Nautilytics is a small data visualization and GIS startup based out of Boston, MA. We use PostGIS and PostgreSQL, among other open-source tools to build powerful web applications for US government organizations, public, and private sector companies.
For USAID, we built a tool for agricultural infrastructure investors in Northern Ghana wherein they can immediately identify “hot spots” of corn and soybean growth potential intersecting with areas lacking in the necessary infrastructure to bring the crops to market. PostGIS provided us with the ability to create a dynamic heatmap grid of areas in Ghana that are close to electricity, major roads, minor roads, and rivers. Within minutes, we created a grid of one-mile blocks within the entire country of Ghana, which contained the distance of that grid block from the closest piece of each major infrastructure. After doing it for the entire country, we realized how optimized the query had become and it now functioned as a way for a user to click on any location in Ghana and immediately retrieve that location’s distance to roads, rivers, and electricity.
For WalkJogRun, a popular run tracking application, we use PostGIS to manage and serve over 1 million GPS-enabled running routes over a five-year period to a Mapnik-powered tile server. The spatial indexing built into PostGIS, the optimization of Mapnik, and the coverage provided by a content delivery network return the PNG tiles within milliseconds while only costing a fraction of other paid tile services. For those interested, we have documented the steps to replicate this work: https://github.com/nautilytics/running-route-tileserver
Corn and soybean yields are increasing at a staggering rate throughout Brazil, yet there are only 18,000 publicly documented corn and soybean grain silos to hold the growth. Many US grain storage companies looking to expand into Brazil are unfamiliar with the different regions and where growth is expected to increase, so we built a tool powered by PostGIS to solve this problem. Once a user identifies an area of interest, they can click on a storage facility to immediately identify how many storage facilities are within a 50km buffer, as well as if the area is expected to experience a deficit or surplus of corn or soybeans in the next five years. In the future, we are looking for this tool to become a content management system of sorts for investors into Brazil.
As a software engineer at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, I work on a collaborative neuron reconstruction and analysis software called CATMAID 1 (screenshot: 3), which is used for neuroscience research. We use PostGIS to represent neurons in a 3D space.
They consist of 3D points that reference their parent nodes or are the root [=soma of neuron] if they have no parent). Together with synapses, point clouds and TIN meshes for modeling compartments in a dataset, they model the spatial aspects of our neuroscience world. Users create those neuron reconstructions manually in a collaborative fashion plus segmentation programs can be used as additional data source. Using its spatial indices, PostGIS helps us to quickly query neurons in a particular field of view. The space of a single project contains sometimes 100s of millions of interconnected individual points. We also do bounding box intersection queries between neurons and compartment meshes, which then refine in the front-end by doing more precise intersection tests.
This software is used by quite a few research labs and as far as I know they all do their own hosting with a dedicated server and this is what we do as well. The reason being mainly that wth larger datasets, we benefit from machines with a lot of RAM (>256G), fast SSD/NVMe drives and many CPUs as well as fast local data access for e.g. image data.
Thanks so much for making PostGIS work well in non-GIS contexts too—-it makes my life much easier!
Vanguard Appraisals is new to the GIS world. In fact, we aren’t really in the GIS world; we just kind of brush up against it. We do mass property appraisal for entire county and city jurisdictions, and we develop software to collect, price and maintain values. We also host assessment data online so that homeowners can search and find property information much simpler from the comfort of their own home. Our software and websites are used in 7 states (IA, IL, MN, MO, NE, ND, SD).