The Map Is Not The Territory

A blog by Christian Willmes.

SLD production for use with GeoNode/GeoServer

| categories: webdev, geospatial, open source | View Comments

The Problem

Normally I use QGIS as a Desktop GIS for producing geodata and visualization of it for the deployment of web services. For MapServer WMS there is a great toolchain by using the MapServer export plugin. But since a while I am working with the even greater GeoNode application for publishing geodata, which uses GeoServer for the deployment of OGC Services (including WMS).

From a first look, there is no problem, because QGIS supports SLD export out of the box, and GeoNode / GeoServer accepts SLDs for the styling of WMS services. But sadly the SLD produced by QGIS is version 1.1.0 and the GeoNode / GeoServer only accepts SLD 1.0.0 at the moment.

<StyledLayerDescriptor xmlns="" xmlns:ogc="" xmlns:xsi="" version="1.1.0" xmlns:xlink="" xsi:schemaLocation="" xmlns:se="">
QGIS generated SLD 1.1.0 header.

A solution

So I was looking around for a tool which can generate and edit SLD 1.0.0 conformant styles. I looked into other GIS desktop applications I have at hand. I did not even dare to think that Arc* does support interoperable styles... indeed it does not. ;-)

But AtlasStyler to the rescue! AtlasStyler is a nice small Java application which offers an intuitive GUI for editing SLD Styles, and best is, it produces SLD 1.0.0.

Screenshot of AtlasStyler GUI.

Additionaly, If you have some basic CSS knowledge, the created SLD file can be easily adjusted in a text editor of your choice. This is maybe needed for some more complex SLDs. I had to adjust for example the stroke width of the geometry outlines, because the AtlasStyler GUI only allows natural number (integer) values for the stroke-width parameter.

<sld:StyledLayerDescriptor xmlns="" xmlns:sld="" xmlns:ogc="" xmlns:gml="" version="1.0.0">
AtlasStyler generated SLD 1.0.0 header.

Hope this little work around for QGIS -> GeoNode data publishing toolchain is of use for the one or the other around...

Have fun!


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FOSS4G Nottingham wrap up

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TL,DR: FOSS4G was just amazing! This was (until now) the best conference I went to.

Things that I did

I did a presentation on: Building Research Data Management Infrastructure using Open Source Software. And I think my talk went quite well. You can find the slides of the presentation here. I had some people giving good feedback, directly after the talk or later somewhere at the conference. If you are interested in more detail on what I have presented, you can find my paper directly relating to the talk here (Please send me an email, if you can't access the paper from Whiley, it is possible to send copies to individuals).

Then, I chaired (is this the correct term?!?) two sessions. A Session which I titled Spatio-temporal Visualization, featuring Augmented Reality and WMS-V (V for Video) and a Session on 3D GeoInformation, featuring PostGIS 3D, X3Dom, W3DS, Mobile and WebGL based rendering frameworks. This went very smoothly. I was a bit nervous about this task, because I never chaired (still?) a session at a conference before. The presenters where all good in time and attendance (mostly) asked lots of questions. And best is, that got me an exclusive red FOSS4G volunteer t-shirt and a FOSS4G hero badge! :]

On thuesday evening I went with a group of FOSS4G fellows to the Nottingham City Ground, to watch the Football League Championship (by the way, this name is awkward for a national 2nd level league) match Nottingham Forrest vs. Middelsborough. The match was very entertaining, we had two penalties, four goals and a red card. Before the match we met at the Ye Olde Trip to Jerusalem Inn, which claims to be the oldest inn in England. Very nice in a very historic setting right beneath the famous Nottingham Castle. And they had an awesome IPA (which you can't easily get in germany), wich I enjoyed a lot. In short it was a great experience. Thanks to Jeffrey Jhonson of OpenGeo for organizing this!

group shot
FOSS4G Football Group Photo at Nottingham City Groud Stadium. (Photo by: Jody Garnett @Flickr.)

Things that got my attention

First, I went to the geonode developers workshop. This was very interesting, because I learned that it is possible to extend the django based geonode with existing dajango Plug-Ins. This should make it possible to implement a REST API (hopefully more or less similar to CKANs great action API). I will try this in the next couple of weeks and do most probably a blog post about it (stay tuned).

Another quite new software project, that got my attention, is GeoGit. I can think of quite some very interesting use cases regarding collaborative editing of geospatial datasets for my project. Especially the GeoNode Plug-In of GeoGit, from the Rapid Open Geospatial User-Driven Enterprise (ROGUE) Joint Capability Technology Demonstrtion (JCTD) (what a name ^^) project described in a White Paper featuring "CyberGIS" [FTW! ;)], looks very promising to me. This is definetly on my agenda for upcoming development of the CRC806-Database!

FOSS4G impressions. (Photos by: FOSS4G Group @ Flickr.)

Things worth mentioning

The event was very well organized, the FOSS4G 2013 Committee did a marvelous job in preparing an running this event! This will be the reference, which upcomming FOSS4G's organizers have to look at and learn from.

The Acedemic Track organized by Barend Köbben and Franz-Josef Behr was in my opinion a great success. And to have a special issue in a well known journal like the Transactions in GIS makes it very interesting for researchers from academia to participate in the Conference, which I think is a very good thing to cross pollinate with the developer community. This just makes the whole event richer in my opinion.

Another good idea was the map contest Opening up the Map, organized by Kenneth Field. This is just a great opportunity to get visibility for map applications and also to get recognized for great work. It also is a feature to include more users of FOSS4G software projects into the conference.

The Sol Katz award was this year awarded to Arnulf Christl, what is in my opinion well deserved for his longtime high level contributions to the OSGeo cummunity. The award was directly legitimated by an remarkable speech by Arnulf, proving that he is one of the leading heads of the OSGeo idea.

The closing Keynote by Paul Ramsey was just outstanding! One of the best talks I ever attended in a conference yet. It is good to have such bright personalities in the OSGeo community!

Looking forward

I met again many old and new friends at the FOSS4G, this also one point which makes the FOSS4G / FOSSGIS conferences so valuable to me. I will definetly try (need to get some good new stuff until next year to talk about to get fundet for the trip - but don't worry ;) to get to Portland for FOSS4G 2014!

Have fun!


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Preparing for FOSS4G

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I start to get a bit nervous about going to FOSS4G in about two weeks. There will be so much going on, I would need to split my self into many, to be able to attend everything wich I would like to attend in this week of geoawesomeness.

Going by train

I decidet to go by train, because a.) the flights from Cologne or Dusseldorf to East Midlands are not exactly inexpensive, b.) I like to travel by train, it is quite relaxing for me to just look outside the window and see the landscape passing by. c.) I like the highspeed trains ICE, Talys and Eurostar, which are all scheduled for this trip forth and back from Cologne to Nottingham. And the train ride will also most probably give me some valuable hours to work on the last details of my presentation and preparing other things which I am doing at FOSS4G.

Presenting the CRC806-Database at FOSS4G

I am very happy to got my presentation into the academic trac of FOSS4G 2013, and even got my paper into the Transactions in GIS special issue. Which is a big success for me. My presentation "Building Research Data Management Infrastructure using Open Source Software" will be on Thursday 19th Sept. at 3:30 p.m. at Room 3.

I will more or less present the paper which is hopefully online accessible by the start of the conference, but I plan to dig a bit deeper into the implementation details of integrating CKAN with Typo3 and will give some more detailed outlook on the developments of the system and upcoming new functionalities and features. Please have a look at the CRC806-Database website, and if you care provide some feedback and comments about the site, here in the comments or per mail, or talk to me at the conference. I am very keen to get feedback on things which we maybe can do better.


I also registered as a volunteer at FOSS4G, and I will be chairing a session and maybe it will be two sessions. Wow, this is the first time I will chair a session at a conference! I am very keen on this, because I like new challenges like this.

The session I am defently assigned to is on Friday 20th at 1.30 p.m. at Room 2, and will be about "3D GIS". The second session, for which I am probably assigned as chair, but only if no other volunteer for this session is found, is also on Friday at 11.30 a.m., in Room A39. The topic of this session is (web based) spatio-temporal visualization.

Entertainment and off-conference social events

The off-conference entertaining and social programme of FOSS4G is promising to be fantastic! From what the informations so far given on the Wednesday 18th "Ice Braker" - where Map Addict Mike Parker will give a talk followed by a pub-quiz in geographic theme, the Thursday 19th "Gala Night" - with enterntainment from "Festival of the spoken Nerd", and the SAturday 21st "Closing Party" - with "open mic" sessions.

I anticipate that this 5 days in the UK will be a very intense experience, and I am confident, that I will learn and gain a lot from it.

Have fun!


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There should be a better way

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Just got a link to a really great video from 1987,

where William Shatner is promotiong the open source GRASS (Geographic Resources Analysis Support System) , in my Twitter Timeline today.

What I find really interesting is, that Shatner already referes to potentional archeological site location modelling using GIS (~5:30min)!

And of course, I want to use this opportunity to congratulate the GRASS Community for its 30th birthday recently.

This video is first rate inspirational GIS fun, and I will defenetly screen this video in my next GIS class. Oldscool 80's computers, dramatic narrative and best 80's television background music plus the benefits of (open source) GIS to solving many problems. What can be more entertaining in a GIS class? :)

Have fun!


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