The target audience is an experienced Java developer who is new to GIS. We try and lead with careful step by step instructions (code first!) followed by any discussion.

The expected way for someone to use the tutorial is to follow the instructions; and then only read the details about any section they are unsure of.

With this in mind please do not mix explaining with code.

Here is an example template to get you started.

  1. Start with a nice welcome section; credit both yourself (and your employer?) and outline what your user should do to prepare.:

    :Author: Jody Garnett
    :Author: Michael Bedward
    :Thanks: geotools-user list
    :Version: |release|
    :License: Creative Commons with attribution
    .. include:: <isonum.txt>
    Query Tutorial
    Welcome to Geospatial for Java. This workbook is aimed at Java developers who are new to geospatial
    and would like to get started.
    Please set up your development environment prior to starting this tutorial. We will list the maven
    dependencies required at the start of the workbook.
    This tutorial illustrates how ...
    We are trying out a code first idea with these workbooks |hyphen| offering you a chance to start with
    source code and explore the ideas that went into it later if you have any questions.
    Jody Garnett
       Jody Garnett is the lead architect for the uDig project; and on the steering
       committee for GeoTools; GeoServer and uDig. Taking the role of geospatial
       consultant a bit too literally Jody has presented workshops and training
       courses in every continent (except Antarctica). Jody Garnett is an employee
       of Boundless.
    Michael Bedward
       Michael Bedward is a researcher with the NSW Department of Environment and
       Climate Change and an active contributor to the GeoTools users' list. He has
       a particularly wide grasp of all the possible mistakes one can make using
  2. You can start by giving users a link to download the example code. The download directive is good this way in that it will be sure to package the referenced file up as part of the docs

    Remember the focus is on providing clear step by step instructions. While you can be friendly in the text; when providing instructions do not mix explanation with tasks to be performed:

    Query Lab Application
    The :download:`QueryLab.java </../src/main/java/org/geotools/tutorial/filter/QueryLab.java>`
    example will go through using a Filter to select a FeatureCollection from a shapefile or other
    We are going to be using connection parameters to connect to our DataStore this time;
    and you will have a chance to try out using PostGIS or a Web Feature Server at the end of this
    1. Please ensure your ``pom.xml`` includes the following:
       .. literalinclude:: artifacts/pom.xml
          :language: xml
          :start-after: <url>http://maven.apache.org</url>
          :end-before: <dependencies>
    2. Create the *QueryLab** class and copy and paste the following to get going.
       .. literalinclude:: /../src/main/java/org/geotools/tutorial/filter/QueryLab.java
          :language: java
          :start-after: // docs start source
          :end-before: // docs end main
  3. You can break your tutorial down into sections if needed.

    This is one way to “cheat” and take a break and explain something without mixing up the step by step instructions.:

    The Application GUI
    Next we create the application user interface which includes a text field to enter a query and a table to
    display data for the features that the query selects.
    Here is the code to create the controls:
    1. Add the following constructor:
       .. literalinclude:: /../src/main/java/org/geotools/tutorial/filter/QueryLab.java
          :language: java
          :start-after: // docs start constructor
          :end-before: // docs start file menu
    2. Next we add menu items and Actions to the File menu to connect to either a shapefile or a
       PostGIS database:
       Each Action is calling the same method but passing in a different DataStore factory
       .. literalinclude:: /../src/main/java/org/geotools/tutorial/filter/QueryLab.java
          :language: java
          :start-after: // docs start file menu
          :end-before: // docs end file menu
    3. Now let us look at the Data menu items and Actions:
       .. literalinclude:: /../src/main/java/org/geotools/tutorial/filter/QueryLab.java
          :language: java
          :start-after: // docs start data menu
          :end-before: // docs end data menu
  1. The last section should be instructions for running the application; with screen snapshots showing what the expected result should be.:

    Running the Application
    Now we can run the application and try out some of these ideas:
    1. Start the application and select either *Open shapefile...* from
       the File menu.
       The **JDataStoreWizard** will prompt you for a file. Please select the **cities.shp**
       shapefile available as part of the `uDig sample dataset
       <http://udig.refractions.net/docs/data-v1_2.zip>` used in previous tutorials.
       .. image:: images/shapeWizard1.png
    2. Press **Next** to advance to a page with optional parameters. For this example please press
       **Finish** to continue past these options.
       .. image:: images/shapeWizard1.png
  2. The heart of the tutorial is the things “things to try” section.

    This is where most of the learning occurs. The preceding step by step instructions should be aimed for everyone to be able to complete (and feel successful). As such the content is often very safe.

    This is your chance to actually explore the topic now that they have a working and running application to start from.

    For the Things to Try section try and follow a progression:

    • Provide code examples exploring interesting aspects of your topic

    • Ask for something they have already been shown; giving a chance to apply what they have learned

    • Ask for something they can solve by looking only (the user guide or javadocs)

    Here is an example:

    Things to Try
    * Try connecting to a public postgis instance.
      Select *Connect to PostGIS database...* from the file menu and fill in the following parameters.
      .. image:: images/postgisWizard1.png
      If you don't have a PostGIS database you can try connecting to a public online database at
      `Refractions Research <http://www.refractions.net/>` with the following credentials:
      Next the wizard will display a second page of optional parameters. For this example you can leave this blank and just
      click the *Finish* button.
  3. Finally you can use the rest of the document for a normal tutorial; explaining the topic as you see fit.

    This is where you can break out class diagrams (ObjectAid recommended) and diagrams showing how things fit together.

    Here is an example:

    .. sidebar: CQL
       CQL is defined in OGC Catalog specification; the standard comes from library science.
    To request information from a FeatureSource we are going to need to describe (or select)  what
    information we want back. The data structure we use for this is called a Filter.
    We have a nice parser in GeoTools that can be used to create a Filter in a human readable form:
    .. code-block:: java
       Filter filter = CQL.toFilter("POPULATION > 30000");
    We can also make spatial filters using CQL |hyphen| geometry is expressed using the same Well Known Text
    format employed earlier for JTS Geometry:
    .. code-block:: java
       Filter pointInPolygon = CQL.toFilter("CONTAINS(THE_GEOM, POINT(1 2))");
       Filter clickedOn = CQL.toFilter("BBOX(ATTR1, 151.12, 151.14, -33.5, -33.51)";
    You may also skip CQL and make direct use of a FilterFactory:
    .. code-block:: java
       FilterFactory ff = CommonFactoryFinder.getFilterFactory( null );
       Filter filter = ff.propertyGreaterThan( ff.property( "POPULATION"), ff.literal( 12 ) );
    Your IDE should provide command completion allowing you to quickly see what is available from
    Previously we added features to a FeatureCollection during the CSV2SHP example. This was easy as the
    FeatureCollection was in memory at the time. When working with spatial data we try to not have a
    FeatureCollection in memory because spatial data gets big in a hurry.
    Special care is needed when stepping through the contents of a FeatureCollection with a
    FeatureIterator. A FeatureIterator will actually be streaming the data off disk and we need to
    remember to close the stream  when we are done.
    Even though a FeatureCollection is a |ldquo| Collection |rdquo| it is very lazy and does not load
    anything until you start iterating through the contents.
    The closest Java concepts I have to FeatureCollection and FeatureIterator come from JDBC as show
     ================== ====================
       GeoTools          JDBC
     ================== ====================
      FeatureSource      View
      FeatureStore       Table
      FeatureCollection  PreparedStatement
      FeatureIterator    ResultSet
     ================== ====================
    If that is too much just remember |hyphen| please close your feature iterator when you are done. If
    not you will leak resources and get into trouble.

Example Code

Please add any example code to the doc/src/java/main/ so we can be sure:

  • Compiles and Functions

  • Is kept up to date as API changes occur

It is the responsibility of those making an API change to update the example code, by always using literal include you can be sure your tutorial will still function.

You may also wish to be kind and include a link to the tutorial in your javadocs to help people get started.


Advanced Tutorials on specific topics; the target audience is now a fellow GeoTools developer who wishes to implement a new plugin.