Collecting, cleaning and organizing data consumes a tremendous amount of time for GIS specialists. Most projects require several types of data, often in various formats that are tedious and time-consuming to reconcile. Giraffe Geo (http://giraffegeo.com/) is a PostGIS data platform that tremendously reduces the burden on GIS teams by offering a data catalog that users access by PostGIS query, api or direct connection into AcMap or QGIS.
A typical process when working with geospatial data, whether publicly available or sold by a vendor, begins with getting a sample. One often has to download the data and move it to the right location before getting to see what fields it includes and how it is organized. Then one has to return to the source or provider and download or request the remaining data, which may be large files or many small files. Then one loads these to a PostGIS database or merges them.
Giraffe Geo simplifies the geospatial data process by offering users what they need: a well-documented PostGIS database that they can access however they choose. All Giraffe Geo data is clearly documented in the catalog. Users can request access and begin making queries within minutes. Users can extract the data needed using an ogr2ogr command, write a PostGIS query or access the data using ArcMap or QGIS. Common PostGis queries are also available in API format. Giraffe Geo does the grunt work and maintains the infrastructure.
A simple example of Giraffe Geo’s ability to greatly simplify tasks comes from its very first use: a user had a large set of polygons and had to attach the US county id (FIPS) to each county. Rather than getting a county file and making a join, he simply cycled through the list of polygons, took a representative point from each, queried the “within” API endpoint for the county boundaries table and appended the county id field. The job was done in minutes.
The Giraffe Geo data catalog is led by user requests and suggestions. Users fill out a simple form using the “Suggest” button on the homepage; as long as the dataset has some general usefulness and is publicly available, Giraffe Geo will add it to the catalog within 24 hours. Rather than spending several hours dealing with the data yourself, now you can simply request that Giraffe Geo add it.
Many datasets offer statistics for geographic regions, such as counties, but are not made available with a geometry field or in a database that allows for querying. Giraffe Geo hosts datasets like this, such as US county population estimates, and ensures that a field (e.g. FIPS for US counties) is indexed and can be readily matched to the appropriate field in other tables.
The Giraffe Geo collection of APIs currently includes US parcel and property information, US address verification and Open Weather Map. More APIs are being added regularly.
All billing is metered with most queries costing less than one cent. To get free trial access to Giraffe Geo, visit (http://giraffegeo.com/) and use the contact form at the bottom of the page.
Keywords: PostGIS, geospatial data, API, platform