. Attendees will see how developing applications based on reusable building blocks really pays off in quality and efficiency when you do that reuse. Our track’s presentations are also about learning geospatial concepts and how to work with them accurately, which is another gain for developers from attending the session.

From a data scientist point of view, which is very timely because we're going to be running a workshop specifically about geospatial data science in November, is that geospatial is in some ways just another piece of data.

While geospatial projects involve statistics, there are other aspects of it that can be handled with software. Some parts are unique, in particular dealing with coordinate reference systems; how to get an accurate location on the Earth and how to transfer that location information to others so that they accurately get it.

 

Geospatial Software Track Presentations: 9 September, 2019, 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.

  • “Geospatial Data and Processing - Reusable Building Blocks” - George Percivall, OGC
  • “Geospatial Data Management in Apache Spark”, Jia Yu, ASU & Mohamed Sarwat, ASU
  • “Apache Science Data Analytics Platform Apache (SDAP)”, Thomas Huang, JPL
  • “Using GeoMesa on top of Accumulo, HBase, Cassandra, and big data file formats for massive geospatial data - a LocationTech Project”, James Hughes, CCRI & Eddie Pickle, Radiant Solutions
  • “Geospatial Indexing and Search at Scale with Apache Lucene”, Nick Knize, Elastic
  • “GeoSpatial and Temporal Forecasting in Uber Marketplace”, Chong Sun, Uber
  • “Realtime Geospatial Analytics with GPUs, RAPIDS, and Apache Arrow”, Josh Patterson, NVIDIA

More information on the Geospatial Software Track at ApacheCon North America is avaialble at: apachecon.com/acna19