I’ve finally got the project where I could try the latest version of the Intergraph GeoSpatial Portal. Here is my short experience with the Portal, and a few problems that I’ve run into.
Installation is very simple and straightforward. After the installation is finished, just load WebMap Administrator panel in your browser of choice, and you’ll have under
New instance menu an option to create a new
GeoSpatial Portal instance. The wizard will copy the files from the Portal template folder, and create a new virtual directory under IIS.
After that, Portal is working out of the box, without any customizations needed. That is very nice and enables you to start playing with the Portal vary fast and easy.
Before you start working with the portal I strongly suggest that you read two documents that are provided with the Portal:
Custom language selection is available, but only if you are lucky enough that Intergraph have provided the translations for your language. Portal cannot be fully localized, if the translation files were not provided. There are few sentences that are available to be changed, but not everything. Some labels and messages are baked and compiled into the solution and offered as a part of Portal. This means that translation cannot be done for the complete Portal, and there will be English captions left in the GUI. Again, with some JavasScript hacks that change innerHTML properties, labels can be changed after the portal loads.
Adding your data to the Portal
Since the Portal already requires Webmap, the easiest way to get your data into Portal is by creating a new WMS service with MapPublisher from the GeoMedia. If you ever worked with a MapPublisher, you know that this is a very simple and automated process with wizards. This means that adding your data via WMS is quite simple. Changing the styles, or adding new layers, just requires you to edit your GeoWorkspace in GeoMedia and hit Publish when you are done. And your changes will reflect in the Portal next time you change zoom level and Portal requests new data from the server.
I remember long time ago that Intergraph was claiming that WebMap and GeoMedia are now sharing the same rendering engine. Unfortunately from my experience, this is not the case. For example, lines need to be much thicker in GeoMedia to be rendered nicely by WebMap. Labels on the other hand need to have background color to be readable. Although you must not use white as a background color because it will result with some strange glitch in the display. Using very light grey solves the problem.
Portal supports searching via WFS-G Gazetteer service. This is where I had most of the problems. The service is not very well documented and steps required to get the service working are very confusing. When you create new WFS-G instance from the AdminConsole, you get preconfigured
web.config file with lots of options. Getting a simple searchable feature to work was not easy. Thankfully, after a long email conversation with Intergraph support team, they have send me proper and much simpler
web.config file that was working, and was much easier to further customize. Many thanks to Jan from the Intergraph support team for the help! After that, adding a WFS-G service to the Portal resulted with much feature richer Portal. To be honest, without the help from the Intergraph support team, I wouldn’t be able to get it work on my own. Especially getting it to work with my custom SRS.1
On the topic of custom SRS, it is worth mentioning that I didn’t use default
EPSG:4326 coordinate system nor the publicly available background maps, like for example Google Maps. All my source data were in one coordinate system, and for display I used different coordinate system. Coordinate transformations worked flawlessly.
To improve and customize UX further, you can intersect
featureInfoRequested event and add your own code that will be executed when user clicks on the features. From here, using Ext.js possibilities are endless.
Initially, Portal needs some time to fully load. But after that, it is working quite fast.
If you need to get your data visualized on the web very fast and without much coding, I would recommend using the Portal. Price you will pay for the license, compared to the price you would need to pay some developer to develop the portal from the scratch with all the matching features, or the time you would need to invest to code it by yourself, is marginal. Portal is really feature rich and very simple to do basic customizations. The only question is how much of the customizations you need? The answer is the same like for any rapid development tool – if you are satisfied with 90% of the functionality that the Portal offers, it will save you a lot of time and money. But if you need to do a lot of customizations and custom UI design, or code changes, sooner or later you will hit the wall.
Nevertheless, to get your spatial data visualized fast and easy on the web, Intergraph GeoSpatial Portal is the way to go!
To see the Portal in action head to the Intergraph GeoSpatial Demo Portal.