What is this “Cadcorp” of which you speak?

We in the long-homogenized markets of North America find it easy to forget that there is any vendor other than the One True Vendor, but in regional markets all over the world there are strong alternatives available. Cadcorp is a strong regional UK/EU company, GeoConcept is a French company, there are lots of others in markets I know nothing about.

(As recently as 10 years ago, BC still had its own regional GIS software, “PAMAP GIS”, used by the Ministry of Forests and others for spatial analysis. After a valiant (and fatal) attempt to crack into the US Forest Service, PAMAP was purchased by PCI and eventually moth-balled.)

Unlike the “leading brand”, Cadcorp has made it a goal to interoperate with as many other systems, in as many ways, as possible. They were the second proprietary product to include native PostGIS support (the gods of interoperability, Safe Software, beat them to it by a nose), they have been active in the OGC since forever, and they added support for things like GeoJSON, GeoRSS, and the Tile Mapping Specification almost before they existed.

I’ve got Cadcorp on the brain because they recently won a pretty big contract to provide software a bunch of Irish local governments, and the database that is going to underlie this installation is PostGIS.

All that interoperability adds value – one of the things that differentiates Cadcorp’s product is how easily you can use it to directly edit and manipulate PostGIS data. Fulton County, Georgia, was one of the earliest users of PostGIS, and not-coincidentally is also a Cadcorp customer.

Cadcorp has also been hearing from customers that they really, really, really, want to put their rasters into the database (poor buggers), so Cadcorp has taken the next step down the slippery open source slope. They have funded (with cold hard cash to this PostGIS developer) some early work on defining raster storage in PostGIS, and have also allocated staff time to support the development. The WKTRaster project has now got types defined and is starting to implement data importers/exporters. It will be a hot topic of discussion among the PostGIS team at the Toronto Code Sprint next week. If you are interested in rasters in the database, the project is still only partially funded and looking for more backers.