Using PHP and MySQL for Spatial Projects
GIS, or Geographic Information Science, is the study and use of data involving locations. It's a broad field that includes spatial statistics, cartography, routing, maps and much more. PHP + MySQL is not a popular combination for GIS projects. However, given how much of the internet the LAMP stack runs, it is inevitable that we as PHP professionals will be asked to implement maps and other spatial solutions in the software we develop. What would you say if a client asked if PHP and MySQL are the right choices for GIS software? With recent MySQL releases and maturing PHP spatial libraries we can now respond with a confident "Maybe!". After reviewing a checklist of conditions and caveats we might even get away with a "Yes!". In my presentation we'll review MySQL's historic weaknesses as a spatial database and celebrate its recent improvements. We will also look at a few of the more useful spatial libraries for PHP. Finally we'll discuss when you should recommend using PHP and MySQL for spatial projects and give you some alteratives to recommend when PHP or MySQL just won't cut it.