The International Archives of the Photogrammetry, Remote Sensing and Spatial Information Sciences
Publications Copernicus
Articles | Volume XLI-B7
22 Jun 2016
 | 22 Jun 2016


G. McFerren and T. van Zyl

Keywords: Geospatial data streaming platform, Data velocity, Python, FOSS4G geospatial libraries, performance, SpS10-FOSS4G

Abstract. One viewpoint of current and future IT systems holds that there is an increase in the scale and velocity at which data are acquired and analysed from heterogeneous, dynamic sources. In the earth observation and geoinformatics domains, this process is driven by the increase in number and types of devices that report location and the proliferation of assorted sensors, from satellite constellations to oceanic buoy arrays. Much of these data will be encountered as self-contained messages on data streams - continuous, infinite flows of data. Spatial analytics over data streams concerns the search for spatial and spatio-temporal relationships within and amongst data “on the move”. In spatial databases, queries can assess a store of data to unpack spatial relationships; this is not the case on streams, where spatial relationships need to be established with the incomplete data available. Methods for spatially-based indexing, filtering, joining and transforming of streaming data need to be established and implemented in software components. This article describes the usage patterns and performance metrics of a number of well known FOSS4G Python software libraries within the data stream processing paradigm. In particular, we consider the RTree library for spatial indexing, the Shapely library for geometric processing and transformation and the PyProj library for projection and geodesic calculations over streams of geospatial data. We introduce a message oriented Python-based geospatial data streaming framework called Swordfish, which provides data stream processing primitives, functions, transports and a common data model for describing messages, based on the Open Geospatial Consortium Observations and Measurements (O&M) and Unidata Common Data Model (CDM) standards. We illustrate how the geospatial software components are integrated with the Swordfish framework. Furthermore, we describe the tight temporal constraints under which geospatial functionality can be invoked when processing high velocity, potentially infinite geospatial data streams. The article discusses the performance of these libraries under simulated streaming loads (size, complexity and volume of messages) and how they can be deployed and utilised with Swordfish under real load scenarios, illustrated by a set of Vessel Automatic Identification System (AIS) use cases. We conclude that the described software libraries are able to perform adequately under geospatial data stream processing scenarios - many real application use cases will be handled sufficiently by the software.