Using MySQL's Spatial Extensions with Rails

Geospatial data has long been available from organizations such as the U.S. Geological Service and from other city and state agencies. Until recently, use of this data has been limited to large organizations using expensive tools from ESRI and Autodesk. The Open Geospatial Consortium has supported and promoted the use of open source solutions such as PostGIS and MapServer. MySQL has joined PostgreSQL as a free and open spatially enabled database.

Ruby on Rails has revolutionized the design and implementation of web applications. Using libraries like GeoRuby with toolkits like Mapstraction and OpenLayers and standards like GeoRSS and KML, tools can be easily created to visualize and mine available GIS data in ways consistent with current social software trends. Map mashups are a first step, but adding in the full weight of spatial extensions allows developers to create more personalized, powerful, localized applications.

This session will cover the basics of integrating MySQL’s geospatial extensions with ActiveRecord in the context of a Rails application with a map front-end and a standards-based back-end suitable for outside development of mashups. It will provide an overview of GeoRuby’s features and MySQL’s spatial functions.

Seth Fitzsimmons

Yahoo! Inc.

Seth is a whitewater kayaker and Rails hacker in Yahoo!’s Brickhouse group.

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