Open Source Computing and GIS in the UK

Travels in a digital world

Update on Postgis Connectors for ArcMap

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I have made a little more progress with evaluating the various free options for accessing PostgreSQL/Postgis database tables from ArcMap. I have to confess that some of the problem was down to my own lack of experience with Postgis!

The issue that I had with PGarc was that it would fail with an error if you had deleted tables from a database. It turns out that this is because deleting tables using the PostgreSQL “DROP TABLE” syntax does not remove it’s reference in the “Geometry_Columns” table. This must be removed as well- either separately or by deleting the whole shebang in one go using the Postgis DropGeometryTable function. Since PGarc uses “Geometry_Columns” to populate its list of available tables, it fails at this point. RTFM next time, archaeogeek!

There were a number of people in the google group with similar problems to me regarding ZigGis- namely that it would not display some layers. This turned out to be a problem with projections, or the SRID. If a table had an SRID of -1, in other words no projection set, then ZigGis could not display it. This bug has been resolved in the latest release.

My opinions of the two packages haven’t really changed. ZigGis has nice configuration files, and works directly with the Postgis table, whereas PGarc relies on DSNs, and creates a temporary shape file on your hard drive to work with. However, the clincher for me is that using PGarc you can select data and query it, whereas with ZigGis, I could not do that.

In the comments to my previous post, Jeff kindly pointed out the trial version of Safe Software’s FME (Feature Manipulation Engine), which does include support for PostgreSQL databases. I haven’t had chance to try it out yet, and we are trying to work towards open-source solutions to our problems but I will evaluate it and post on my experiences.

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