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From Kevan Miller <>
Subject Re: [VOTE][PROPOSAL] Spatial Information Systems Proposal
Date Fri, 19 Feb 2010 20:20:43 GMT


On Feb 16, 2010, at 10:15 PM, Ian Holsman wrote:

> Given the lack of response on the proposal, I'll assume lazy consensus and call a vote.
> I'd like to propose incubation for a new  project called the Spatial Information Systems
(SIS). I think we have all the
> necessary bits in place for the proposal to go forward. note. Both Patrick&  Chris
are comitters in the lucene/hadoop projects.
> Proposal:
> [] +1. Accept SIS into the Incubator.
> [] 0.  Don't care.
> [] -1. Do not accept (and why.)
> Thanks
> Ian Holsman Champion of the SIS.
> ------ Wiki Text Copied Below -----
> On behalf of the locallucene, localsolr communities, JPL, and myself, I
> present an Apache Spatial incubator Proposal.
> Apache Spatial will be a toolkit, allowing spatial data to be represented
> and queried in multitude of implementing technologies.
> The proposal is
> and I have included a text version of the proposal below.
> I appreciate any feedback and discussion.
> Thanks
> Patrick O'Leary / Chris Mattmann / Sean McCleese / Paul Ramirez / Ben Lewis
> ------------------
> Apache SIS, A toolkit for constructing spatial information systems.
> Abstract
> Spatial information systems (SIS) (akin to Geographic Information Systems,
> or GIS) are rapidly growing as information has taken on a sense of location.
> This location context has allowed people to start exploring different ways
> of searching, clustering, and displaying information. Spatial queries such
> as:
>    * point-radius, e.g., show me all objects within X miles of point P,
> typically a lat/lon;
>    * bounding box, e.g., show me all objects within a box defined by south,
> east, north, west bounding coordinates; and
>    * polygon, an extension of bounding box to arbitrary shapes defined by
> arbitrary points
> are becoming a part of everyday life, where some combination of the above is
> used to find a restaurant, determine sites of interest for climate research,
> for data reduction and subsetting, or demographic profiling, social
> networking, and a host of other applications. There exist a number of
> libraries, and frameworks written in Java, C/C++, and other P/Ls that deal
> with the aforementioned issues, however the one consistent homogeneity is
> that most of these software do not include ASF-friendly licensing. On the
> contrary, most of these software systems and tools are LGPL licensed, as
> their use is primarily to produce GIS software, which is then sold for a
> profit. What's more, even the standards organization the Open Geospatial
> Consortium (OGC) promotes the use of LGPL SIS/GIS software to implements its
> interfaces and specifications, leaving those interested in a more
> ASL-friendly solution with a major hole to fill, or having to deal with the
> license implications of leveraging LGPL open source software in their
> applications.
> We propose to construct Apache SIS, an ASL 2.0 licensed toolkit that spatial
> information system builders or users can leverage to support the
> aforementioned activities, alleviating much of the software and potentially
> legal difficulties in implementing SIS/GIS systems. This project will look
> to expand on those concepts and serve as a place to store reference
> implementations of spatial algorithms, utilities, services, etc. as well as
> serve as a sandbox to explore new ideas. Further, the goal is to have Apache
> SIS grow into a thriving Apache top-level community, where a host of SIS/GIS
> related software (OGC datastores, REST-ful interfaces, data standards, etc.)
> can grow from and thrive under the Apache umbrella.
> Proposal
> The Internet is changing to the "local world" wide web, where information no
> longer exists in a digital vapor, but contains real world context. From news
> stories to tweets, location is a very powerful concern, evidenced by the
> proliferation of popular websites offering geo-referenced information for
> all relevant content (Flickr, Twitter, Google Maps, etc). Besides the social
> utility of spatial data, there are also national interest related uses of
> prime importance. For example, from a national policy perspective, and
> federal agency perspective (e.g., NASA, NOAA, DoD), global climate concerns
> have underscored the importance of science data collected about our planet,
> all of which is location based. So-called "operational" and "actionable"
> data including climate models, weather forecasts as well as scientific,
> "offline" data (measurements of CO2 in the atmosphere, measurements of sea
> surface temperature, etc.) all provide some sense of where the data was
> created, where currently resides, and/or what it references. These are just
> a sampling of the spatially relevant information available -- the list is
> growing as scientists, policy-makers and decision makers develop new
> downstream activities that leverage spatial data. As we move forward there
> is also no reason to restrict the focus of SIS/GIS to just this planet as a
> point of reference; other sciences (astrophysics, planetary science) have
> been collecting information about our universe and other celestial bodies
> for years, information that could be "spatial"-enabled. There has been a
> growing recent interest in data collected about the Earth's moon as in the
> case of NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, its Lunar CRater Observation
> and Sensing Satellite (LCROSS) and its Lunar Mapping and Modeling Project
> (LMMP), as well as Google Moon and other such projects. Spatial data can
> offer substantial value added for consumers of data through the use of
> location-rich metadata, as well as through the use of layering, allowing
> users of spatial data to explore layers of data (points of interest,
> elevation and other parameters) in an interactive fashion. What's more, the
> algorithms that drive SIS/GIS can be leveraged to represent data which is
> not just geographical based, such as bio-informatics, fingerprints search,
> facial search etc., providing substantial reuse benefits if an ASF-friendly
> software system that provided SIS/GIS functionality existed. Apache SIS will
> provide a manner in which spatial data such as that described above can be
> represented and used with existing technologies. The proposed founders of
> Apache SIS all have relevant and experience either developing spatial
> software that can easily perform the above tasks, or have experience working
> on the domains containing the georeferenced data of interest. We will
> leverage this experience and data expertise to deliver an Apache SIS system
> of use to a broad community of interest, making Apache an ideal home for
> this important software.
> Background
> There are several projects of different spatial capabilities available
> today, the two most common are:
>    * GeoTools
>    * PostGIS
> Apache SIS goal is not aiming to compete with these tools but, instead, to
> provide a spatial framework that enables better representation of
> coordinates for searching, data clustering, archiving, or any other relevant
> spatial needs. By developing a toolkit framework that is independent of
> underlying implementation we hope to also reduce duplication of both
> software and effort with a published interface which other software projects
> can simply tie it into their own frameworks. The initial concept behind
> Apache SIS comes from LocalLucene, an extension to Apache Lucene that
> provided a Geographical filter on top of the Lucene search library.
> LocalLucene went on to become LocalSolr, and has since been included in many
> frameworks from Spring to Hibernate, to Hbase, and to Compass. The
> LocalLucene framework has also been contributed to Apache Lucene under the
> moniker "Spatial Lucene", and currently exists as a contrib module within
> the Lucene project, version 2.9 and later. From January 2009-Dec 2009, while
> working on building out spatial capabilities in Apache SOLR for oceans-data
> and lunar-data related projects at NASA JPL, Chris Mattmann stumbled across
> LocalLucene and LocalSOLR, and eventually discussed its limitations and
> benefits with Patrick O'Leary, along with the rest of the proposed
> committers in this effort. The consensus was there was a significant lack of
> a generic spatial data focused library out there in Apache land, and if
> present, such a library would present a unique contribution to the folks who
> were working with GIS data, that weren't only interested in search. In other
> words, there are a host of activities besides search (visualization, data
> reduction, statistical analysis) where a generic SIS/GIS library would be of
> prime importance. Both Chris, and Patrick, as well as the other committers
> had been stung by the issues in dealing with LGPL libraries and there was a
> difficult time finding any SIS library that was useful, and also ASL
> licensed. From these conversations, Patrick and Chris approached Ian
> Holsman, and asked for his support in championing this proposal and helping
> to get this effort started. From there, we all agreed that the general
> community at large would be best served by establishing a top level project
> that focused primarily on solving spatial problems including search,
> visualization, data reduction and the aforementioned use cases.
>    * Apache SIS will also be the first known spatial project of this nature
> to be licensed under Apache License v2.0, the vast majority of other GIS
> projects are LGPL. Further Apache SIS will be the first known (to our
> knowledge) Apache top level project focused on implementing spatial
> standards, and focused on building an Apache-based community in this
> thriving area.
> Initial Goals
>    * The initial goals of the proposed project are:
>    * Viable community around the Apache SIS codebase
>    * Active relationships and possible cooperation with related projects
> and communities such as OGC
>    * Provide a geo-spatial coordinate system, with planetary plugins.
>    * Provide a polygon and line string coordinate comparison system.
>    * Build a Java framework to start out, but look to develop other P/L
> support (Python, Ruby, as a start).
> Current Status
> Meritocracy
> All the initial committers are familiar with the meritocracy principles of
> Apache, and have already worked on the various source code bases (incl.
> Lucene Contrib, Tika, Nutch, and SOLR), providing issue comments, patches,
> and in some cases, committing (O'Leary&  Mattmann) and participating as PMC
> members (Mattmann). We will follow the normal meritocracy rules also with
> other potential contributors.
> Community
> That Apache SIS community will be a co-mingling of several other communities
> that depend on Spatial&  Geo Spatial solutions for their projects, the
> expectation is there will be members from the original LocalLucene project,
> the strong LocalSolr project, as well as Compass, Lucene and Solr at very
> early if not immediate stages. We will also look to garner support and
> contributions from other projects that are working in spatial, e.g.,
> PostGIS, and other OGC efforts as well. There is already a growing number of
> folks at NASA who are also interested in spatial systems and work in the
> area. We will approach those people as well and attempt to bring them into
> the Apache SIS community. The idea would be for Apache SIS to grow into a
> top-level project that allows for sub projects based on SIS focus
> (visualization, data reduction/algorithms, OGC standards, etc.)
> Core Developers
> The initial developers come from a diverse set of backgrounds ranging from
> software architecture, search, academic, research/practice, to data mining.
> All of the proposed initial developers require the functionality of Apache
> SIS (Ramirez - LMMP, McCleese - oceans data, Mattmann -lunar/oceans, O'Leary
> - local search) in a compatible way.
> Alignment
> Existing Apache projects currently rely on the proposed starting point for
> Apache SIS, such as Lucene and Solr. We will begin by refactoring the
> LocalLucene contribution into a library independent of any underlying
> substrate (e.g., independent of Lucene). We will then look to add in
> functionality for calculating distances, functionality for persisting
> spatial data (to DBMS'es, search indexes, key/value stores, to Hadoop/etc.)
> We will follow by then focusing on data models and export of spatial data,
> culminating in an initial release that includes all of the basic
> functionality to at a minimum compute on spatial data, and store/export it.
> Known Risks
> Orphaned products
> Several projects currently contain implementations of the initial code basis
> for Apache SIS, these projects can continue with the existing code base
> without impact, or adopt Apache SIS and reap the benefits of a common code
> base. Our goal is to provide value-added, shared ASL-licensed spatial
> software that is easy to adapt and adopt in any of the existing Apache (and
> external communities) developing SIS/GIS. Our initial focus will be on
> building a Java library but we will look at means for extending the Java
> library into additional P/Ls and frameworks.
> Inexperience with Open Source
> All the initial developers have worked on open source before and many are
> committers (O'Leary, Mattmann) and PMC members (Mattmann) within other
> Apache projects. McCleese and Ramirez are recent Apache committers on the
> soon to be initiated OODT project that was accepted into the Incubator.
> Homogenous Developers
> The initial developers come from a variety of backgrounds and with a variety
> of needs for the proposed toolkit. Further, the developers consist of folks
> from at least two widely diverse companies, AT&T Interactive and NASA's Jet
> Propulsion Laboratory, spanning industry and government/research.
> Relationships with Other Apache Products
> Apache SIS is related to the following projects, non of the projects are
> direct competitors, but contain some functionality provided by Apache SIS
>    * Lucene Java, contains Spatial Lucene. We will look to leverage this
> code, combined with updates present at Local Lucene at Sourceforge as a
> starting point for the refactoring activity.
>    * Apache Solr, uses functionality from Spatial Lucene and may have some
> inspiration for how to perform some of the spatial computations we would
> like to have present in Apache SIS. Once Apache SIS matures, Solr could rely
> on SIS as a library component.
>    * Apache HBase - can index spatial reference id's and incorporate SIS
> query methodology to extend it to providing Spatial services once Apache SIS
> matures.
> Initial Source
> Apache SIS is an amalgamation of Spatial Lucene, and LocalSolr components.
>    * Spatial Lucene contains the original Spatial Coordinate system
>    * LocalSolr provides polygon and line string builders and comparator
> features.
>    * Local Lucene at Sourceforge contains a number of updates that we will
> merge into Apache SIS
> The above code sources will serve as a basis for a fundamental
> generalization and refactoring activity that will result in an Apache SIS
> system focused on: spatial computation, and spatial data storage/export to
> start out. Activities such as visualization, reduction, and standards will
> occur downstream of this initial activity once the code base becomes stable.
> Source and Intellectual Property Submission Plan
> All seed code and other contributions will be handled through the normal
> Apache contribution process.
> We will also contact other related efforts for possible cooperation and
> contributions. Local Lucene is ASL-licensed, as is the other code bases
> (Local SOLR, and Spatial Lucene). All proposed committers have CLAs on file
> and are familiar with the code contribution process in Apache.
> External Dependencies
> At the moment, we will build Apache SIS so that is has no external
> dependencies, and is self contained. If we do require common dependencies,
> such as libraries for computation, or for storage/persistence, we will
> ensure that they leverage an ASL or compatible license. For example, to
> support persistence, we may leverage other libraries (e.g., Derby, K/V
> stores, etc.), and in these cases, we will focus on those libraries with a
> compatible license.
> Cryptography
> There is no cryptography required in Apache SIS at present time.
> Required Resources
>    * Mailing lists
>    *
>    *
>    *
>    *
> Subversion Directory
>    *
> Issue Tracking
>    * JIRA SIS (SIS)
> Other Resources
> none
> Initial Committers
> Name        | Email        Institution    CLA
> Patrick O'Leary    | pjaol at apache dot org | AT&T Interactive| yes
> Chris A. Mattmann|mattmann at apache dot org| NASA Jet Propulsion
> Laboratory|yes
> Sean McCleese| smcclees at jpl dot nasa dot gov| NASA Jet Propulsion
> Laboratory|yes
> Paul Ramirez| pramirez at jpl dot nasa dot gov|NASA Jet Propulsion
> Laboratory|yes
> Sponsors
>    * Champion
>    * Ian Holsman (ianh at apache dot org)
> Nominated Mentors
>    * Ian Holsman (ianh at apache dot org)
> Sponsoring Entity
>    * Apache Incubator
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