Seems this is a good day for QGIS Oracle users. According this commit made by Jürgen QGIS now has built-in Oracle support. Win!
Native Oracle support can now see QGIS being opened up to a wider user base yet again. A large user base normally means more people willing to sponsor awesome new features and bug fixes. Having seen the growth in the user base from having native MS SQL Server 2008+ support I can imagine what it will be like with Oracle.
The list of formats QGIS can open and edit is getting larger and larger with each release. Is there a future for vendor lock in? I can’t see it.
Standard disclaimer about latest dev build and new features:)
This has been part of an ongoing effort from the documentation team since before the 1.8 release to bring our all our documentation into reStructedText rather then LaTeX. Moving to reStructedText allows quicker updates and a larger range of final output formats.
I would like to thank everyone who has been involved in this process as I know what a grueling process updating documentation can be.
Just remember you don’t have to be a programmer to contribute to an open source project. If you think you could contribute to the updating of the QGIS documentation please contact the team on the mailing list.
To get easy_install you need to install Python setuptools and you are good to go. Sounds easy! However the setuptools installer assumes that you have the normal standalone Python installed which writes it’s install location to the registry, and when you run the installer it will say that it can’t find Python on the system. What the!?
If you have installed QGIS, or any other tool from the OSGeo4W install, you will see that OSGeo4W bundles its own version of Python in: C:\OSGeo4W\apps\python27. This is the Python that is used when calling python in the OSGeo4W shell. It seems someone on the OSGeo wiki has made a bootstrapped installer for setuptools that will install setuptools and easy_install into the C:\OSGeo4W\apps\python27 folder for you.
Most of the time any Python packages that are needed by your OSGeo4W tools are bundled in the installer and can be downloaded using the OSGeo4W installer, however there have been cases when I wanted to install a non OSGeo4W package into my setup by using easy_install or pip. Like bottle and flask in the example above.
As QGIS is such a fast moving project I have decided to make this a regular blog post in order to highlight some new features added to QGIS. If you haven’t already, don’t forget to check out round one.
Remember that some of these features may still only be new which might change between now and the next official released version. With that out of the way lets get listing.
If you are a regular user of QGIS Python plugins, and who isn’t, then you would have used the awesome Atlas plugin developed by Vincent Picavet. This great tool can be used to generate mapbooks, or an atlas as some people like to say, using a coverage layer and a print composer. What makes this even more awesome is that it is now built into the print composer.
The builtin atlas function also gives you the ability to use an expression to do runtime text replacement, including access to all the fields on the coverage layer. The coverage layer doesn’t even have to be a region layer, it can be a simple point layer, or even a line layer. You can see the result of me running the atlas generation from the above example here
Big thanks to Oslandia for integrating this great feature, and the companies sponsoring the work.
New Python console
This new addition comes from the great work that Salvatore Larosa has been doing to add a better Python console to QGIS.
The new Python console includes attribute auto complete, syntax highlighting, better copy and paste, uploading to codepad, the ability to run code from a file, etc. You don’t realise how much difference there is until you go back to using the old one in version 1.8.
Tabbed and groups in builtin forms
One of the things I really loved about QGIS, coming from MapInfo, was the builtin forms. Just having the ability to enter data using controls like combo boxes, calendar widgets, etc makes you one step closer to having better data. This feature is the exact reason I setup a 67 year old for kerb data collection.
As good as they are the builtin forms have an issue of ending up with as a big scrolling list with lots of fields; also the lack of the ability to group or put fields on tabs in the UI meant you had to create a custom form. Well not any more.
There is now a combo box on the Fields tab that allows you to build a generated form but also add tabs and group boxes. You can even have the same field shown more then once on the form, handy for something like an ID field that you would like to show on each tab.
With this new ability the builtin forms can get me 95% of the way for data entry jobs, the other 5% I just make a custom form – but that is very rare.
Sextante is a great and powerful analytical framework that has been added to the core of QGIS thanks to Victor Olaya. This is not a feature that I use a lot but this is only due to most of my work being in development and not analysis, however that doesn’t mean that it’s not a really cool feature.
One of the greatest things about the Sextante toolbox is that it allows you to integrate other great open source tools like GRASS, SAGA, R, OTB, etc, right into your QGIS workflow and view the results in the canvas. It even includes a modeller so that you can build a connected diagram of all the bits of your process, even if it crosses between programs.
For me what is even better is that you can use Sextante in your plugins or custom Python code. Sextante has a Python interface – well the whole thing is written in Python – that you can use to run a Sextante supported algorithm.
Last Thursday and Friday was our first local Australian FOSS4G event which was hosted at the CSRIO building in Brisbane. Very big thanks to CSRIO for hosting the event. The venue was setup perfectly for hosting an event like this, including dual projectors for presenting, video calls over to Perth, etc.
The first day was done using a un-conference style of event. This is the first time I’ve been to a un-conference and I liked the format a lot. Once everyone was there on the first morning we collected ideas from people and everyone voted on which ones they would like to see. After we had picked enough topics Shaun and I made a program for the day and we started.
The second day was a code sprint. I worked on converting a MapBasic scripts from one of the guys to QGIS, and Jody enlisted the others to help check the headers of the GeoServer project so that it can finally pass OSGeo incubation.
Overall I think it was a very successful event. I would like to make these a yearly event if we can, provided that we have people to talk, or projects to work on.
Another quick announcement for today. The local FOSS4G-AU chapter is holding un-conference and code sprint in Brisbane on the 15 and 16th of November 2012.
Ben Caradoc-Davies made the announcement on the mailing list the other day:
The Free and Open Source Software for Geospatial Australia (FOSS4G-AU)
2012 Unconference and Code Sprint will be held at CSIRO’s Queensland
Centre for Advanced Technologies (QCAT), Pullenvale QLD.
15 November: Unconference
16 November: Code Sprint
This is a participant-organised event: please add your unconference and code sprint topic suggestions to the wiki. Organisers are welcome; please speak up.