Change the future

Saturday 3:15 p.m.–3:45 p.m.

Realtime Tracking and Mapping of Geographic Objects using Python

Ragi Burhum

Audience level:


Non-trivial mapping and location-centric applications are a beast of their own in terms indexing/querying/analyzing. Realtime tracking geo-applications add an even greater layer of complexity.

In this talk we will give a short overview of the traditional OS web/mobile mapping architecture and datasets and extend it to include a realtime component.


Building a realtime tracking system with mapping components can present challenges that are deceivingly unique to this problem domain. Indexing and analyzing geospatial data requires spatially-enabled databases like PostgreSQL/PostGIS.

The problems to building a realtime geospatial tracking application in python can range from the technical (knowledge of geographic concepts like cartographic projections and libraries to help with these) to licensing concerns of underlying Basemaps that may not legally allow a realtime component to be built on top of it.

In this talk, we will go over an implementation of a geographic tracking system on top of various technologies and give an idea of how a developer can add an efficient realtime data pipeline while still leveraging traditional, well-known, web development frameworks (in this case Django - but could apply to others as well).

Part of the talk will include a brief discussion on how to leverage the ever-popular crowd-sourcing OpenStreetMap project to create a mapping look that will be unique to this implementation.