We never really talk about GE Energy’s Geospatial Asset Management solution Smallworld. This mostly has to do with the fact that we have never had a chance to see it in action (other than a few still photos). One of the reasons it has always kept my interest piqued, however, is the fact that it is an object-oriented GIS. While you can create object oriented databases in Oracle, 1Spatial’s Gothic, and a couple of other database apps, we (as an industry at large) generally still use relational or object-relational databases.

I can only talk about OOGIS from a reading knowledge but it is a technology that I think may start moving more into the mainstream as a bridging technology since an object can store, and be represented by, multiple geometries. So as we move toward 2D and 3D representations and analyses with current and future geospatial technologies, OODB/OOGIS can act as a bridging technology that will allow us to store our spatial primitives while at the same time storing a 3D version of the same information.

So…if you are using Smallworld or another OOGIS solution in your work, send me an email. I would love to get a deeper understanding of how OOGIS works in a real world implementation, and if you are interested we could even do a podcast on how you are utilizing your OOGIS solution.

One Comment to OOGIS…

  1. Hi Jesse,

    It’s Steven here from 1Spatial (formerly Laser-Scan). Not really sure where to begin, but for sure we have been delivering O-O solutions via Gothic for a LONG time, customers include UK Royal Air Force, UK Hydrographic Office, many of the German states in the AdV, Ordnance Survey Great Britain, etc.
    Customers as far as Korea to Mexico have used it in the past for managing national cadastre systems.

    Even though the core O-O engine, tuned for spatial analysis and processing, is cutting-edge we realised that we needed to modernise the supporting technology to make better use of standards and mainstream IT technologies (Oracle, Java, XML, SOAP, etc.). So in 2001 we made a move to make some of the topology libraries from our Gothic environment available as persistently stored topology in an Oracle9i database, called Radius Topology. The rest is history.

    We have since learned from our work in this area with topology that users want to know more about errors in their data – what they are, where they are, if they are really errors and how to resolve the issues. So we took more of the smart O-O features from Gothic (inheritance, polymorphism, object references, dataset long transactions and versioning) and also made use of newer approaches like ontologies and web services. We built a data integration platform called Radius Studio, which focuses on workflow management and quality control.

    It uses the concept of rules-based processing where you can take data specifications or other information pertaining to the data ‘rules’ and check if the data matches the rules. It then provides a %conformance measure and lets you fix up errors. There is then an output to metadata for the quality elements. This could mean a review of the relevance or applicability of the rules according to the current business requirements, a conformance check of the data against the rules and also amending, deleting or creating new rules. For example, we have been working as part of ESDIN (www.esdin.eu) to test data from Member States in Europe against the INSPIRE data specification (Annex I themes), we call this our SDI conformance model.

    Most recently we were part of a very large contract award for a geospatial data management and database system, which we believe to be one of the largest in Europe. This is a mix of object and relational solutions.

    Here is some old material, but which has lasted over time, i.e. still holds true:
    “The Gothic database is versioned, handling explicitly the way that the world changes through time. It handles vast continuous datasets, with no sheet or tile boundaries. It is an object database, storing a model of the real world in a rich schema which can handle the references and family relationships (a canal is both a transportation medium and a water feature). It dynamically builds and maintains topology (the knowledge of connectivity, adjacency and sharing). The objects have behaviours that are automatically activated to ensure data integrity, and which add intelligence to the map features.”

    Hope this makes it clearer!


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