|Quantum GIS Maps Historic Herpetofaunal Records in Missouri, USA|
The Missouri Herpetological Atlas Project (MOHAP) was initiated in 1997 as a result of the desire to obtain and easily update detailed distribution maps for Missouri (United States of America) amphibians and reptiles. A database was established to store all valid localities, including records published in historical literature sources and specimens vouchered from museums. From the database, a series of maps can be produced representing both locality records and "county records" for each species.
Generate and Export Static Maps
Figure 1 and 2: Custom map generation and export user interface, maps are generated and exported in a batch process.
Figure 3: Maps are displayed as static images.
Figure 4: Labelled Level III Ecoregion map for Missouri and surrounding states.
At the beginning of the MOHAP project, several commercial and propietary tools were used to store and process data and produce maps for publication. Starting in 2007, we set about to move all aspects of the project to open source software. Quantum GIS, along with PHP, PostgreSQL, PostGIS, Python, and ReportLab, forms the open source linchpin to MOHAP, effectively allowing the project and all data to exist free of propietary software entanglements.
Quantum GIS contains native support for PostGIS and a Python plugin architecture, which were essential in creating the automated map generation and export. The extensive API documentation was used along with the plugin developer cookbook to create exactly what we needed for the automation. The community support is also very good and includes a huge array of shared plugins built and ready to use.
Although we use Quantum GIS in a small and specific way, its capabilities and extensibility using Python is more than sufficient to tackle larger and more complex projects.
This article was contributed by Brian Edmond in February 2013. He is a Senior Systems Analyst in Computer Services at Missouri State University. He holds a BS in Wildlife Biology from the University of Missouri and has spent his career in the intergrade zone between biology and technology.