Related link: http://spatialguru.com/maps/apps/global/
Since that time I’ve added two more hurricanes: Ivan and Jeanne. In a perfect world, these would just start showing up on my map, but since we are in the real world some effort was required - but not much!
Shortly after I posted the weblog on Hurricane Frances, I went back through the “capabilities document” for the web server that I was pulling the hurricane maps from. Lo and behold I found that there was now a layer showing Ivan’s track. Then, just tonight, I looked again and found Hurricane Jeanne.
What did that mean to me? All I had to do was add a couple more pointers to these layers in my web map application and users could then see all the major hurricane activity in that part of the world.
I simply copy/pasted the layer definition for Hurrican Frances, and then changed a couple of layer names to the newer tracks. Here is an example of the syntax of the MapServer configuration:
LAYER GROUP jeanne NAME jeanne_track TYPE RASTER STATUS OFF CONNECTIONTYPE WMS CONNECTION "http://dev.gomoos.org/cgi-bin/wms_nhc?" METADATA "wms_name" "jeanne_track" "wms_srs" "EPSG:4326" "wms_server_version" "1.1.1" "wms_layers" "jeanne_track" "wms_request" "GetMap" "wms_format" "image/gif" "wms_connectiontimeout" "60" ENDEND
Wherever you see the word “jeanne” is where I had to make changes. When hurricane Amy appears out of nowhere, I’ll copy/paste the layer definition and change “jeanne” to “amy” and my collection of hurricanes will continue to grow.
For those who are interested in the technology I am using here, this Global Mapping Site is running on a Pentium 4 processor, with SuSE Linux 9.1 and Apache2 web server. I’m running MapServer as a CGI application. The data sources on the site include local GeoTIFF images, ESRI shape files and remote/external images that are requested from various servers in real-time across the ‘net. The graphical interface is pure HTML. I know it’s ugly, but I’m looking to setup a better interface. I’m planning to implement two other interfaces: one based on the Chameleon project and another using the Open Source Internet Geo-mapping Framework (IGF). Both look promising and are based on PHP.
In short, using MapServer for my Global Map has been fun and I am really enjoying being able to provide a useful service based on completely open source tools. The only thing the map is costing me is time and a DSL connection!
To close, my sympathy goes out to those being affected by this seemingly endless barrage of storms.
Tell me what you think of the global mapping site or web mapping in general. I’d love to know how you’d apply the technology if it was readily available to you.