2011 GIS in Action Scripting and Beyond

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GIS in Action Scripting and Beyond Session

GIS In Action March 29, 2011. PSU. 3:30pm-5:00.

Catalog Description

Moderator: Paul Ferro

Beyond arcgisscripting and ArcPy: using Python for spatial data management and processing.

Presenter: Grant Miller-Francisco. If you use ArcGIS, chances are you're aware that Python can be used to script geoprocessing tasks, and (at version 10) manage some aspects of map production. That's great...what else can it do? Python offers a wealth of other resources for managing, processing, and presenting spatial data. Aimed primarily at GIS professionals who use ArcGIS and have some familiarity with Python, this practical presentation will demonstrate some Python packages that can help us think outside the arcgisscripting/ArcPy box. The emphasis will be on lightweight scripts that can be easily integrated with ArcGIS workflows. Topics covered might include:

  • Working environment (PyPI, pip, virtualenv)
  • Geospatial heavy lifting (GDAL/OGR, Shapely)
  • Handling diverse data formats (tablib, xlrd/xlwt, json, xml, kml)
  • Data presentation (ReportLab)
  • Web mapping (web development frameworks, map stacks)


Presenter: Jill Romans. The ESRI Silverlight API for ArcGIS Server is the latest addition to the ESRI ArcGIS Server toolkit. The buzz surrounding Silverlight has left many wondering if Silverlight is a good fit for their organization. This presentation will focus on the Silverlight API, comparing it with the .NET ADF and the Flex API, as well as demonstrate a configurable Geospatial Silverlight viewer for municipalities in which information such as Map service(s), graphic layers, and tabular information to be displayed are stored in an xml configuration file. The goal of the configurable viewer is that a developer is not needed when the information to be displayed in the Silverlight viewer is changed, only the configuration file needs to be modified before deploying the new application.

Creating Tide Stage Lines from Lidar and VDatum

Presenter: Randy Dana. Lidar data collected for the Oregon coast provides accurate bare-earth digital elevation models of the land/sea interface. NOAA's VDatum tool provides good approximations for the elevation of various tide stages along the outer coast and lower estuaries. A scripted process brings these two data sets together to produce vector representations of specific tide stages, where the source data permit. Discussion will include methods to compare lidar flight times to recorded tide heights to estimate for which tide stages useful vector results may be produced.

Audience Notes

Ferro was amusing, introducing the term "yak shaving," which means the work that has to be accomplished before work can begin. He went though a demo of using scripts to create a public art walk using glob, PyPi, pip, and many others (see catalog description of this talk). He recommended the following resources for learning Python:

  • Python Geospatial Development
  • Dive into Python
  • Code like a Pythonista

Dana worked though a project that he used extensive python scripting, though he did not say exactly what scripts. He had to combine DEM with lidar data to find shorelines. One of the interesting things was that the lidar had areas that looked like fault lines on the water. Looking at the data, he realized that these lines were created from different fly overs. He used a script to take the date and position of each lidar point and query the NOAA website to determine the tide, which was then added on to his data. No people ran a query to do this.

Return to PDX-OSGEO 2011 GIS in Action/Unconference .