GeoWeb Art, OpenCL

Sichuan Valley
Sichuan Basin map from EarthPattern.

Maybe its just me, but Web2.0 maps sure seem to lag aesthetically compared with those created by desktop applications. The maps at EarthPattern are created primarily as works of art.

Processing may change all that. It is an open source programming language focused on providing tools for visual artists. I think it would be great to see more cartography tools built with Processing.

This image created with Wormtopia, a Processing based tool.

Sound And Vision
acoustic cartography
Acoustic Cartography is a good example of what can be done with Processing.

OpenCL looks like it might support client side geoprocessing that leverages the GPGPU. I’ve found OpenGL is powerful but difficult to work with. There has been some work done here to support OpenGL in the web, but …

The difficulty with using OpenGL is that the API is not very approachable for web developers; it’s a huge jump going from the 2D canvas API to a full 3D API. My hope is that those developers who are familiar with OpenGL will be able to create helper libraries to make 3D content and manipulation more accessible, much like there are tools such as photo montage scripts that authors can use without having to understand the implementation details.

Processing has an OpenGL library, but it appears to have a lot of issues. It’s not clear to me if OpenCL subsumes OpenGL. If so, maybe OpenCL will provide the critical mass needed for Processing developers will write helper libraries that support not only graphics but high performance client side web based geoprocessing (e.g., raster overlay on the client side). Suppose I get two different images from different sources. Doing image classification, and heat map generation on the client side might be possible. After all, it’s basically a problem of manipulating large arrays, something OpenCL should do quite fast.


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