The Contemporary Geospatial Webapp: Embracing React, Webpack, ES6, Node.js


Our climate has changed and is continuing to do so. Communities are adapting our built environment to the new climate realities, but want guidance toward the future. Some of the climate change impacts community leaders want to know about include:

  • What agricultural crops are viable in a particular area
  • Peak summer/winter energy demand
  • River floodplain levels and flood frequency

Massive geospatial climate data sets from the IPCC's Coupled Model Intercomparison Project (CMIP5) hold the key to these questions. These data sets, however, are traditionally only available to sophisticated researchers with banks of expensive supercomputers. The Pacific Climate Impacts Consortium (PCIC), a regional climate services provider in British Columbia, Canada, has been making a concerted effort to use geospatial FOSS in order to make this information available to everyone.

To allow real time regional analysis of climate data, our latest project supercharges a Leaflet based web front end with a number of cutting edge web technologies: Node.js and npm to open a world of amazing (geospatial) JavaScript resources into the browser; Babel to write ES6+ JavaScript that still works in IE; Webpack to automatically bundle our JavaScript, css, and npm modules into a web deployable package; and React to create state driven reusable UI modules. This is supported by a Python/Flask backend for geospatial analysis and data delivery. Finally, Docker enables us to develop, test, and deploy both the front and back end anywhere. This presentation will detail how we have used these technologies to reduce development time, ease maintenance, and increase client impact. Project source code and examples will be available on Github.

Session details
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Schedule info
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Thursday, May 5, 2016 - 14:15 to 14:50