A friendlier PostGIS

Nathaniel Kelso has an awesome post about how to make PostGIS more friendly for users. I mostly agree with his points, it’s a friendly todo list, although there’s always the question of who has time to do the work. Some specific thoughts (I can’t figure out how to comment on his blog):

  • 1 Installation: I’d love updated Debian/Ubuntu packages. But it’s a lot of packaging work, I could see why PostGIS would rather defer to some third party to do the packaging. But someone’s got to do it! Upgrades are particularly hard to get right; Postgres and PostGIS mostly leave it up to users to figure out how to do upgrades right now.
  • 2.1 imports: is ogr2ogr any better than shp2pgsql in general?
  • 2.1g importing shapefiles: yes, absolutely, automatic inference of SRID from PRJ files. Is that a solved technical problem though, or is it arbitrarily difficult?

The #1 thing I want to make PostGIS easier is some better graphical query tool / front end to explore geometry queries. I’m used to being able to experiment with SQL in something like pgAdmin to build up my complex queries, but you can’t do that meaningfully with spatial data. I’d love a geo-aware SQL tool, one that draws geometries and stuff. I use QGIS like this a little bit but the UI for refining queries is awful. TileMill is a little better for query tinkering, but still awkward. Wouldn’t it be awesome if Induction were geo-aware, maybe using GeoJSON as a lingua franca?