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Friday, January 18, 2008

Shapely: A Python Package for Programming with 2D Geospatial Geometries

Sean deserves a big hand, and a break: he's just released Shapely 1.0.

What:

It's a package of python code for manipulating and analyzing two-dimensional geospatial geometries. Shapely lets you calculate unions, intersections and differences of two-dimensional shapes, thereby letting you determine whether these shapes intersect, touch or contain one another.

Who:

Sean had alot of great help (see Shapely Credits). Some of Sean's work on Shapely was supported by our NEH grant for Pleiades.

Why:

Why would humanists care about (or help fund) such a code library?

I'll give you the Pleiad-o-centric part of the answer: information discovery is an essential component of humanities research, and geography is often highly relevant. What's near what? What's within something else? Or within a certain distance of something else? Are there Roman-era weapon finds cataloged by the Portable Antiquities Scheme that fall within 2km of a Roman-era fort registered by Pleiades? Are there excavations documented by Fasti Online or regional surveys cataloged by MAGIS that correlate with features cataloged in Pleiades? (If so, dynamically provide Pleiades users with links to them as they browse).

Shapely gives us what we didn't have: a tested, free, open-source, pythonic base for building these kinds of correlation functions and cross-project interoperability calculations into Pleiades and, hopefully, helping others do the same.

1 comment:

Sean G said...

Thanks! I forgot to mention applications, didn't I? For one, our GeoRSS feed remixer aka "Mush" is using Shapely: http://zcologia.com/news/524/planning-alerts-and-findspots/