Wednesday, September 22, 2010


@mikeal a little tedious. you can take OSM and then convert it to SHP and then than a minute ago via web

The tweet above inspired me to take a quick look at GeoCouch, a version of CouchDB that supports spatial queries. This is something I need if I'm going to start playing seriously with CouchDB. So, it was off to Installing and working with GeoCouch, grabbing a copy of HomeBrew (yet another package manager for Mac OS X), in the hope of installing GeoCouch. Things went fairly smoothly, although it took what seemed like an age to build everything. But I now have GeoCouch running. Previously I'd been running CouchDB using, which launches vanilla CouchDB. However, if you launch CouchDBX after starting GeoCouch from the command line, CouchDBX is talking to GeoCouch.

I then grabbed shp2geocouch to try some shape files (I grabbed some shape files from the IUCN to play with). If you're on a Mac grab GISLook to get Quick Look previews of these files. Since I'm new to ruby there were a couple of gotchas, such as lacking some prerequisites (httparty and couchrest, both installed by typing gem install <name of package>), and there was the small matter of needing to add ~/.gem/ruby/1.8/bin to my path so I could find shp2geocouch (spot the ruby neophyte). The shape file didn't get processed completely, but at least I managed to get some data into GeoCouch.

So far I've been playing with the examples at, and things seem to work. At least, the basic bounding box queries work. I'm tempted to play with this some more (and get my head arounbd GeoJSON), perhaps trying to recreate the functionality of my Elsevier Challenge entry, for which I wrote a custom key-value database that was awfully clunky.