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Gaetan Boisson

Independent Consultant


Less than serverless: serving geospatial data in a static setup

Speaking on 19:10 at WeWork, 21 Collyer Quay, Singapore 049320
Geospatial Information Systems form a niche where a number of highly specialized file formats and software strive. Managing and serving this kind of data usually requires a dedicated server, running highly specialized software. This is a challenge for libraries and other institutions like museums and archives whose mission it is to make this data accessible and preserve it, but who usually lack dedicated teams of GIS engineers to maintain a full stack. NUS libraries has implemented its historical maps platform (https://libmaps.nus.edu.sg/) using fully static technologies, most prominently Astro and Svelte. By doing so it not only reduced the required storage space from 300GB down to 3GB but most importantly entirely removed the need to maintain a server and the related software. In this talk we will cover details regarding GIS data formats and optimization, the JavaScript ecosystem for GIS is very dynamic and we will cover a few of the options we considered and explain the rationale behind our choices. Crucially for our use case, we will cover Cloud Optimized Geotiff support in Geotiff.js, and detail how this format works and the benefits it brings. We will then show how we leveraged bleeding edge tools from the JavaScript ecosystem, namely Astro and Svelte, to offer a great user experience, state of the art Search Engine Optimization and easy maintainability.


Gaetan Boisson is a librarian with a keen interest in technology and web development. He has been working for the past 5 years as the team lead for Digital Scholarship at NUS Libraries, and is now moving into the audiovisual and broadcasting sector. In his day job he wrangles data and builds interfaces with a strong focus on the sustainability of digital projects. His tools of choice are Astro and Svelte, and he loves exploring all the deeper aspects of data and its visualization, from highly specialized geospatial formats and tools to custom shaders with WebGL. In his spare time he likes to make art with technology. His work has been shown at the Noorderlicht festival in Groningen, as well as UltraSuperNew Gallery and Hatch Art Project in Singapore.