Friday, May 25, 2018

Cloud Profiles - The Open Source Reference Server Implementation

Today it is with great joy that I just copy/paste an email that arrived in the geopaparazzi mailinglist. I already announced it, but this is the proper announcement by the guys from GeoAnalytic Inc. So I just leave this to you all, as written by Brent Fraser:

Hi All,Geopaparazzi 5.6.0 is now available at Google's Play Store (and GitHub as an APK).  One of my favorite new features is Cloud Profiles. Its purpose is to ease the data management tasks by automatically downloading project files, Spatialite databases and other files when connected to a 
"compatible" web server.    

And there's more!  When you activate a Profile, Geopaparazzi will set the basemap and attach the Spatialite databases ready for viewing in the Map View.    

So what about the "compatible" web server?  Since the Cloud Profiles list is a JSON text file, you could hand coded it and use a plain old web server like Apache or IIS.  Or do some server-side scripting if you want to get fancy. We've got an Open Source project started to be a "reference server" for this.  hopefully it will grow to provide more Geopaparazzi services, but right now it just servers up Cloud Profiles. Have a look at the blog post of more details:    

There is a public version set up so you can experiment with Cloud Profiles (it delivers two demo data-sets: Vienna and Bolzano).  To try it out:   

  1. Open up Geopaparazzi 5.6.0 on your device  
  2. Go into Settings (using the gear icon on the action bar)  
  3. Go into Cloud server settings  
  4. Edit the "Cloud Profiles URL" to be  (don't forget to have the trailing slash in the above URL). You don't need any values for the Username, Password, or Cloud Project server.  
  5. Go back to the main dashboard screen and press the big Import icon (the one on the bottom left)  
  6. Press the Cloud Profiles at the bottom of the Import options.  
  7. Press the icon beside the Profile you would like to download.  Some of the files are large-ish so it is best to be connected via WiFi.    
  8. After the Profile has downloaded, it's time to "activate" it:  
    • On the main dashboard screen, press the menu icon on the far left of the action bar and select "Profiles"  
    • You should see the Profile you downloaded listed there.  
    • Press the Profile's gear icon to change the properties  
    • Slide the Activate profile switch to the right to activate it  
    • Go back to the main dashboard screen and press the Map View icon.    
You should see a basemap with and overlay as defined by your selected profile!  

Best regards,  
Brent Fraser  
GeoAnalytic Inc.

This is a great contribution to the geopaparazzi community and makes me feel that the geopaparazzi project is on the right track to be a good free and open source project.



Monday, May 14, 2018

Geopaparazzi 5.6.0 is out - work with cloud profiles to handle surveys and data!

This release brings a ton of fixes and compatibility enhancements for newer Android versions.

And then it brings cloud profiles. And I think this one is huge! :-)

Cloud Profiles

In the last months a new company entered the geopaparazzi community and they have been doing nice contributions. The guys from Geoanalytic were working with us on the implementation of a more structured version of the cloud projects synchronization: Cloud Profiles!

We have been working on this already at the Bonn code sprint together with Cesar from the company Scolab. And now we are finally at a first release that supports this concept.

Cloud Profiles are a great way of easing Geopaparazzi’s data handling tasks. When a web server is configured to serve Cloud Profiles, Geopaparazzi can automatically download Projects, Basemaps, Spatialite Overlays, forms for Notes, and other files. When a user activates a downloaded Profile, Basemaps are made available, Overlays are attached to the Map View and layers are set to display.

Read more about it here.

The Geoanalytic guys have also been so nice to write a reference geopaparazzi profile server that can be used as a starting point. You can read more about it and download it from here.

The real power behind cloud profiles is that you can use your own server for this, but you could also make it much simpler by using Generic Cloud Server. You can set up your own Cloud Profile server by putting your files on a generic cloud file server like Dropbox or Google Drive, and editing a Cloud Profiles list like the one above and putting it on the cloud file server as well.

The very important fix

The most important fix (in my opinion) is the one resolving the GPS Location Limitations on Android Oreo. Basically it wasn't possible to log gps tracks with the screen off.

Technically it has been necessary to create a notification icon for geopaparazzi, so you will now have that visible when geopaparazzi is active.

The positive side is that:
  1. you will always know when geopaparazzi is active
  2. you can always see information about your position directly in the notification area

Other features and fixes

Values in settings. The settings screen now shows the actual values:

Buttons size. Small buttons are hard to see and press while on the trail. While it can be difficult to show a lot of information on a small screen, where there is room, you can now change the button and text size. This applies to the notes view for now:

Dynamic hints. Dashboard button hints are dynamic where possible. You can now see from there how many notes and logs you have in store. Just long-tap on the buttons:

Notes settings. The notes settings view is now accessible from the notes list (it was hidden in the gps data list menu). Access it from the palette icon:

PDF export. The PDF export now allows to export a subset of notes instead of everything contained in the project. The user can select the notes he/she likes to export and those will be converted in the pdf version.

Linked resources. It is now possible to view not only images stored in a Spatialite database when they are related to (geospatial) features but also for example PDF. 

Note that while a user can take pictures in the field and link them to a feature, in the case of PDF, the resource has to be linked before, i.e. it can be just viewed only from geopaparazzi.

Remove all. In the basemaps view it is now possible to remove all maps in one tap. This is really helpfull for those that are used to load maps through the load-folder option and then need a lot of time to remove them to have things more readable.

Mapurl service. One sad note is that the Tanto Mapurl service, which was used to download automagically configured mapurls based on WMS services, is no longer maintained and has therefore been removed also from geopaparazzi.

Fixes for:
  • images taken within Geopaparazzi are not geotagged.
  • unable to open form image thumbnails. 
  • many other fixes have been done, the complete list is here.