Sprint Day #4

Today we wrapped up the first annual code sprint for the “C tribe” of the open source geospatial community.

The final results in the code were great. We got some major performance improvements into Mapserver (shape file speed, projection lookup speed, query speed); we got PostGIS 1.4 ready for release; GDAL performance was investigated and work started on big speed-ups.

The final results for the community were also great. With everyone around the table, the PostGIS community agreed on development priorities for the 2.0 cycle. Mapserver got in good long discussions about long-range plans such as XML mapfile, and OWS services access control. I didn’t see the results, but the libLAS developers also had lots of time coordinating.

The face-to-face communications bandwidth is so much higher that problems fall by the wayside at a great rate. I saw Frank Warmerdam reviewing MrSid code in GDAL with Michael Gerlek, and Michael being able to quickly point out performance mistakes: “don’t call that function every time”, “these functions are costly, but only the first time through”. I saw Steve Lime mentally model several approaches to query improvement, trying them out on different community members before settling on the final solution (which I implemented in the PostGIS driver this morning, and has improved performance in WFS-on-PostGIS by a factor of 24 (!!!)).

Thanks to the GDAL project for sponsoring today’s activities.

And thanks to all the attendees, who paid their way to Toronto, and their accommodation, for the privilege of spending four days in a hotel conference room hacking on open source. You are wonderful, weird, wonderful people!