Monday, February 28, 2011

New open source server options for Ubisense myWorld

We have been busy working away on various aspects of Ubisense myWorld. One of the biggest enhancements is behind the scenes, with support for new server options, so that we can run in the cloud or in house.

Up to this point we’ve been working with Arc2Earth, which runs on top of Google App Engine, and both these platforms have worked very well for us, and were a great way of getting an initial system up and running quickly. We see a lot of benefits to running in the cloud, as I’ve talked about on several occasions.

However, a number of our customers, including large utilities and telecom companies, have said that they really like what we’re doing with myWorld, but they would be more comfortable with a solution where the server can run in house. So to support this we have added a new server architecture based on the open source products MapFish and PostGIS. As many of you will know, PostGIS is a very robust spatial database, built on top of PostgreSQL. I have used this on a few projects including whereyougonnabe and have always been very impressed with its functionality and performance. MapFish provides services using data from PostGIS (or from other spatial data sources, including Oracle Spatial, MySQL and Spatialite), using a very similar REST API to that used by Arc2Earth, so that made the migration straightforward and means we can support both server options with a largely common set of code. We’re just using server side components of MapFish, not its client side components (though we might consider using those in the future).

This new server code can run on various operating systems, including Linux and Windows (and Mac!). Customers can run the server in house, while we can now offer services using many different cloud infrastructure providers. We’re currently using Amazon, which has been working well, but it’s good to have alternatives available. We've continued to be pleased with PostGIS, and MapFish too based on our experience so far.

Stay tuned for more news on other cool new functionality on the front end of myWorld coming soon!

1 comment:

Tomo Krajina said...

It would be interesting to know more technical details about how you implemented some algorithms in AppEngine. I'm working on a GPS track sharing project (with some basic GPS manipulation options, nothing big, just a hobby project) and found that it is not always easy to implement things that would be trivial with a classical SQL. For example "find all points within 1km distance from (x,y)".