FOSS4G 2009 Tutorials


It is our pleasure to end the speculation on tutorials for FOSS4G in October. Here is the final list:

A Friendly Hands-on Survey of Popular Geospatial Services

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Would you like to get started with free and open source software for geomatics? This workshop will get you started from the comfort of a desktop application! This workshop provides a survey of popular open source geospatial software allowing you to plan the rest of your week based on firsthand experience. The background of each project will be provided and you will have a chance to see how the different applications perform and what they are capable of.

The User-friendly Desktop Internet GIS (uDig) application is used to provide an introduction to geospatial concepts and ideas. The uDig application is integrated with the desktop experience with drag and drop support, features an embedded internet browser, and is available on a range of platforms. For those new to the geospatial field we will cover how Features and Projections are used to draw your information onto a Map. We will also look into your enterprise needs ranging from use of PostGIS to working with simple Shapefiles. With access to more powerful data sources we will explore the range of styling and visualisation options. Plenty of time will be set aside for questions – welcome to FOSS4G!

Presenters: Jody Garnett, Mark Leslie, Andrea Antonello


Delivering data using published application schemas

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This tutorial will introduce and explain the use and configuration of GeoServer with formal application schemas, such as those underpinning Spatial Data Infrastructures. The tutorial will provide a step-by-step explanation of the functionality and usage of the application-schemas DataAccess module, brand new to GeoServer 2.x Attendees will be encouraged to create their own configured installation of GeoServer 2.0.

Presenters: Rob Atkinson


Getting Started with MapWindow: An easy-to-install, easy-to-use free GIS for Windows

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MapWindow GIS ( is a widely used free GIS for the Microsoft Windows operating system. With an easy-to-use installer and a number of plug-ins for geoprocessing, data manipulation, and visualization, MapWindow is an excellent GIS for a many applications. This tutorial will introduce novice GIS users to the MapWindow GIS application and several key plug-ins. A copy of the e-Book, "A Practical Look at MapWindow" which includes several introductory exercises will be supplied to attendees. Specific exercises that make use of the data from the Climate Change Integration Plugfest (CCIP) will be used during the tutorial.

Presenters: Dan Ames, Ted Dunsford


How to Cope with GeoSpatial - Intro to GeoTools for the Java Developer

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Are you new to GeoSpatial? Are you not cool enough to be a Neo-Geographer AJAX empowered meta tagging Ruby wunderkind ? Does scientific mumbo-jumbo make your head hurt? Are you (gasp!) just out to get the job done? Come to this tutorial and go home happy. This Java tutorial is developers who are new to the GeoSpatial scene - it offers an introduction to concepts, projects, and how to avoid common pitfalls. We will start with something nice, fun and visual - fetching content from Web Map Servers. The focus is on you and the code you need to get the job done. We will explore what maps are made of: Features (literally things you can draw on a Map), Geometry (what to actually draw) and details like units and coordinate reference systems. These ideas are represented as nice normal Java objects by the GeoTools and Java Topology Suite projects. We will work with common data formats and show how to make queries and modify information. For visualisation we will use a nice Swing widget and show how to control the rendering system with style. Attend this tutorial - it will be very much hands on – and fun.

Presenters: Jody Garnett, Michael Bedward


Introduction to deegree iGeoDesktop

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iGeoDesktop is the brand-new desktop GIS component in the deegree project ( It is based on established deegree technology and modular by design to allow for flexible and use-case dependant configuration, standards-based SDI integration, integration with other third-party desktop components. In this hands-on tutorial participants will get to know basic usage patterns of the tool, along with an insight to configuration. Based on services and data which are being made available within the Climate Change Integration Plugfest, participants will learn how to use iGeoDesktop in order to integrate SDI resources from various sources (local data and OGC services like WCS, WFS and WMS), including resource metadata, map layout and basic analysis issues. The concept of an iGeoDesktop project will be introduced as a combined definition of geospatial contents, functions and tools available to the user, and overall layout.

Presenters: Hanko Rubach


Leveraging OGC Services with GeoExt

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GeoExt is a pure JavaScript toolkit for building rich web-based GIS applications. Built upon ExtJS and OpenLayers, it supports all common proprietary and open data formats and maps, including many of the Open Geospatial Consortium's (OGC) specifications like Web Mapping (WMS), Web Feature (WFS) services, and Styled Layer Descriptor (SLD). This tutorial will walk participants through the usage of the GeoExt widgets of a simple GIS application entirely based on OGC services. Available widgets include functionality for adding layers from arbitrary WMS servers, editing layer styles based on the SLD standard, and querying data using the WFS protocol. On-site data from the Climate Change Integration Plugfest (CCIP) will be used. The target audience for this tutorial are decision makers and users interested in the state of the art of web-based GIS applications using open standards. In addition to seeing GeoExt in action, participants will gain an understanding of its modular design by browsing code snippets and making configuration changes. To make the latter a fun experience, some basic knowledge of JavaScript and/or JSON is beneficial.

Presenters: Andreas Hocevar


Making Maps Fast - Performance tuning and Tile Caching

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Speed of response is critical to a user experience. While hardware and platform considerations are briefly discussed, the focus of this tutorial is on what can be done at the data level, the service level and especially caching. Participants will see how small changes in design and implementation can reap big benefits. The topics of the tutorial include: The Data: Spatial data stores. Attribute and spatial indexes. The Map: Limiting what gets rendered. Image size vs. quality. The Cache: Google does it, so can you. The OS: Scalability and concurrency. Once we have data loaded into PostGIS and served by GeoServer we will move on to the main focus of the workshop: tile caching. Installing TileCache. Setting up your layer. Configuring GeoWebCache in GeoServer. Metatiling. How it works with HTTP, caching proxies and caching clients. OpenLayers will be used throughout the workshop to verify the effects of our changes.

Presenters: Arne Kepp, Jim Groffen


Making Maps Pretty with Style Layer Descriptor

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Tips and tricks to get your maps looking great. Supported by many GIS packages today, Styled Layer Descriptor (SLD) uncouples map styling from the mapping services. Learn how to make and apply SLD using freely available tools. SLD is an OGC standard that allow users to define symbolisation and colouring of spatial data. During the tutorial participants learn the basics of SLD, and some tips and tricks: SLD editing with uDig. The GeoExt based SLD editor in GeoServer. What you can do with SLD rules. How filters control what gets styled. Styling tricks. Performance considerations. The exercises performed build up a case for the benefits of SLD and the best practices for using it. There will also be an opportunity to compare SLD support in OpenJUMP, OpenLayers and other open source packages. An information sheet on SLD support in existing GIS packages and a quick reference guide for both SLD and the Filter Encoding Specification will be provided.

Presenters: Andrea Aime, Jim Groffen


Protecting OGC Web Services with the 52°North Security System

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After a brief introduction into the basic concepts of the 52°North security system solution, the participants will set up a scenario installation of the system to restrict access to an example Web Map Service. Setting up the scenario implies: Deployment and configuration of the WAS web application on an Apache Tomcat server Deployment and configuration of the WSS web application on an Apache Tomcat server Installation and configuration of the WSC desktop application As part of the service configuration the participants will add users to the user repository for the WAS as well as define access policies for layers and/or operations of the protected WMS for the WSS. After successful deployment and installation the protected service will be loaded into a web map client using different user profiles to visualize the effect of policy enforcement.

Presenters: Jan Drewnak


Sensor Web Enablement - Bringing Sensors into SDIs

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This tutorial gives an introduction to the specification framework of OGC’s Sensor Web Enablement (SWE) initiative. The SWE framework offers a well-defined set of specifications which provide data models and corresponding data encodings as well as service interfaces to make use of the sensors. These interface specifications include services which can be utilized for example to access sensor data, to task sensors and to register for alerts in case of certain events. Firstly, the tutorial will consist of a presentation to give an overview of the different SWE specifications. Afterwards, practical SWE use-cases and applications will be shown to demonstrate how SWE technology can be utilized. These demonstration scenarios range from water management, pollution monitoring, early warning systems to fire fighting applications. Finally, we will demonstrate the 52° North suite of SWE service and client implementations to show the current state of art in SWE software development. It is planned to demonstrate a set of existing SWE applications that are available on the Web. For the demonstration part it is recommended (although not necessary) to bring a laptop so that the participant will be able to make hands-on experiences with the presented SWE applications.

Presenters: Arne Broering, Simon Jirka, Chirstoph Stasch, Thomas Everding


Using ILWIS with its PostGIS plug-in for raster-vector applications

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Tutorial objective: To provide participants a hands-on insight into the power of combining functionality of our user-friendly and highly functional GIS software with PostGIS. Our GIS software is ILWIS which has been developed over 15 years by ITC as closed source software and has a large user community in developing countries, and recently has been migrated to open source software. ILWIS comprises a complete package of image processing, spatial analysis and digital mapping. It is easy to learn and use; it has full on-line help, and has extensive tutorials for direct use in various disciplines. Recent project efforts have migrated ILWIS into a modular, plug-in-based software, providing web-service support for OGC-based web mapping and links with other software such as PostGIS. ILWIS is being developed as a versatile geosoftware which is interoperable with other state-of-the-art open sources platforms. The development of this framework is done since 2007 in the context of 52°North ( We will demonstrate the software’s functionality with the help of a use case. The tutorial will take the participant on a comprehensive tour through an application developed for UN-Habitat, which enables local governments to register land ownership on the basis of satellite images and simple field sketches.

Presenters: Rob Lemmens


Working with GRASS-GIS Vectors and Databases

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The demonstrations will cover: A brief outline of Grass-GIS Basics of Grass-GIS vector-database connections Buffering in Grass-GIS – producing border-constrained buffers Simple command-line looping for bulk vector processing Grass-GIS georectification processes. This is the description of the tutorial as it will appear in the program. This is also the primary resource used to evaluate the tutorial for inclusion in the conference or for determining attendee interest.

Presenters: Richard Chirgwin



12 90 minute tutorials will be held on Thursday October 22 and Friday October 23. with particular emphasis on the following topics:

Guidelines for tutorials

Tutorials offer you the opportunity to share your knowledge and passion for your favorite application, intregration solutions, technology or other topic in bite-sized pieces.

Tutorial rooms will not be equipped with computers so any hands-on aspects are the responsibility of the presenter and must be stated; the tutorial may recommend participants to bring their own laptop. Most laptops can be expected to be running some version of the Windows operating system. Preference will be given to hands-on tutorials.

FOSS4G LiveDVDs, based on the Xubuntu operating system, will be available at the conference and supplied to all attendees. These may be used in the Tutorials, or installation of software packages provided by the presenter may be part of the tutorial. Any presenter that is to make use of the LiveDVD is expected to test their tutorial against it during its production to ensure it will meet your needs. To discuss your requirements for LiveDVD, please contact the organising committee

Presenters are encouraged to make use of scenarios and on-site data from the Climate Change Integration Plugfest (CCIP) if appropriate. This is especially critical as demand for access to data over the internet is expected to be very high, and Australia has notoriously slow connections to the outside world. Contact details for the CCIP are available at .