Continuing the Discussion from the Spatial and Graph Meetup

Thanks to everyone who stopped by the Spatial and Graph SIG meetup at OOW!  We had folks there ranging from users who are brand new to spatial all the way up to power users who’ve been working with it for years. 

We had an engaged group of about 20 folks from across the U.S. and as far away as Ireland. Users came from industries such as rail, local city government, national land management agencies, and defense. The SIG Board and members of the Oracle Spatial product development team joined up with them in the Oracle Technology Network Lounge in the lobby of Moscone South.  

Steve Pierce, SIG Board chair, kicked off the meetup with an introduction to the Spatial SIG, its activities, and the resources that it provides for the community.

The floor was then open for people to share their technical questions and issues related to Spatial and MapViewer deployments at their organizations. Some of the topics included:

Nick Salem of Neustar (Technical Chair of the SIG Board) opened the session with a question about handling complex geometries. Nick talked about some of the challenges of dealing with very detailed shapes and how performing geometry simplification without taking into account the topological relationship with adjacent geographies can lead to gaps and adjacent boundaries crossing. Nick described how Oracle Spatial and Graph provides a solution using topology that results in simplifying shared edges, keeping the integrity of geography layers intact while performing simplification.  There was also talk about the new Oracle Spatial 12c SDO_POINTINPOLYGON function (https://blogs.oracle.com/oraclespatial/entry/new_point_in_polygon_function) and how it can be used with large ingests of point data without the overhead of creating a spatial index.

The group discussed whether Oracle’s new Database as a Service Cloud offering includes Spatial. The Oracle team advised that as of the week before OOW, it now does include Spatial.  Read more about Oracle Database as a Service (https://cloud.oracle.com/database).    

One attendee shared issues with deploying Workspace Manager/versioning capabilities in an Oracle Spatial and Esri environment. He found problems trying to use either Oracle’s Workspace Manager or Esri’s versioning in a seamless way. Two solutions were mentioned:
Tracy McLane (SIG Vice Chair) advised that at Bechtel, they address this by using feature-level metadata, spatial views, and filters on those views to serve out the latest data to users. They also have developed in-house custom tools to use this feature-level metadata to be able to retrieve spatial content from their project and public spatial databases, as well as to compile the revision history of layers in the database to retrieve the precise number of maps impacted by any changes to specific layers. This solution works great for them.

Dan Geringer, Oracle Spatial Solutions Architect, advised that other large enterprises have also successfully implemented OWM with Esri.

The group discussed enterprise-wide technical training on Oracle Spatial. Tracy advised that at Bechtel, project teams across the company obtained Oracle Spatial Essentials training (http://www.oracle.com/technetwork/database/options/spatialandgraph/learnmore/training-101801.html ) from Oracle University in May of this year, which has been extremely valuable in their enterprise-wide implementations. It allows GIS specialists to better leverage the Oracle Spatial functionality in the BecGIS centralized data stores and spatial processes. They have followed up with a series of brown-bag sessions to further explore Oracle Spatial functionality as a GIS discipline.

Bulk processing and interoperability are two of the many advantages of Oracle Spatial for enterprises, noted Steve Pierce. Bechtel has large project-based deployments of Autodesk and Bentley CAD systems, and has worked with Autodesk in recent years to successfully write spatial data to their Enterprise GIS Oracle Spatial database from Autodesk Map 3D. They also have developed a GIS Desktop Procedure that details the required Autodesk client software configuration for Oracle Spatial and Esri ArcSDE database connections, Tracy advised. They will be updating it for use with Autodesk 2014 and 2015 clients. She had details on key aspects like data loading issues (such as troubleshooting zero-length lines from Esri shapefiles, which will cause an error in loading to Oracle Spatial), conversion (troubleshooting spatial topologies in the native software is a best practice before loading to Oracle Spatial), and other workflow issues.

The current version of MapViewer (the 11.1.1.7 “HTML5” version) has many powerful features, which people may not be aware of if they haven’t looked at it for a while.  Key features include:  HTML5 support; and JSon for rich, interactive, highly performant map rendering; and the ability to work in disconnected mode (through cacheless tiles, where tiles are loaded on the offline mobile platform). Standalone, web-based vector editing is also available.

MapViewer demos on mobile devices—an Android phone and an iPad—were shown by Wish Li and Jayant Sharma of the MapViewer team.

Nick Salem asked about issues with working with detailed shapes (needing to simplify then load, due to too many vertices). Nick explained how Oracle provides a Java-based Esri shape file adaptor for loading shape files into the Oracle database. If the shapes are very detailed and exceed the default SDO_ORDINATE array limit, though, an error is thrown and the geometry is not loaded. Nick mentioned how having a capability to simplify the shape prior to loading would help overcome the issue that exists today with loading these very large files. Siva Ravada (Spatial senior development director) noted the issue as an enhancement request.

Dan Geringer advised that the Oracle product team welcomes ongoing recommendations and requirements from our user community. These requests can be made through standard Oracle enhancement requests, or they can also come from informal discussions such as those on our Google+ and LinkedIn communities.

It was a great exchange among end users, partners, and the product team, exploring technologies, implementation ideas, and helpful solutions.

Are there any topics you want to continue the discussion on?

Consider making a post here, and share your topics and thoughts for feedback with our community. 
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Oracle Spatial & Graph SIG Meetup at Oracle Openworld 2014
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