Geospatial – News

QGIS developer and user meetings

28 June 2016

Camptocamp attended the 2nd QGIS users meeting and the 15th QGIS hackfest at the University of Girona, Spain.

This article will focus on Camptocamp’s contributions at these 2 meetings, although many great presentations and contributions were also made by other contributors. Indeed, during the hackfest, time was reserved  for developers to present their latest developments (improved interface with the Style Management panel functionality with 3D globe and simplifying interface, etc.).

Over the past QGIS hackfests, Camptocamp has been focusing on three themes:

  • the documentation;
  • the server part;
  • the processing tool.

The advancements of all three themes are described below, following a brief presentation of the user meeting.

QGIS User meeting

Le hackfest was preceded by two user days. These two days are quite similar to user seminars held in Montpellier (France) but geared to a wider and more international audience.  The first day was dedicated to workshops and the second day to conferences. Camptocamp attended the conference on the use of OGC standards within QGIS with quick feedback on the compatibility of GeoMapfish with QGIS server. The conclusion of this presentation is that the OGC standards are fairly well integrated in QGIS and with a very good client-server interoperability. The interoperability problems are usually due to little-used standards like standard SLD / SE (on this subject see the article by our colleagues NeoGeo Technologies). The various exchanges that we have had as a result of this presentation indicate that the community shares these analyzes.

The presentations (and workshops) are available on the event page.

Hackfest

As mentioned, we focused on the three themes outlined above.

QGIS server

Regarding QGIS server, we worked on two areas:

  • consolidate the server part
  • ease its deployment

The server part generally meets our needs around the WMS and WFS services. However, few limitations appeared during our QGIS server integration testing in GeoMapFish. The first problem appeared during a GetFeature query in a WFS service if it contained a maxFeature setting to limit the number of results. In a WFS service, it is a good practice to limit the number of results to avoid overloading the client part with too much data. The following changes concern the consolidation of QGIS server when it needs to read a configuration file from one version when the server part is in another version. Generally, there are rendering problems rather difficult to analyze. The logs indicate early this inconsistency.

=======================================================================
= WARNING: This project file was saved by a different version of QGIS =
=======================================================================

At the level of deployment, Camptocamp has been working for several months on the use of Docker in its production turnover process. We have several production projects using it and we want to homogenize the deployment process for all our projects. Naturally, we proposed a Docker image which is the most scalable. The project is still in the advanced prototype stage and still requires the automation of the build, which will be done later. The build uses the Rockerfile project to compile the application in a container and install it in an image. This avoids keeping all dependencies of unnecessary compilations during the installation which increase the size of the image. Compiling QGIS being too long for Travis, a solution must be found for automation.

Module processing

We worked on a restructuring of the processing module. One part could be incorporated at the time of version 3.0. There is little to show here because the result is essentially a code redesign prototype that resulted in the preparatory discussions.

Documentation

The documentation is the part of the QGIS project that requires the most attention. Several contributors have improved the documentation but it is clear that it needs other contributors. A first task was to organize a workshop to explain the current workflow and propose more simple ones. This should result in a documentation that describes the different stages (for the next hackfest?). Then we focused on writing documentation and proofreading of contributions from other editors. The proofreading phase is an important moment in the process because it allows a feedback on the work done: are there drafting error? are the guidelines followed? are the location of the paragraph and the chapter structure (still) relevant?

The documentation is now updated to version 2.10 and about forty new features need  to be written for 2.12. The goal is to complete this version for the next hackfest (or even before). Camptocamp will keep on contribute to finalize the best documentation and will continue the work started several months ago to improve the documentation. However, if you want to contribute, proofreading is probably the most easy and accessible task to non-developers.

Camptocamp will invest 3 days of R & D to finalize the version 2.14 of the documentation and to allow its publication at the time of the release of QGIS version 2.16 and the passage of QGIS 2.14 in LTR (Long Time Release) version.