What is Geo and Why is it Useful?
Geo is mainly a storage layer to hold geospatial data. What does that mean? Well, we all know about points such as latitude and longitude, but Geo helps to store other data such as lines and polygons.
Geo standardizes how all this data is stored, which is extremely helpful for modules, such as Location to store data and have the heavy lifting done for it, and makes it easy for modules such as Gmap, NIceMap, and Mapstraction to easily retrieve and display that data in lots of fun ways. Geo also provides a database abstraction layer to work with both PostGIS and MySQL Spatial.
Still not convinced of it’s awesomeness, well then think Mashups! Though I am not a fan of the term, Map Mashups are all the rage and for good reason (data visualization is a great way to communicate large sets of data). By standardizing Drupal’s GIS storage, it will be exponentially easier to integrate (i.e. mashup) data from your site with all those exciting external sources of data. Don’t think you can collect geospatial data? Think again, more interweb explorers are becoming a lot more spatially aware and want their data represented in the context of our world. And even with lots of new open data, there are still lots of reasons to store that spatial data directly on your site.
There are many other use cases at this wiki page (feel free to add).
Events and Getting Involved
If you are interested in getting involved, go here. Some of the events going on or ways to participate:
- Geo June Kickoff Barbecue, June 1: A decidedly offline event in Minneapolis
- Join the daily IRC Meetups, June 1-30 : Meet in #drupal-geo from 10AM-11AM CST
- Blog in June about Drupal geo projects and Drupal as a GeoCMS
- Participate in the community.
- Participate in the TC Drupal Documentation Sprint. June 20
- Organize other events locally or online, dealing with any type of Mapping or Geospatial activities in Drupal.
- Contribute financially
- Join us at the release party! June 30
Another goal of Geo June is for the OpenLayers Drupal Module to release a 1.0 (though I would be happy with a beta, personally). We have been really busy developing this module. It’s fairly stable at the moment, but needs lots of cleaning up. We welcome testing and reporting bugs.
Drupal has always been good at being current with new technologies and this is an opportunity to continue that tradition. Geo is the building block for realizing Drupal as a GeoCMS, meaning that Drupal can consume, produce, collect, aggregate, display, cuddle, and mash geospatial data in a user-friendly (and developer-friendly) way. I personally don’t know of anything that can currently be compared as a GeoCMS, and even with a stable Geo, we still have a long way to go, but I would love to see Drupal be the first GeoCMS.