Sculpting Marble in Prague

The Golden October should be a matching time to go to the City of Gold, Prague. That, it seems, thought the organizers of the OpenSUSE Conference 2012. And that also thought the developers of Marble, the virtual globe and map program/lib, who happily used the possibility to be hosted there.

And golden it was, the October, at least on friday, when the air was clear, the leaves mostly still at the trees, in all colors, and the pairs of shoes still on the line, off all kinds:

Saturday and Sunday then Prague turned into the City of Fog, especially dense at nights, perfect to stay inside to talk about how to make Marble even more awesome.

I initially went there to mainly talk and learn about how to use the Marble lib to resurrect in a proper way the Map shape for Calligra, the office, graphics and management suite. Like how to get the data used for the current view exported from the Marble lib to store it into the document, to be able to display the map without being connected to the internet, e.g. in a presentation. Or how to get rendering done in case of printing, where there is no way to simply update the view when the missing data arrives from the server and where all time-based layers (think satellites) should render for the exact same time setting. The latter might also be needed for a possible plugin for Kdenlive, the video editor, where you could render transitions between places with Marble lib, like e.g. for a short movie about your last vacation trip.

These needs were discussed to some detail, and it turned out that there is quite some work still needed to satisfy them. But any efforts in this direction are very welcome by the Marble developers, as they are in general pretty open to support all kind of usages of the Marble libs. Which for other use-cases is quite easy, as can be seen in the impressive presentation by Marble routing master Dennis Nienhüser showing how his students use the Marble libs in research projects.

Being a little bit disappointed I picked up some other little tasks that turned up in the discussions, like registering Marble as handler for OSM data files, ESRI shapefiles and GPX files, as otherwise most people might miss that Marble can read and display them. This also meant making these file types known to the mimetype database at all, so both a proper name for the file type and a nice icon are shown in the file manager/dialog (shapefiles being a little troublesome here, as they are split into multiple files, where some are hard to catch by magic rules, but at least the main file .shp is):

Opening these files in Marble is now just a single click away.

Next step is to finish the thumbnail plugin, so one can also have nice previews of the content of these filetypes. And then some more things. One day even the Map shape for Calligra hopefully 🙂

It was a very good weekend, I am glad I could be there and meet almost all of the Marble developers (which to some degree I am now one as well, if only by my own copy of the Marble t-shirts Torsten handed out as present to his fellow developers).
And Prague is still an extremely beautiful city, also when with a foggy dress.

Thanks to OpenSUSE for hosting us there, and thanks to the supporters of KDE e.V. to enabling them to sponsor the Marble Weekend 2012!

5 thoughts on “Sculpting Marble in Prague

  1. So to view a shape file i could have used marble? that would have saved me some trouble if i had known it earlier. i needed it for my job a tool to view shape data. I eventually did it in qgis but marble would have sufficed.

    anyway thanks for the effort. ill keep it in mind for future projects

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