The basic tool that I am planning on using is the Fedora Linux Distribution. At the time of writing the current version is Fedora 14. There are lots of options available for downloading and installing Fedora, a detailed explanation of how to go about installing Linux is beyond the scope of this blog. If you’re not familiar with Linux then I would suggest starting by downloading and creating a Fedora Live CD, and then moving onto the installation documentation.
Fedora has a GIS special interest group that have already packaged a number of GIS tools. This means that I can largely just use the yum command to download and install the tools and any dependencies. There some tools on the GIS SIG wish list that I may look at later, using these will require more effort as I’ll have to download the source and then build and install the tools and any dependencies.
The central tool to pretty much all of my use of OpenData will be a database. I’ve chosen to use the PostgreSQL database. There are two main reasons for this:
- PostgreSQL is packaged and available for Fedora.
- There is an extension to PostgreSQL call PostGIS which adds spatial support to the database.
To install PostgreSQL and PostGIS I just use yum from the command line:
$ sudo yum install postgresql-server postgis
You should see text scroll past on your screen as yum works out what dependencies are needed for these two packages. Exactly what these dependencies are will vary depending on which packages you chose during system installation. Yum will then prompt you to allow it to go ahead and download and install the packages.
Once PostgreSQL is installed I need to start the database system. Prior to starting PostgreSQL for the first time I need to initialise the database:
$ sudo service postgresql initdb
Once the initialisation has completed I can start the database:
$ sudo service postgresql start
The database should now be up and running. There’s one last, optional, thing to do. I know that I’m going to be using PostgreSQL a lot, so I want to configure the system to start PostgreSQL automatically when the system boots:
$ sudo chkconfig postgresql on
And that’s it. There’s a little more to do to configure PostGIS when I actually create a database instance, but I’ll cover that once I’ve explained how to get the data to populate the database.