Monday, May 10, 2010

Calculating Centroids with JavaScript

In a previous post, Jared described how to use the Groovy GeoScript to create a new Shapefile based on centroids of features in an existing Shapefile. Today, I'll do the same using the JavaScript implementation.

One significant difference from the other implementations is that there is only one layer type in the JavaScript flavor of GeoScript. To create a layer representing a Shapefile, I'll create a directory workspace and get the layer from that.

In this example, I'll also use the clone methods to create a new layer schema and new features. These clone methods allow for new objects to be created with modified properties. This is useful in creating the schema for the centroids layer, because we want the same fields as the states layer with the exception of the geometry field. In this case, we're creating a layer with point geometries instead of multi-polygon geometries.

Without further ado, here is the code:

// import Directory and Layer constructors
var Directory = require("geoscript/workspace").Directory;
var Layer = require("geoscript/layer").Layer;

// create a directory workspace from an existing directory on disk
var dir = new Directory("data/shapefiles");

// create a layer based on an existing shapefile in the directory
var states = dir.get("states");

// create a new schema with a Point geometry type instead of MultiPolygon
var schema = states.schema.clone({
// give the schema a new name
name: "centroids",
fields: [
// overwrite existing field named "the_geom"
{name: "the_geom", type: "Point", projection: "EPSG:4326"}

// create a new temporary layer with the new schema
var centroids = new Layer({
schema: schema

// add the layer to existing workspace (this creates a new shapefile on disk)

// iterate through the state features to create features with state centroids
states.features.forEach(function(state) {
var centroid = state.clone({
schema: schema,
values: {
// overwrite the geometry value with the state centroid
the_geom: state.geometry.centroid
// add the new feature to the layer (this writes to the shapefile)

The GeoScript viewer module exports a draw method. You can use this to render a layer, or arrays of geometies or features.

// use the viewer module to draw collections of features or geometries
var draw = require("geoscript/viewer").draw;
var geometries = [];

// add all state geometries to the array
states.features.forEach(function(state) {

// add buffered centroids so they will be visible
centroids.features.forEach(function(centroid) {

// draw all geometries

You'll find this example in the examples directory of the repository. See the JavaScript API documentation for more detail on using GeoScript.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Buffering Features with Groovy

In my last post, I calculated centroids from one shapefile and saved them to another using a GeoScript Groovy script. This time I buffer these centroids and save them to a polygon shapefile. Since GeoScript is based on the Java Topology Suite library you can take advantage of any of its geometry operations - intersection, union and difference.
// Import Geoscript modules
import geoscript.layer.*
import geoscript.feature.*
import geoscript.geom.*

// Get the Shapefile we want to buffer
Shapefile shp = new Shapefile('states_centroids.shp')

// Create a new Schema but with Polygon Geometry
Schema schema = shp.schema.changeGeometryType('Polygon','states_buffers')

// Create the new Layer
Layer bufferLayer = shp.workspace.create(schema)

// Specify the buffer distance
double distance = 2 // decimal degrees

// Iterate through each Feature using a closure
shp.features.each{f ->

// Create a Map for the new attributes
Map attributes = [:]

// Set attribute values
f.attributes.each{k,v ->
if (v instanceof Geometry) {
attributes[k] = v.buffer(distance)
else {
attributes[k] = v

// Create a new Feature with the new attributes
Feature feature = schema.feature(attributes,

// Add it to the buffer Layer

The Layer.getCursor() method, used in the last post, reads one Feature at a time. In this post I use Layer.getFeatures(). This method reads all of the Features in to a list. Here is what you get:

Introducing GeoScript

GeoScript adds geo capabilities to dynamic scripting languages such as JavaScript, Python, Scala and Groovy.