Interesting times to be a Java Spatial Developer
Following up on James’s post about my IM ping – it is a good time to be a Java developer if you deal with spatial problems (for other problems as well but I am just going to talk about spatial today.
There is the ESRI Stack. So if you want to go down that route with the full support and need to use ESRI technologies you are good to go.
Here is the stack that is available to you today for free (as in beer and speech) with some brief personal experiences tacked on…
IMS server: geoserver – super easy to set up, performs well, does WFS, WMS, and KML, and reads a bunch of formats
OpenLayers: not specifically Java but works perfectly fine with it and some of their demos hit against geoserver.
Datastore: PostGIS with PostgreSQL – not much experience using but a large user community, a plugin to use with ArcGIS (oh if I didn’t have billable goals), an interface to geoserver, uDig, and geotools, and a JDBC driver that can talk spatial talk
Desktop : uDig, Jump, OpenJump, and a couple more that I can’t keep track of. They are not at the level of ArcGIS but they can do quite a bit of stuff and are open so you can extend the code however you like.
Virtual Globe: WorldWind Java – easy cheezy to get running, runs really fast, and in very active development with a friendly user community.
So there you have it, a huge stack of Java spatial applications and libraries – running on all the major OS’s – running server side and desktop side.
Do you know what your cost as a consultant or developer is to entry into this space? $0 in actual startup costs. Buy yourself a laptop, leech off your neighbors wifi connection (not that I would condone such behavior), and dig in.
Java is taught in most of the CS and IS programmings as the programming language of choice so it is also easish to find developers or learn yourself. You would be in good company with firms such as Fedex, NASA, and Motorola to name a few.
Open source and proprietary solutions all with the same language. I just think it is an interesting proposition to those who want to start developing and building spatial solutions.