Nautilytics is a small data visualization and GIS startup based out of Boston, MA. We use PostGIS and PostgreSQL, among other open-source tools to build powerful web applications for US government organizations, public, and private sector companies.
For USAID, we built a tool for agricultural infrastructure investors in Northern Ghana wherein they can immediately identify “hot spots” of corn and soybean growth potential intersecting with areas lacking in the necessary infrastructure to bring the crops to market. PostGIS provided us with the ability to create a dynamic heatmap grid of areas in Ghana that are close to electricity, major roads, minor roads, and rivers. Within minutes, we created a grid of one-mile blocks within the entire country of Ghana, which contained the distance of that grid block from the closest piece of each major infrastructure. After doing it for the entire country, we realized how optimized the query had become and it now functioned as a way for a user to click on any location in Ghana and immediately retrieve that location’s distance to roads, rivers, and electricity.
For WalkJogRun, a popular run tracking application, we use PostGIS to manage and serve over 1 million GPS-enabled running routes over a five-year period to a Mapnik-powered tile server. The spatial indexing built into PostGIS, the optimization of Mapnik, and the coverage provided by a content delivery network return the PNG tiles within milliseconds while only costing a fraction of other paid tile services. For those interested, we have documented the steps to replicate this work: https://github.com/nautilytics/running-route-tileserver
Corn and soybean yields are increasing at a staggering rate throughout Brazil, yet there are only 18,000 publicly documented corn and soybean grain silos to hold the growth. Many US grain storage companies looking to expand into Brazil are unfamiliar with the different regions and where growth is expected to increase, so we built a tool powered by PostGIS to solve this problem. Once a user identifies an area of interest, they can click on a storage facility to immediately identify how many storage facilities are within a 50km buffer, as well as if the area is expected to experience a deficit or surplus of corn or soybeans in the next five years. In the future, we are looking for this tool to become a content management system of sorts for investors into Brazil.
I used extensively postgis (+ecosystem) for my phd thesis, in several ways. The first is that PostGIS is a good steady horse (elephant?): a database is the perfect place to store a lot of very different information in the same place and put them in relation. For geospatial data, postgis means you always have a way to put data in relation (are they at the same place?).
The Urban Center for Computation and Data (UrbanCCD) is a research initiative of Argonne National Laboratory and the Computation Institute of the University of Chicago. We create computational tools to better understand cities. One of these is Plenario, our hub for open geospatial data. PostGIS makes the spatial operations at the heart of Plenario possible.