Open Source Tools for Spatial Optimization

Geospatial optimization considers issues that balance objectives and constraints in spatiotemporal resource allocation. Beyond the traditional GIS functions of inventory and comparison, open source tools can extend GIS functionality to achieve goals related to best position, path, and configuration. This talk will introduce a cross section of spatial optimization problems and discuss open source solutions.

Slides (External URL)


Session details
Speaker(s): Session Type: Experience level:
Track: Tags:
Schedule info
Session Time Slot(s):
Regency A - Wednesday, March 11, 2015 - 13:30 to 14:05



Sure thing!

If selected, we plan to give an overview of optimization type problems (corridor location, routing, plant location, maximal covering, site configuration, and disruption design) and pair them with open source tools such as pgRouting and Google's Optimization Tools (Apache License 2.0).

Otherwise, our main thrust probably will be scheduling. That's what Carlos and I worked on for our graduate theses. My "go to" problem is routing around Yellowstone's geysers so I can see the best eruptions. My stack for this has been QGIS, OSM data, Mapbox, and php/JavaScript/Python (for the heavier lifting). With some friends, we also created a platform for crowdsourcing eruptions and predictions (that database,, is ODbL). Lots of associated code, with a heuristic or two, can be found at: . I also taught a class where I had my students make a campus routing map with php, QGIS, OSM, and MapBox --> and .

Carlos' problem involves defensive positioning. So far, he has been using proprietary solvers, and we're both interested in moving to appropriate industrial strength open source libraries -- in particular Google's open source LP tools.

Thanks for the question!

Public comment

Please rate our talk and provide feedback. It has been quite useful so far. For our future talks, I think we will use the title "operations research" instead of optimization. Optimization has entanglements with code and database efficiency, and we want to alleviate any confusion. We also will plan to show more concrete code examples next time. Thank you to the audience members and reviewers that attended the talk. Please continue to be in contact! ~Alan

Public comment