New Zealand NDR leverages open source mapping tools

GNS, developers of Petroleum Basin Explorer, encountered trouble near the international date line. The solution was the open source ‘Geoserver’ reference implementation of the OGC’s standards.

GNS Science has launched New Zealand’s Petroleum Basin Explorer (PBE), a free-to-access data portal of petroleum exploration data and information. PBE built on GNS’ extensive GIS databases and now serves ‘live’ maps via Geoserver, an open source ‘reference implementation’ of the Open Geospatial Consortium’s GIS standards suite. HTML/javascript web pages provide contextual information on New Zealand’s geology and the exploration history of its 18 sedimentary basins.

Proximity to the International Date Line posed a problem to much available web mapping technologies which performed poorly—and failed to integrate with Google imagery. GNS fixed the problem by adopting and customizing open-source technologies, fixing the dateline issue, which could have delayed PBE’s release by many years.

GNS has deployed the open source SOLR package which provides full text search across documents and the database’s attribute data. GNS has also developed a web-based content management system which provides a fast track for geoscience publishing and manages multiple sites for other users such as minerals or geothermal.

GNS told Oil IT Journal, ‘We use Geoserver on the server end with the OpenLayers javascript library on the client. Clients also use the open source libraries Proj4js for projection support, ExtJS for GUI, and GeoExt to extend OpenLayers functionality. GNS has contributed code back to Geoserver, Openlayers and GeoExt. The GIS layers used by geoserver reside a variety of formats. Internally, GNS uses ESRI ArcMap and stores GIS layers in ArcSDE/Oracle. Some project-level spatial data used in PBE resides in the open source PostGIS system which offers better flexibility and speed within Geoserver. We expect to make use of PostGIS in the future since the latest ESRI software can use data stored there. One of the big advantages of Geoserver is the very wide variety of spatial systems that it can fetch data from.’

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